A former finance analyst has been convicted for falsifiying car loan applications, while another has been banned from credit activities for seven years for forging letters in car finance applications.
Ms Thuy Thi Vu, a former finance analyst at the Darwin branch of Alldrive Holdings Pty Ltd, trading as United Financial Services (WA), has been convicted and sentenced in the Local Court in Darwin on nine charges of submitting false or misleading information in support of loan applications.
Generally, the loan applicants had been referred to United Financial Services WA (UFS) for finance by car yards in the Northern Territory as they were seeking finance.
According to ASIC's investigation, between June and August 2015, Ms Vu submitted nine loan applications containing false information and documents relating to the borrower's residential address postcode. The nine loans were approved and disbursed, totalling $238,069. The nine loan applications ranged in value from $9,916 to $44,797.
By submitting these loan applications, Ms Vu represented to Esanda — a division of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ) — that the loan applicants lived in suburbs of the commercial centres of Darwin, Katherine or Alice Springs when the loan applicants actually lived in postcodes that spanned hundreds of kilometres from these locations.
The false information resulted in loans being approved that the lender would otherwise have rejected or referred for further assessment.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) prosecuted the matter and Ms Vu was convicted after admitting to providing information and documents in support of nine loan applications to Esanda knowing that they contained false or misleading information.
Ms Vu was convicted and required to enter into a recognisance for the sum of $2,000 to be of good behaviour for a period of 12 months.
Speaking after the conviction, ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said: "Documentation provided by third parties in support of loan applications must reflect the consumer's true personal and financial circumstances so that lenders can accurately assess their ability to repay a loan.
"Any actions taken by brokers or intermediaries to deliberately undermine this process is a criminal offence and ASIC will ensure offenders are brought before the Courts."
Former finance business manager banned
In a similar matter, ASIC has banned Christopher Robert Con Foo (also known as Christopher Robert Confoo) from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services for a period of seven years.
Mr Con Foo, a former finance business manager, arranged car finance and insurance for customers buying vehicles from South Yarra BMW, a car dealership operated by Bayford Group Pty Ltd.
ASIC found that in October 2015, Mr Con Foo forged letters in accountants' names and provided those letters to BMW Australia Finance Ltd, in support of car finance applications for three of his customers.
The letters provided information about the customers' income and intended use of the cars being purchased. In two instances, the customers were not clients of the accountants concerned and the letters were prepared without the knowledge of those accountants. In one instance, a genuine accountant's letter was altered to falsify the customer's business income without the knowledge of the accountant or customer.
ASIC's Mr Kell said: "Dishonest conduct exposes consumers and credit providers to financial risk. ASIC will not hesitate to take banning action to remove those engaging in misleading conduct from the industry."
Mr Con Foo has the right to seek a review of ASIC's decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. ASIC's investigation is ongoing.
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