Former NAB banker Andrew Matthews has been committed to stand trial after entering a guilty plea to one count of obtaining financial advantage by deception and one count of attempting to obtain financial advantage after rorting the bank’s infamous introducer program.
NAB blew the whistle on the award-winning mobile banker alleging he and an accomplice defrauded the bank of more than $800,000 in the scam, and Mr Matthews allegedly used the proceeds to buy a Ferrari 430, the same model once owned by Donald Trump.
On Monday, counsel for Mr Matthews and the prosecutor Peter Pickering agreed to amend more than 50 charges he faced to just two, obtaining financial advantage to the value of $651,725 by deception and attempting to gain financial advantage by deception for $13,013.
Mr Matthews pleaded “guilty” to the first count of obtaining financial advantage by deception, and then barely audibly, “guilty” to the second charge of attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception.
Mr Matthews has surrendered his passport and promised to reside at his home address until his trial early next year as part of his bail conditions.
The scam run by Mr Matthews involved tricking new customers into signing a document confirming they had been introduced to the bank by a third party. The referral generated a large cash payment for the third party or introducer.
Mr Matthews was originally charged with 49 counts of obtaining property by deception, one charge of attempting to obtain property by deception, one charge of conspiring to defraud and three counts of possessing proceeds of crime.
His accomplice – Nicola D’Agostino, 35, – then transferred the majority of the cash payments back to Mr Matthews but kept a small proportion for himself.
Mr D’Agostino pleaded guilty to recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime in September and was ordered to repay $67,239, fined $1000 and ordered to complete 125 hours of community service.
NAB paid members of its introducer program around $100 million between 2013 and 2016, which in turn generated the bank $24 billion in home loans.
NAB’s CEO Andrew Thorburn told a house economics committee two weeks ago the bank had slashed its number of introducers from 8000 to just over 1000.
He also said 300 bankers had been sacked or left the bank and more than 1000 had been investigated for breaches of the bank’s code of conduct.
Introducer programs are on the list of initiatives thought to be on the chopping block after Commissioner Kenneth Hayne asked if paying third parties spotters’ fees was compatible with responsible lending obligations.
During the royal commission into consumer lending it was revealed the program had sprawled out of control and the bank was forced to engage KMPG to undertake a review of the program, including whether or not it had been infiltrated by money launderers or had links to organised crime or terrorist financing. Among the bank’s leading introducers at the time were a gym owner and a tailor.