Another client had her telephone calls ignored when she urgently requested Taylor return her money because she needed it for cancer treatment. The woman had earlier received a payout from the Catholic Church as a victim of childhood sexual abuse.
And when challenged by another woman who discovered her $1 million of investments had gone, Taylor lied and claimed a disgruntled employee had defrauded the money.
Taylor, 67, was jailed for five years and nine months for defrauding $2.186 million between 2007 and 2015 through his business TFG Advice Solutions. He also provided advice on behalf of Garvan Financial Planning, a subsidiary of National Australia Bank.
He must serve 3½ years before he is eligible for parole.
Instead of investing and creating self-managed funds for his victims, Taylor directed their money into his own business accounts. He was not licensed to provide financial services at the time.
“People believed in your goodness,” Judge Mason told him.
“You held yourself out to be somebody they could trust to act in their best interests in dealing with their money.
“They believed you because of your professional reputation, your experience and your standing in the community.”
Bernadette Towan, whose elderly father was a victim, said Taylor was considered a member of her wider family through a friendship dating back to the 1980s and oversaw her daughter’s wedding.
She said her father knew nothing about managing money and so trusted Taylor, only to discover he had eventually altered the elderly man’s will to direct his savings to TFG Advice Solutions.
Ms Towan said her father’s ordeal coincided with his wife’s health declining, and nearly cost them their home.
“I am feeling very angry and bitter because not only did Grant defraud my father of his savings, but it caused an enormous rift in my family and my family is now split in two,” she said.
“I don’t like him very much. He did ask for forgiveness in court in the [plea] hearing last week but I just thought, ‘no, I can never forgive him for what he’s done to my family’.”
Judge Mason said Taylor overcame a difficult upbringing under an alcoholic stepfather to forge a successful career before his offending, and acknowledged his crimes had cost him his home, his own financial security and reputation, and coincided with health problems including a stroke.
Taylor had also apologised and shown remorse and his plea of guilty to 10 charges of obtaining property and financial advantage by deception spared victims giving evidence at trial.
The victims ultimately got their money back from NAB. The bank had acknowledged it put itself in a vulnerable position, Judge Mason said, and hadn’t sought restitution from the former adviser.
Ms Towan said her father, who is in his 80s, had “been through an awful lot” and wanted to put the stress behind him.
She said of Taylor: “It’s never enough but I’m happy he’s going to spend some time in prison. He might be able to reflect on all of the things he’s done to all of these people. He’s altered their lives.”
Taylor mouthed “I love you” to crying family members as he was led in to custody.
He can never provide financial services again after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission put a life ban on him in 2018.
Adam Cooper joined The Age in 2011 after a decade with AAP. Email or tweet Adam with your news tips.