Adviser who used top cricketers in ‘Tombstoning’ scam convicted

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A shamed former Sydney financial adviser who used the names of international cricketers in a ‘tombstoning’ scam has been convicted for dishonest conduct.

Former Lionsgate financial adviser Pavan Vyas appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court last week and was convicted and sentenced to a total term of two years imprisonment to be served by way of an Intensive Correction Order.

This follows the lifetime ban from the financial services industry issued by ASIC in July 2013.

An investigation by ASIC last year uncovered that Vyas had submitted applications for life insurance policies in the names of people that did not exist, as well as in the names of friends without their knowledge.

But it didn’t stop there: In August 2013, Wealth Professional reported that among the names of the beneficiaries was New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill, and England all-rounder Tim Bresnan. Former state treasurer Michael Costa was also an unwitting beneficiary, according to News Ltd.

In total, Vyas submitted 15 false insurance applications between June 2012 and March 2013 to earn $243,433 in commissions, according to ASIC.
He also falsified 21 other documents to hide his conduct.

He was an authorised representative of Lionsgate and then HNW Planning, where he worked for just over a month before the company discovered his illegal behaviour, according to HNW principal Robert Cumming.

At the time Cumming said the case highlighted major issues for the life insurance industry around money laundering and their internal data checking and duplicate detection.

This week ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said, "there is no place in the financial industry for individuals who act with complete disregard for the law".

In ordering the ICO the court, among other things, took into account Vyas’ high level of co-operation with ASIC’s investigation and his decision to plead guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Wealth Professional tried to reach Vyas for comment, but he wasn't available.

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