Broker permanently banned by ASIC

by Miklos Bolza20 Oct 2016

National regulator ASIC has permanently banned Bernard Meehan, former mortgage broker for AHL Investments (trading as Aussie Home Loans), from engaging in credit activities.

The regulator's investigation found Meehan had submitted payslips, document checklists and loan serviceability forms in nine home loan applications to Westpac over a  period of twelve months from January 2014 to January 2015. These documents were found to be false or materially misleading and included payslips that had not been issued by the purported employer. 

Meehan's actions were "wrong, inconsistent with a compliance mentality and showed a lack of insight into what was required of a broker," ASIC said. In addition, he failed to adhere to proper procedures and did not accept that what he did failed to comply with national credit legislation.

Aussie Home Loans reported the misconduct to ASIC.

"Gatekeepers, such as banks, aggregators and franchise groups have an important role to play in regulating the mortgage broking industry and act as a first line of defence to detect inappropriate practices and behaviour," said ASIC's deputy chairman Peter Kell.

Since July 2010 when ASIC became national regulator of consumer credit, the regulator has investigated over 100 matters relating to fraud. Outcomes to these investigations ranged from voluntary leave to permanent bans. To date, ASIC has banned 74 individuals or companies from providing credit services. This includes 32 permanent bans.

Through the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, ASIC has also brought criminal prosecutions against 14 credit service providers; with 12 having been convicted of fraud or dishonesty offences relating to the provision of false and misleading information/documents to lenders in client loan applications. 

"Meehan is the fourth Aussie Home Loans mortgage broker who has been permanently banned and/or convicted over the past 18 months for submitting false or misleading documents in loan applications," ASIC said.

The other three mortgage brokers were:

  • Mr Madhvan Nair – convicted on eighteen charges involving the submission of false or misleading information to Westpac, NAB and ANZ
  • Ms Emma Feduniw – convicted and permanently banned for providing false documents in eight loan applications to Westpac
  • Mr Shiv Prakash Sahay – convicted and permanently banned for providing false documents in loan applications for seventeen of his clients to Bankwest and Suncorp Metway
"Aussie Home Loans has welcomed ASIC’s action against banned mortgage broker, Mr Bernard Meehan," the firm said in a statement. "Aussie voluntarily reported Mr Meehan to ASIC and to the MFAA. Aussie then fully cooperated with resulting investigations, by providing results of the internal investigation and other evidence to assist in prosecution."

The statement continued saying that Aussie's zero tolerance policy for infringements, combined with proactive and voluntary reporting of serious breaches, means the firm has some of the most stringent compliance processes in the industry.