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Broker jailed for taking customers’ cash

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Former Phoenix Insurance broker Sergio Amaranti has been jailed for two years and nine months after diverting client refunds totalling about $200,000 to his own accounts.

Amaranti previously pleaded guilty in the District Court of WA to seven counts of dishonest conduct.

“Offending of this type undermines the trust of the community and customers of Phoenix and the trust that the community has in members of your profession,” Justice Fiona Vernon said last week.

“This is a breach of trust of clients, employers, co-directors and co-workers. When this trust is misplaced, this is the most important factor in sentencing.”

Amaranti diverted 51 refunds owed to 35 clients for policy cancellations and adjustments into personal accounts held in his name. A total of $199,391.32 was transferred between January 6 2009 and October 14 2015.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) permanently banned Amaranti from the financial services industry in November 2016.

“Mr Amaranti was a director and senior insurance broker who used money owed to his clients for his own benefit,” ASIC Commissioner John Price said today.

“His deliberate actions breached the trust that must exist between insurance brokers and their clients.”

The sentence has a non-parole period of 18 months and, due to the conviction, he is automatically disqualified from managing companies for five years.