A Melbourne-based photocopier technician has been fined and will serve 125 hours of community service after he was found to have benefitted from the proceeds of a home loan scam.
Thirty-five-year-old Victorian resident Nicola D’Agostino has pleaded guilty to two charges of “recklessly dealing with proceeds of crime”, one of which holds a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
The County Court of Victoria has ordered Mr D’Agostino to repay $67,329.34 to NAB after he received almost $800,000 in introducer commissions between 2012 and 2016 for loans he never referred.
The court has also fined Mr D’Agostino $1,000 and has ordered him to complete 125 hours of community service.
Mr D’Agostino became an introducer for NAB in 2011; however, between 2012 and 2016, the photocopier technician received almost $800,000 in commissions for more than 300 home loans that he did not originate.
Mr D’Agostino reportedly kept between 5 and 10 per cent of the proceeds and transferred the rest to a family friend.
It has been alleged that his family friend, a former NAB employee, included the referral paperwork along with other loan documents for customers to sign unknowingly.
The former NAB employee is due to face court next month.
It has been reported that NAB uncovered the alleged wrongdoing during an audit, with the bank discovering that a disproportionate number of the accused employee’s loans were referred by Mr D’Agostino.
In sentencing, Judge Claire Quin said that Mr D’Agostino had told police that he did not know that his actions were illegal, stating that he had paid income tax on the money.
Judge Quin said that while D’Agostino had only kept a portion of the money, it was a substantial amount and he was an essential part of the fraud. However, she accepted that he was remorseful and that he had agreed to repay NAB.
The verdict follows an admission by NAB during the course of the first round of proceedings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
NAB admitted to failures in deterring introducer fraud, with documents released to the commission, along with testimony from Mr Waldron revealing that several NAB employees were allegedly “bribed” by third-party introducers.
In a submission to the commission, NAB admitted that “there was no designated ‘owner’ of the introducer program”.
It also stated that it identified “governance gaps” during its internal review of its introducer program, making particular reference to “a lack of segregation of duties and a lack of systems to monitor and review introducers”.
The big four bank claimed that it has since implemented measures to address such governance failures and “increase the likelihood of detecting misconduct”, which include the appointment of an accountable person and the segregation of duties.