'Fake' insurance broker guilty of fraud

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‘Fake’ insurance broker guilty of fraud

16 December 2022

A man has been convicted of fraud offences after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) alleged he “dishonestly” represented himself as an insurance broker and sold “invalid” insurance policies.

Samuel Tessa, 55, of Elwood, Victoria, was found guilty of five counts of obtaining property by deception and two counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception, following a trial at Victorian County Court, an ASIC statement says.

During the three week trial it was alleged that while operating Review Financial Services, Tessa engaged in fraudulent conduct by dishonestly representing himself as an insurance broker and Review Financial Services as an insurance company.

ASIC’s investigation focused on concerns Tessa was engaged in “the dishonest sale of purported insurance” to unwitting small business owners in Melbourne. He obtained about $94,000 from the sale of invalid insurance policies, ASIC says.

“Despite some nominal claims on insurance being paid to business owners by Review Financial Services, substantial claims from two victims were refused,” the regulator said.

Tessa and his associated companies never held an Australian Financial Services Licence or authorisation to conduct an insurance related business, nor was Eastern Profits or Review Financial Services authorised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority to operate an insurance business.

“Subsequently the victims were not holding genuine insurance coverage,” ASIC said.

Tessa was charged over the offences in December 2017, after an ASIC investigation into his dealings with individuals and businesses in the Melbourne automotive repair industry.

Tessa will be sentenced on February 10.