A WODONGA financial planner has been fined $12,000 and banned from giving advice to WAW Credit Union members for a year after rigging voting.
The credit union conducted elections in November 2015 to fill two vacant board positions, with members using their details to access a website to vote.
Neil John Evans, 57, used the personal details of at least 499 members to access the voting system and cast ballots for two candidates.
His actions resulted in Timothy Frazer being improperly elected, and Tracey Toohey, who should have been elected, failing to secure a position.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigated the matter and does not allege anyone else was involved in the fraud, but is still investigating the rigged election.
WAW had referred customers to Evans’ company, Neil Evans Financial Services Pty Ltd, giving him access to their details.
The credit union cut ties with Evans in May after learning he had been charged.
“WAW wishes to unreservedly apologise to our customers for the fact that this incident impacted a WAW director election,” a spokesman said.
“We are extremely disappointed by what occurred.
“WAW has terminated our relationship with Mr Evans, having ceased all customer referrals following disclosure of the ASIC charges against Mr Evans in May.
“WAW has strengthened our director election controls to prevent the possibility of this incident recurring.
“WAW’s focus remains on supporting our customers at this time.”
WAW chief executive Michael Mack previously said the credit union had been assisting ASIC with its investigation.
The WAW board has changed substantially since the 2015 elections with four new members voted in.
Only one of the four candidates who sought election remains on the board.
Evans had been listed online as a representative of Quadrant Financial Planning but all references to him have been removed from the website.
His details also appear to have been removed from the Financial Planning Association of Australia page.
The association was contacted for comment.
Another website which rates financial planners states “new information has emerged about this adviser causing the rating to be placed ‘under review’ pending further clarification”.
Evans recently appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to causing unauthorised modification to data held in a computer.
He was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond and ordered to pay $12,000 to the court fund.
ASIC commissioner John Price said the body had to ensure the integrity of elections was maintained.
“The ability of shareholders to elect directors to company boards is a fundamental shareholder right,” he said.
“ASIC will take action where people engage in conduct that affects such shareholder rights and interferes with the integrity of such elections.”
Evans said he did not want to comment on the matter.
He has provided financial advice since the early 1990s.
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