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Black Forest: pain for forgotten victims of a financial disaster

Adele Ferguson & Ruth Williams |  30 July 2018  |  BankingRC

For almost a decade Dave Gilham has dragged around 20 kilograms of documents in a battered suitcase. The forensically compiled folders hold evidence of inappropriate advice, doctored loan forms and more than one hundred items of correspondence pleading with a bank for mercy.

Gilham believes he was the last of the 52,000 investors who sank  money into one of the many disastrous schemes flogged by one-time ASX200 member Great Southern, which  collapsed under more than $600 million in debt in May 2009.

Gilham, who was advised to borrow to invest in the schemes, is saddled with debts that have almost tripled in the years since due to interest and penalties.

“Some days, I get in a dark space, and think dark thoughts, that’s the headspace I get in,” he says. “It’s a huge struggle. I wake up every morning at 4 o’clock in a state of anxiety wondering how I’m going to cope… Why won’t they answer my cry for help?”

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