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Lending officer convicted of giving misleading information

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Bassem Fares of Sydney, New South Wales, has been convicted of giving misleading information.

Mr Fares created misleading documents, which were then provided to financial institutions in support of loan applications.

Mr Fares, a former lending officer with Firstfolio Services Pty Ltd (Firstfolio), appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court having pleaded guilty to five charges of giving misleading information in the course of engaging in a credit activity.

An ASIC investigation found that between December 2013 and March 2014, Mr Fares created twelve payslips, six income tax payment summaries and three letters of employment to support five loan applications for clients who wanted to obtain loans.

Mr Fares submitted the false documents with ING Direct (Australia) Ltd and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd (the Banks). After submitting the documents, the Banks provided loans to two applicants for a total of $1,066,000.  Once Firstfolio became aware that the loan documents were misleading, they cancelled the loan applications for the three other applicants.

Mr Fares was convicted on 26 May 2020 and sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, to be served by way of an Intensive Corrections Order, with conditions he perform 100 hours of community service and take part in rehabilitation.

The Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions prosecuted the matter on behalf of ASIC.

Background

At the time, the maximum penalty for a breach of section 160D(2) was imprisonment for two years. The maximum penalty has since been increased to five years imprisonment.

ASIC banned Mr Fares from engaging in credit activity in September 2015 (refer: ).

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Regulator Information

Abbreviation: ASIC
Jurisdiction: Australia

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