Thursday 1 March 2007 LAWFUEL – Australia Law + Business News – Mr D…

Thursday 1 March 2007 LAWFUEL – Australia Law + Business News – Mr Duncan Ernest Howarth, of Ringwood, Victoria, has been sentenced in the Melbourne County Court today to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, on charges brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). Mr Howarth, 48, pleaded guilty to four charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one charge of dishonestly using his position, as a director of Presidential Financial Services Pty Ltd (PFS), to gain an advantage. These charges follow an investigation by ASIC into the activities of Mr Howarth’s company, PFS and his conduct as an insurance broker.

ASIC alleged that between May 2004 and June 2005, Mr Howarth arranged for loans totalling approximately $1.4 million for himself and seven PFS clients by falsely claiming the loans were to be used to pay insurance premiums. The alleged insurance policies quoted by Mr Howarth were fictitious and the funds obtained were used by Mr Howarth and his clients for other purposes. The clients were not aware of Mr Howarth’s dishonesty and all loan money, plus interest charges, was repaid by Mr Howarth and his clients. PFS received approximately $69,869 in fees and commissions from the firms for arranging the insurance premium funding loans. The charges were prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. For further information contact: Jan Redfern Executive Director, Enforcement Telephone: 02 9911 2191 Mobile: 0411 119 210 Emma Forehan ASIC Media Unit Telephone: 03 9280 3354 Mobile: 0409 702 310

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