The corporate watchdog has banned a Perth-based finance broker from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services for eight years.
ASIC found that Rana Turkington Hepi, of Port Kennedy, Western Australia, had engaged in dishonest and misleading conduct when brokering motor vehicle financing for at least three clients between June 2012 and September 2013 while employed as a finance broker for Get Approved Finance of Victoria Park.
At the time of the conduct, Get Approved Finance was the trading name of Western Australia-based finance broker Jeremy (WA) Pty Ltd, and operated under its credit licence.
According to an ASIC statement, Ms Hepi misled vulnerable clients with poor credit histories to believe they would be approved for vehicle finance if their loan applications were supported by guarantors.
ASIC said Ms Hepi then dishonestly prepared loan applications solely in the names of the proposed guarantors without those persons' knowledge or consent. As a result, Esanda, as the credit provider, financed automotive loans which it otherwise was unlikely to have approved.
ASIC also found that Ms Hepi created and/or procured fictitious documents including ID certifications, vehicle inspection declarations and invoices for the purchase of vehicles and submitted those documents to Esanda in support of loan applications.
The regulator found Ms Hepi misrepresented the make and/or model of the vehicle to be financed so that she could increase the number of additional finance products also financed under the loan and inflated loan amounts by selling and financing insurance and warranty products without her clients' knowledge or consent.
In addition, ASIC found she fabricated insurance policies to mislead Esanda that comprehensive insurance policies had been issued for the vehicles to be financed when in fact no such policies existed, and destroyed and/or omitted documents to conceal adverse information from Esanda that might have caused it to reject the loan applications.
ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said the banning sends a strong message to any broker considering behaving dishonestly or recklessly.
“ASIC will not hesitate to remove those who engage in dishonest and misleading conduct from the industry for a significant period of time,” Mr Kell said.
Two former Get Approved Finance brokers and colleagues of Ms Hepi, Mr Eric-John Pryor and Mr Lachlan McDonald were permanently banned earlier this year from engaging in credit activities or providing any financial services for similar conduct whilst arranging vehicle finance for clients.
In October 2015 Esanda agreed to compensate more than 70 borrowers for car loans organised by Get Approved Finance.
The total value of the loans financed was more than $1.38 million.
ASIC's investigation into the conduct of Get Approved Finance and Esanda is ongoing.
James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.
He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.
He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.
James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.
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