Court sentences 'fake' broker to more than two years in prison

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A man who sold false insurance policies while dishonestly representing himself as a broker has been sentenced to two years and 10 months’ imprisonment, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) says.

Samuel Trubnik Tessa was found guilty in December, following a three-week trial in the Victorian County Court, of five counts of obtaining property by deception and two counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception. The sentencing decision was handed down yesterday.

The prison sentence has a non-parole period of one year and eight months.

ASIC says Tessa was involved in the dishonest sale of purported insurance to small business owners in Melbourne, obtaining about $94,000. Despite some nominal claims being paid, substantial claims from two victims were refused.

“These small business owners trusted Mr Tessa with their funds for obtaining insurance and believed they held valid insurance policies when they did not,” ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said today.

“ASIC pursued this matter because of the significant impact on the small businesses involved, and the sentence of imprisonment imposed by the court should send a strong signal that deters others from engaging in similar dishonest conduct in the future.”

Tessa and his associated company Eastern Profits Pty Ltd. trading as Review Financial Services, didn’t hold an Australian Financial Services Licence or an authorisation to conduct an insurance related business, and the companies weren’t authorised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

As a result, the victims who had purchased insurance policies from Tessa did not hold genuine insurance coverage, ASIC says.

Tessa was charged after an ASIC investigation into his dealings with individuals and businesses in the automotive repair industry.

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As a result of the conviction, Tessa will be disqualified from managing corporations for five years after his sentence is complete.

In May 2018, he was permanently banned by ASIC from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities.