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John Grant Fagan (54) has been sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court to three years and one month imprisonment following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution.

Prison sentence for forgery and false statements

John Grant Fagan (54) has been sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court to three years and one month imprisonment following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution.

In September last year, Mr Fagan pleaded guilty to 15 offences under the Crimes Act 1961 of false statement by promoter, forgery and using forged documents.

The charges arose out of Mr Fagan's attempts to promote a number of technology and property companies between 2009 and 2011. He used false and forged documents which overstated the value or success of the businesses, in an attempt to encourage people to invest with him. He also made false statements overstating the position of the companies. Mr Fagan's actions relate to investments of $1.285 million and attempts to gain a further $4.564 million from various individuals and entities.

SFO Director, Julie Read said, "The SFO is pleased that we have obtained some justice on behalf of the investors who were victims of Mr Fagan's fraudulent claims. It is important that investors understand the risk associated with any investment and that they make as many inquiries as are necessary to reach that understanding. Nonetheless, there will still be cases where money is lost through fraud and it is important to prosecute those cases to deter others."

ENDS

For further information

Andrea Linton
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Note to editors

Crimes Act offences

Section 242 False statement by promoter, etc
(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years who, in respect of any body, whether incorporated or unincorporated and whether formed or intended to be formed, makes or concurs in making or publishes any false statement, whether in any prospectus, account, or otherwise, with intent-
(a) to induce any person, whether ascertained or not, to subscribe to any security within the meaning of the Securities Act 1978; or
(b) to deceive or cause loss to any person, whether ascertained or not; or
(c) to induce any person, whether ascertained or not, to entrust or advance any property to any other person.
  
(2) In this section, false statement means any statement in respect of which the person making or publishing the statement-
(a) knows the statement is false in a material particular; or
(b) is reckless as to the whether the statement is false in a material particular.

Section 256 Forgery
(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years who makes a false document with the intention of using it to obtain any property, privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration.

(2) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years who makes a false document, knowing it to be false, with the intent that it in any way be used or acted upon, whether in New Zealand or elsewhere, as genuine.

(3) Forgery is complete as soon as the document is made with the intent described in subsection (1) or with the knowledge and intent described in subsection (2).

(4) Forgery is complete even though the false document may be incomplete, or may not purport to be such a document as would be binding or sufficient in law, if it is so made and is such as to indicate that it was intended to be acted upon as genuine.

Section 257 Using forged documents
(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years who, knowing a document to be forged,-
(a) uses the document to obtain any property, privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration; or
(b) uses, deals with, or acts upon the document as if it were genuine; or
(c) causes any other person to use, deal with, or act upon it as if it were genuine.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a document made or altered outside New Zealand in a manner that would have amounted to forgery if the making or alteration had been done in New Zealand is to be regarded as a forged document.

About the SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.

The SFO's role is the detection, investigation and prosecution of serious or complex financial crime. The SFO's focus is on investigating and prosecuting criminal cases that will have a real effect on:

  • business and investor confidence in our financial markets and economy
  • public confidence in our justice system and public service
  • New Zealand's international business reputation.

The SFO operates three operational teams; the Evaluation and Intelligence team along with two investigative teams.

The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director "has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud."

Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: "...the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed..."

In considering whether a matter involves serious or complex fraud, the Director may, among other things, have regard to:

  • the suspected nature and consequences of the fraud and/or;
  • the suspected scale of the fraud and/or;
  • the legal, factual and evidential complexity of the matter and/or;
  • any relevant public interest considerations.


The SFO's Annual Report 2013 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2014-2018 sets out the SFO's strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at www.sfo.govt.nz