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Friday 13 April 2018

18-104MR Former Perth finance broker pleads guilty to loan fraud

Former Get Approved Finance broker Mr Peter Lachlan McDonald has appeared before the Perth Magistrates Court today charged with seven counts of giving false information and one fraud charge following an investigation by ASIC.

ASIC alleges that, between January 2013 and April 2013, Mr McDonald, in the course of brokering four motor vehicle finance contracts, provided the lender Esanda with information that falsely represented that persons, who had in fact only agreed to be loan guarantors, were the applicant borrowers who would ultimately own the vehicle to be financed.  It is alleged that Mr McDonald had previously advised his clients, who had poor credit histories, that they would be approved for vehicle finance if their loan applications were supported by guarantors.

In two further loan applications, Mr McDonald is alleged to have provided information to Esanda (a business then owned by ANZ) that falsely represented that insurance quotes were in fact issued insurance policies, knowing that Esanda required all financed vehicles to be insured before loans were approved.  In one additional application it is alleged that Mr McDonald inserted what purported to be his client's signature on an extended warranty policy and submitted that document to Esanda (the client having agreed to purchase the extended warranty).

In relation to one of the seven loan applications, Mr McDonald is also alleged to have acted fraudulently by artificially interposing a third party vendor while representing to his client that the vehicle being purchased on credit was being sourced directly from a car dealership. In doing so, he gained a pecuniary benefit for himself.  

The false information charges carry maximum penalties of one year imprisonment and fines of $10,200, and the fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment and a fine of $24,000.

Mr McDonald entered a plea of guilty to the charges and was bailed to appear on 10 May 2018 for sentencing.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.

Background

In July 2015, ASIC permanently banned Mr McDonald and a colleague from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services (refer:15-189MR).

At the time of the conduct, Get Approved Finance was the trading name and operated under the Australian credit licence of West Australian-based finance broker Jeremy (WA) Pty Ltd. The company was deregistered in September 2017.

A number of other former Get Approved Finance brokers have also been banned by ASIC from both the credit and financial services industry (refer: 15-374MR, 16-116MR, 16-132MR).

In October 2015, ANZ agreed to compensate more than 70 borrowers for car loans organised by Get Approved Finance (refer: 15-312MR).

Editor's note 1:

The sentencing date listed for 10 May 2018 has been vacated and relisted for 5 July 2018.

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Last updated: 03/05/2018 04:36