A Victorian County Court jury has found a Victorian man guilty on five counts of obtaining property by deception and two counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception.
The verdict recorded against 55-year-old Samuel Tessa of Elwood, Victoria, followed a three week trial in which it was alleged that while operating Review Financial Services, Mr Tessa engaged in fraudulent conduct by dishonestly representing himself as an insurance broker and Review Financial Services as an insurance company.
ASIC’s investigation was focused on concerns that Mr Tessa was engaged in the dishonest sale of purported insurance to unwitting small business owners in Melbourne, subsequently obtaining approximately $94,000 from the sale of invalid insurance policies. Despite some nominal claims on insurance being paid to business owners by Review Financial Services, substantial claims from two victims were refused.
Mr Tessa and his associated companies have never held an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) or authorisation to conduct an insurance related business, nor was Eastern Profits or Review Financial Services authorised by APRA to operate an insurance business. Subsequently the victims were not holding genuine insurance coverage.
Mr Tessa will return to court on 10 February 2023 for a sentencing hearing.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mr Tessa was charged with these offences in December 2017, after an ASIC investigation into his dealings with individuals and businesses in the Melbourne automotive repair industry (18-003MR).
Review Financial Services was a trading name associated with Eastern Profits Pty Ltd.
The sentencing hearing will occur on 16 March 2023.
On 16 March 2023, judgment was reserved until 30 March 2023.