On 30 March 2023, Samuel Trubnik Tessa was sentenced to two years and 10 months imprisonment, with a non-parole period of one year and eight months. Mr Tessa was found guilty of five counts of obtaining property by deception and two counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception, relating to the sale of false business insurance.
Mr Tessa was previously found guilty following a three-week trial in the County Court of Victoria (22-362MR).
Mr Tessa was involved in the dishonest sale of purported insurance to small business owners in Melbourne, obtaining approximately $94,000. Despite some nominal claims on insurance being paid to business owners, substantial claims from two victims were refused.
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court said ‘These small business owners trusted Mr Tessa with their funds for obtaining insurance and believed they held valid insurance policies when they did not. ASIC pursued this matter because of the significant impact on the small businesses involved, and the sentence of imprisonment imposed by the Court should send a strong signal that deters others from engaging in similar dishonest conduct in the future.’
Mr Tessa and his associated company Eastern Profits Pty Ltd trading as Review Financial Services, did not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence or an authorisation to conduct an insurance related business, nor were the companies authorised by APRA to operate an insurance business. As a result, the victims who had purchased insurance policies from Mr Tessa did not hold genuine insurance coverage.
As a result of his conviction, Mr Tessa will be disqualified from managing corporations for five years after his sentence is complete.
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
ASIC provides guidance to small business owners on how to protect their business. This includes asking questions when you deal with other businesses, including for their ACN, ABN and any licence or authority they hold to operate in certain industries.
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.
In May 2018, Mr Tessa was permanently banned by ASIC from proving financial services and engaging in credit activities (18-143MR).