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A defendant charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has pleaded guilty to four charges of obtaining by deception in relation to a mortgage fraud scheme. Sentencing has been scheduled for 14 August 2024.

The defendant, whose name is currently suppressed, is one of six people charged in a complex mortgage and investment fraud case brought by the SFO. Entered on 5 April 2024, the guilty pleas mark a pivotal step in the investigation, which underscores the SFO's commitment to combatting serious and complex fraud across all sectors and industries.

The SFO began its investigation in October 2020 following a referral from Police. Through their guilty pleas, the defendant has admitted providing misleading information to their bank as part of a 2018 loan application, including:

  • the true purchase price of the property;
  • payment of the deposit for the property made through a cash gift certificate; and
  • failing to disclose an existing bank loan.

The defendant was charged alongside Gerard Peters, Robert Peters, and three other people who cannot yet be named. A total of 41 charges have been filed including obtaining by deception, attempting to obtain by deception and forgery. 

The SFO alleges that the defendants engaged in a scheme to obtain credit and properties by making false claims on home loan applications and to conveyancing solicitors, often supported by falsified documents.

In total, they are alleged to have obtained more than $8.6 million in lending and attempted to obtain a further $3 million.

Highlighting the importance of its mandate, SFO Director Karen Chang said, "Our remit at the SFO is broad, spanning all sectors and industries. Mortgage and investment fraud schemes of this nature can have a devastating impact on the lives of ordinary New Zealanders who want to invest, as well as corrode trust in our financial institutions.”

“The SFO aims to create a “ripple effect” through its cases by deterring offenders and lifting public awareness of serious and complex offending," she said.

About the SFO
The SFO is responsible for investigating and prosecuting serious or complex fraud, including bribery, and corruption in New Zealand. With a focus on maintaining integrity and trust in the financial system, the SFO has developed strategic areas of focus to ensure it has the greatest impact with the cases it takes in. These are reviewed and updated every 12-18 months. SFO Strategic Areas of Focus(external link)

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