Christchurch fraudster sentenced on SFO $1.6m fraud charges

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Christchurch fraudster sentenced to three years on SFO $1.6m fraud charges

Peter Edward Hynes was today sentenced in the Christchurch District Court to three years imprisonment in relation to a $1.6m fraud. 

Mr Hynes had pleaded guilty on 9 November 2010 to 40 charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and had been remanded on bail prior to sentencing.

The SFO, working with the NZ Police and Interpol, had previously extradited Hynes from Australia.

The charges against Mr Hynes stem from his activities while he was the Managing Director of MacPherson Marine Limited, a marine retailer based in Christchurch. 

MacPherson Marine Limited went into liquidation soon after Hynes’ actions were discovered.

SFO Chief Executive, Adam Feeley, said that while the case involved relatively modest losses, it exemplified the huge social and economic impacts that fraud has on individuals.

“This case resulted in job losses, and forced some victims into selling their homes. Fraud is a social evil which should never be under-estimated.”

For further information

Nick Paterson
General Manager, Fraud & Corruption
Serious Fraud Office
Phone: 021 675 647

Note to editors

Case summary

Mr Hynes was the Managing Director of MacPherson Marine Limited, a marine retailer formerly based in Christchurch. MacPherson Marine operated a finance facility with GE Commercial Finance (GE) whereby GE provided finance to MacPherson Marine on new boats and motors between the time of acquisition by MacPherson Marine from the manufacturer and the time of sale to a customer.

The charges laid primarily relate to false representations made by Mr Hynes to GE between 2004 and 2006 in order to obtain and retain credit. In addition, Mr Hynes submitted false loan applications to Marac Finance and stole further funds paid to MacPherson Marine by customers as payment on boats and motors.  In total, the quantum of Mr Hynes’ offending is approximately $1.6m.
 
He used the majority of the dishonestly obtained funds to repay MacPherson Marine’s growing debts to GE.  Despite this, MacPherson Marine went into liquidation in July 2006.  Mr Hynes fled New Zealand for Australia immediately prior to the liquidation, and his offending being discovered.

The SFO investigation into Mr Hynes’ affairs commenced in November 2006, despite the absence of Mr Hynes, and in May 2008 fraud charges were laid in the Christchurch District Court.  At that time a warrant for Mr Hynes’ arrest was issued.

With the assistance of Interpol and Australian authorities Mr Hynes was located in Queensland. He was arrested by Australian Police on 7 July 2010 and extradited to New Zealand, under New Zealand Police escort, on 14 July 2010.

Role of the SFO

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

The SFO operates three investigative teams:

  • Fraud Detection & Intelligence;
  • Financial Markets & Corporate Fraud; and
  • Fraud & Corruption.

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…”

The SFO’s Statement of Intent 2010-2012 sets out the SFO’s three year strategic goals and performance standards.  It is available online at: www.sfo.govt.nz