Following an ASIC investigation, Mr Samuel Tessa has been charged with five counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
Mr Tessa failed to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 18 December 2017 and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Mr Tessa was subsequently arrested at Melbourne airport upon his return to the country on 26 December 2017 and was granted conditional bail.
Mr Tessa was charged with these offences following an ASIC investigation into his dealings with individuals and businesses in the Melbourne automotive repair industry. It is alleged that Mr Tessa purported to act as an insurance representative or broker and dishonestly obtained money from these individuals or businesses on the pretence that payments were required for insurance premiums.
Mr Tessa has been bailed to reappear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 29 March 2018.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.
The charges of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception contrary to section 82 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) each carry a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment.
ASIC's Small Business Strategy was released in August 2017 and focuses on the elements of assisting, engaging with and helping to protect small business. This action is an example of how ASIC's enforcement work aims to protect small business by levelling the playing field so that everyone is playing by the same rules.
The matter has been set down for committal mention on 24 May 2018.
Editor's note 2:
The matter has been adjourned for committal mention on 15 June 2018.
Editor's note 3:
An application by Mr Tessa for summary jurisdiction was refused and the matter set down for a Committal Hearing commencing on 17 October 2018. His bail has been extended to this date.
Editor's note 4:
Mr Tessa was committed to stand trial on five counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception following a contested committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court that concluded on 18 October 2018 (18-328MR).
Editor's note 5:
A directions hearing was listed for 4 May 2020 which has been adjourned and administratively vacated due to court timetabling changes related to the impact of COVID-19. A future court date is yet to be set.
Editor's note 6:
Mr Tessa appeared on 25 June 2020 for a directions hearing. The matter was listed for a further directions hearing on 21 August 2020 at the County Court of Victoria.
Editor's note 7:
Mr Tessa appeared on 21 August 2020 for a directions hearing. The matter is listed for a further directions hearing on 4 September 2020. The trial remains listed to commence on 26 October 2020.
Editor's note 8:
On 21 August 2020, Mr Tessa appeared for a directions hearing. The matter is listed for a further directions hearing on 4 September 2020. The trial remains listed to commence on 26 October 2020.
Editor's note 9:
On 4 September 2020, Mr Tessa appeared for a directions hearing. The trial listed to commence on 26 October 2020 is vacated and has been re-listed to commence on 16 August 2021.
Editor's note 10:
On 16 August 2021, the matter was listed for a two week trial to commence 22 February 2022.
Editor's note 11:
The trial was adjourned until 14 June 2022.
Editor's note 12:
After a partially completed trial that had run for 15 days, the jury was dismissed on 12 July 2022 without verdict. A new trial date has been set for 23 November 2022 in the Victorian County Court.
Editor's note 13:
After a three-week trial in the Victorian County Court, Mr Tessa was found guilty on five counts of obtaining property by deception and two counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception (22-362MR).