Permanent ban lifted despite ASIC advocating harsher penalties

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After appearing before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), a financial offender has had his permanent ban reduced to just three years, despite ASIC’s recent plea that penalties must be tougher.

Edward George of New South Wales has sidestepped a lifetime ban from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities, after the AAT decided to reduce his sentence to a three-year ban, commencing 31 July 2013 - the date of ASIC’s original decision.

Previously George had falsely completed five applications for deposit guarantees and falsified loan approval documents in support of those applications.

However the AAT found that although his conduct was dishonest, it was out of character and did not justify a finding that he is not of good fame or character.

The evidence provided by George's referees and the remorse he expressed reduces the seriousness of the misconduct and should be taken into account in assessing the length of any banning order that is deemed appropriate, the tribunal said.

This reduction comes just after a major drive by ASIC, which is urging for the ability to hand out harsher punishments.

Chairman Greg Medcraft said it is frustrating that the penalties available for ASIC to use can be far less than the profit a white collar fraudster stands to gain through breaking the law.

In his opening address at the ASIC annual forum he acknowledged public and private frustration surrounding some of ASIC’s penalties, which were found to be significantly lower than those overseas in a recent
senate inquiry into the commission’s performance.

“On setting penalties, behavioural insights need to be considered in what motivates people to break the law,” Medcraft said. “Often this is the fear versus greed equation. We need penalties that incentivise the right behaviour.”


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