A Victoria-based broker has been sentenced to five years' jail after pleading guilty to one charge of conspiring to defraud financial institutions, totalling $170 million.
Mr Najam Shah, 58, formerly of Footscray-based finance broking company Myra Home Loans Pty Ltd, which traded as Myra Financial Services (Myra), was first arrested and charged in January 2015.
However, Mr Shah was only sentenced this month.
According to an ASIC investigation, Mr Shah was involved in the creation and use of false documents to support loan applications valued at a total of approximately $170 million between March 2008 and August 2010.
The misconduct involved the submission of false documents for more than 500 loan applications valued at approximately $170 million to numerous banks and financial institutions, including: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation, St George Bank, Bankwest, Adelaide Bank, Bank of Queensland, Choice Home Loans, Citibank, National Australia Bank, Pepper Homeloans and Suncorp Bank.
The false documents included bank statements, payslips, citizenship certificates and statutory declarations. These were predominantly used in support of applications for home loans for house and land packages as well as for the purchase or refinance of existing homes.
On 13 February 2017, Mr Shah entered a guilty plea for conspiring to defraud financial institutions during an appearance at the County Court of Victoria.
Hehas now been given a five-year jail sentence, and must serve three years and three months before being eligible for parole.
In sentencing, Judge Gucciardo noted that mortgage fraud of this nature damages the integrity of the lending system and that Mr Shah's well organised deception enabled such corruption. He further noted that he was motivated by greed.
ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell said: "ASIC will continue to ensure that mortgage brokers who provide false documentation are held to account. Today's sentencing reflects both the severity of Mr Shah's actions and the consequences facing those who do not abide by the law."
ASIC's investigation is continuing.
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser magazine, Australia’s leading magazine for mortgage brokers. As well as writing news and features on the Australian mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending market – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker podcast and regulator contributor to the Mortgage Business Uncut podcast.
Before joining The Adviser team at Momentum Media in 2016, Annie wrote for a range of business and consumer titles, including The Guardian (Australia), BBC Music Magazine, Elle (Australia), BBC Countryfile, BBC Homes & Antiques, and Resource magazine.
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