“Owing investors approximately $9 million (17-246MR). Many of the investors were pensioners and were approached by telemarketing or word of mouth. Investors were convinced to borrow against their homes and were told that their money would be used to develop property in Tasmania. Instead, the money paid by investors was used to pay back interest owed to other investors, payments to employees, cash withdrawals and transfers to personal bank accounts.”
Mr Bernard Meehan, a former mortgage broker for AHL Investments Pty Ltd (trading as Aussie Home Loans), has been permanently banned from engaging in credit activities by ASIC.
ASIC's investigation found that Mr Meehan had submitted payslips, document checklists and loan serviceability forms in nine home loan applications to Westpac Banking Group (Westpac) over a twelve month period from January 2014 to January 2015, that were false or materially misleading. Among the false documents were payslips that had not been issued by the purported employer.
ASIC found that Mr Meehan's actions were wrong, inconsistent with a compliance mentality and showed a lacked of insight into what was required of a broker. Mr Meehan failed to adhere to proper procedures and did not accept wrongdoing or show appreciation of the fact that what he did involved failure to comply with credit legislation.
Aussie Home Loans reported the misconduct to ASIC.
ASIC's Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, 'Gatekeepers, such as banks, aggregators and franchise groups have an important role to play in regulating the mortgage broking industry and act as a first line of defence to detect inappropriate practices and behaviour.'
Mr Meehan has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.
Since becoming the national regulator of consumer credit on 1 July 2010, ASIC has investigated in excess of 100 matters relating to loan fraud and has achieved many enforcement outcomes against the offenders.
The outcomes range from undertakings by persons to voluntarily leave the industry to bans and prosecutions. To date, ASIC has banned 74 individuals or companies from providing credit services (including 32 permanent bans).
Through the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, ASIC has also brought criminal prosecutions against 14 credit service providers; with 12 having been convicted of fraud or dishonesty offences relating to the provision of false and misleading information/documents to lenders in client loan applications.
Mr Meehan is the fourth Aussie Home Loans mortgage broker who has been permanently banned and/or convicted over the past 18 months for submitting false or misleading documents in loan applications. The other three mortgage brokers were:
- Mr Madhvan Nair – convicted on eighteen charges involving the submission of false or misleading information to Westpac, National Australia Bank, and ANZ, see 16-219MR and 16-293MR.
- Ms Emma Feduniw – convicted and permanently banned for providing false documents in eight loan applications to Westpac, see 16-108MR, 16-186MR and 16-242MR.
- Mr Shiv Prakash Sahay – convicted and permanently banned for providing false documents in loan applications for seventeen of his clients to Bankwest and Suncorp Metway Limited, see 15-176MRand 15-128MR.