‘Tombstoning’ adviser targeted cricketers

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Former Lionsgate financial adviser Pavan Vyas pleaded guilty yesterday to two charges of dishonest conduct.

Vyas has already been permanently banned by ASIC, after an investigation found that he submitted 12 applications for life insurance policies in the names of people that did not exist and a further three in the names of friends without their knowledge.

However, it turns out some of the clients did exist. 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.

Vyas faces a maximum penalty of 10 years jail and/or a fine of $450,000 for each offence.

He was released on conditional bail and the matter will return to the Downing Centre Local Court on 6 September, 2013.

Along with the false applications, Vyas falsified 21 other documents to hide his dishonest conduct. The documents included falsified emails from fictitious clients and variations to insurance contracts.

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.

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

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