Swindler Promising 99% Returns Dupes Investors of Over $10M


With audacious craftiness, Terence Nugara, 50, swindled unsuspecting victims of more than $10 million to bankroll a lifestyle dripping with outrageous luxury, complete with high-speed race cars, flashy helicopters, and ostentatious boats. Utilizing his conversance with legitimate property enterprises, Nugara crafted a complex web of deceit, attracting retirees and modest family investors to funnel their savings into multiple high-end properties strewn across Melbourne with one even extending to Bali.

Over a span of five years, Nugara, who goes by the alias, “Rio,” guaranteed eye-watering returns of nearly 99% within two years for those who invested in his brainchild, Skynet Financial Services. From 2014 to 2019, he audaciously ensnared 38 individuals who parted with over $10 million of their savings, only to have it misappropriated, rather than invested.

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Labelled as a “selfish, greedy little man,” by one victim in the Victoria County Court, Nugara, domiciled in Brighton, Melbourne’s southeast, entered a plea of guilty to 37 counts of obtaining financial advantage through deceit and a duo of theft charges. His nonchalance was palpable, even while in his drab prison attire, as the court heard the harrowing tales of those ensnared in his twisted scheme.

Victims painted a devastating picture of the impact his deceit had on their lives. An elderly couple expressed their distress as four decades of conscientiously accrued superannuation evaporated, plunging their 45-year marriage into unprecedented strain. Other investors spoke of the loss of their homes, forced to opt for rental abodes, as they were no longer able to afford their mortgages after entrusting their savings to Nugara.

His elaborate swindle involved convincing his victims that he had ties to a legitimate company developing multiple sites across Melbourne. He instructed victims to directly transfer funds to him or allow him control of their self-managed superannuation accounts. He even fabricated fictional development projects in Sandringham and Bali, enticing investors with professionally rendered plans for properties that existed only in his fiction. An audacious Nugara would even pilfer from their bank accounts supplies with access for supposed investment purposes.

As questions concerning the whereabouts of his victims funds began to mount in 2019, Nugara absconded from Australia. He spent three years in exotic hideaways in Bali, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica before being apprehended upon his return to Melbourne airport last year.

Having formerly been an authorised financial adviser, Nugara had his license suspended and eventually revoked in 2016. Assurances from his defense attorney that Nugara would no longer partake in financial endeavours were met with sardonic humor by Judge Trevor Wraight, who quipped of the possibility of his return in an unlicensed capacity.

His victims, many of whom are still awaiting restitution, have a long road to recovery from the financial and emotional ordeal. And while the cash-recovery process is ongoing, these victims can take solace in the fact that such criminal business practices do not reflect the integrity of all financial or investment platforms. For example, here at the West Island Blog, we regularly update a thoroughly researched and reviewed list of credible online casinos. Transparent and trustworthy, these platforms offer their players both entertainment and peace of mind, attributes in stark contrast to the tarnished image left by the likes of Mr. Nugara.