Mr. Hawa in a happier time in his life.
For five years, between 2005 and 2010, George Stephan Hawa, 26, convinced friends, family and others to let him invest their money. He invested it, but when his financial bets lost instead of won, he continued to convince his clients he was winning by sending them deceptive monthly "market reports" saying all was okay and everyone was making money.
The man eventually lost $4.6 million dollars (Australian), and he pleaded guilty to deception.
He sent an email explanation and apology to all of his investors.
His explanation consisted of 1,281 words.
His full letter is included below, but I've summed it up for you trying something interesting. I used an online word frequency analysis software called Textalyser to find Mr. Hawa's most frequently used words and phrases, and then tried to write a shorter letter using only those phrases. I was trying to get to the gist of what Mr. Hawa was trying to say.
My explanation, using his words but my word order, is 51 words:
“I am ready to confront this. I do not want to. I am in the process. I am. The last five years was…
My investors, the point is: I would like to, if it were possible for myself to, I would make the money back. But the money is all gone.”
- A question of trust: email that explains $4.6m down the drain, Sydney Morning Herald>>
'- I am so very sorry': rise and crashing fall of Sydney's $4.6m currency kid, Sydney Morning Herald>>
Mr. Hawa's letter apologizing for his deception
Before I begin, please excuse me if this is being addressed to you as though I don't know your positions or relationships with me, I have made this letter as if it would be addressed to everyone as a group and not to everyone as an individual. I am very aware of who each of my investors are and my relationship with each and every single one of you.
I would like to take this opportunity to write to you and discuss a few very important points regarding your investment with me over the period in which you had put it in my care. One of the points I would like to detail on is the point of trust that you have shown myself over the time you have placed your hard earned money into my bank account. The other point amongst others is the point of the state of your investment currently.
Trust as defined by the Merriam Webster's Collegiate dictionary states:
1 - a) to commit or place in one's care or keeping.
b) to permit to stay or to go or to do something without fear or misgiving.
2 - to place confidence.
I for one am wholly honoured by your trust in me. I want to thank you so very much and I don't think for a second over the last five years I have been investing, not thought about this one point and how much I owe every single person for the opportunities afforded to me by this trust.
Unfortunately and regrettably, I must confess something that has ached myself for so very long.
I have unfortunately, been lying for the last five years to you about my performance and how much money you do have with me currently.
Whether it was if you came on board five years ago or whether you had come on recently.
I am so very sorry.
At the moment I have no money left to give to any of my investors. As I have lost it all.
I know this will come as a shock to you and once again I cannot express how deeply regretful, remorseful and upset I am to be breaking this to you. I understand I have abused your trust and also quite possibly hurt you in the process. Although this was never my intention, I have created big damage by just announcing this to you.
I understand right now, you could be feeling upset, hurt, angry, confused and a whole bunch of other emotions. I never wanted it to be this way.
I began this process of investing for others as someone who wanted to help others through them achieving financial freedom. I had seen what financial stress had caused to people who were close to me from a young age and I was determined to help people in this area. I even set up a business where I went to schools around QLD and NSW and educated students in high school about effective financial management.
I took on money from family at first, then friends, then friends of friends and then finally acquaintances to invest in the foreign exchange markets. As time went on, I was unable to deliver the competence required to be a successful trader for the people who had trusted me. I hid the truth. I believed that if I carried on, that I could eventually make the money back for my investors. I did this by taking on new money and with this new money trying to trade and make the money I had lost back.
In the process of trying to make the money back, I had upswings and downswings but was never fully successful in being able to make the money back for the group as a whole. I carried on for five years however, believing that I could make the money back for people who I had lost large amounts of their life savings for.
In the process of stress and pressure I experienced from trying my very best to get everyone's money back, I'd put on over 40 kilograms in weight, developed a deteriorating eyesight, had dangerously high blood pressure and would often fight off other health problems. I was a mountain of stress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since 2005. By telling you this I don't want to sound like a victim as I am anything but, I tell you this, because I want it to be apparent that I did everything I could to ensure I made the money back that everyone had placed into my care. I was so determined that at times I would have 1 or 2 hours sleep for 4 or 5 days in row.
I lost more than my fair share emotionally, mentally, physically and financially. I took out personal bank loans to the point where I could not borrow anymore. It is a very high chance that now I will be bankrupt and my own marriage to my fiancé is not going ahead. I have lost a considerable amount of mine and my own family's money.
I did begin this at the age of 20, which now looking back I was very young and inexperienced. I wanted to run before I could walk. I'd like to admit I was naive.
I did lie to the faces of my investors, I was never comfortable doing this and this was never an okay thing to have done. I lied to not only investors, but to loved ones, including my own family, fiancé and to close friends.
And so, I have finally decided to come out with the truth, as I began to realise that what I am doing is not making anything any better and I am only making things worse. Unfortunately due to my stubbornness and ignorance to find ways to make everyone's money back it took myself a while to fully realise this.
Many people in this circumstance would run and hide, I do not want to choose that path and I do not want to be the coward. I am ready to confront this situation.
This is no one else's responsibility but mine, not my family's, or fiance's , not my friends, not my business associates – no one else's but mine. I am taking full responsibility and have handed myself into the police and am ready to confront and undergo the punishment of the law.
It was quite possible for myself to continue at this moment taking on new investors money and even money from current investors and it was possible for myself to have kept this up for possibly many more months or even years untill I was able to make back the money I had lost. I however know this is wrong and that this should all just stop right now.
I intend in also taking responsibility for this by not disappearing in the dark after this is all over within the courts and after what they decide is adequate punishment. I am sorry for what I have done and I want to make amends.
I ask that my family and loved ones be left out of any gripe in future you may have with myself as they were in the dark as much you were. I know I have a lot to answer for and I look forward to answering your questions through the courts of law.
I wish you the very best for the future and I hope one day I will again earn your trust and respect once again.
If you have any further questions please contact Detective Andrew Gill on (02) 9956 3199.