ASIC said in an official statement that Nizi Bhandari of Bandra, Victoria, has been charged with engaging in fraudulent conduct in the course of carrying on a financial services business and providing unlicensed personal financial product advice.
From November 2017 to December 2020, Bhandari was the official representative of Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensee The Australian Dealer Group Pty Ltd, according to ASIC.
During the same period he was also the Sole Director, Responsible Manager and Key Person under the Australian Dealer Group’s AFS license.
ASIC alleges that between January 2019 and March 2020, neither Mr Bhandari nor The Australian Dealer Group provided personal financial product advice to seven consumers who were not authorized to do so.
“that is [also] Bhandari asked 15 consumers who were not working, permanently retired, or working less than 10 hours a week to ensure they could access their retirement pension when they were not eligible. He claimed that he advised him to tell him about it.
ASIC also alleges he told 15 consumers they could access superannuation based on reaching the age of protection.
He also asked three consumers to reduce their employers’ superannuation contributions in order to keep superfund administrators from noticing that consumers had made false statements about their pensions. He is said to have asked to pay into a superannuation account that is separate from the consumer’s superaccount. work status.
Business regulators also said Bhandari explained to one consumer that he had retired to a retirement pension fund when he knew the consumer was still working, and that the consumer had been forced to retire. He claims he told him he would be able to withdraw his pension. Technically, he retired when he found out the consumer wasn’t.
“His business received a commission on the occasion that consumers allegedly followed Mr. Bhandari’s advice,” ASIC said.
The issue is scheduled to be referred to the Victorian Magistrate’s Court on 4 October 2022.
The matter has been prosecuted by the Commissioner of Commonwealth Public Prosecutions following investigation and referral by ASIC.
ASIC states that the maximum penalty for individuals found guilty of engaging in fraudulent conduct in the course of conducting a financial services business is 10 to 15 years in prison, a fine of $945,000, or both. increase.
“The maximum penalty for an individual who provides unlicensed personal financial product advice while providing financial services on behalf of a person carrying on a financial services business is five years’ imprisonment, a fine of $126,000, or both. said ASIC. .
In March last year, Mr. Bhandari was permanently banned by ASIC from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities, managing financial services or credit businesses, or performing any duties related to conducting financial services or credit businesses. .