Director of media agency faces SFO charges

Published

Director of media agency faces SFO charges

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has today laid Crimes Act charges against Glenda Mary Wynyard (48) in the Auckland District Court.

SFO laid 19 charges of causing loss by deception and four charges of dishonestly using a document.

Ms Wynyard is the former director and owner of The Media Counsel (TMC), a media placement agency. TMC provided services in media planning, public relations, consumer insights and event management to clients.

TMC was placed into liquidation in April 2010. SFO commenced an investigation after receiving a complaint from the Liquidators, McDonald Vague in May 2012.

In late 2008, TMC entered into a debt factoring agreement with Marac Finance (Marac). This agreement enabled TMC to obtain advances from Marac. In November 2009, after losing its own accreditation, TMC entered into an agreement with Aegis Media New Zealand Limited (Aegis) to provide media buying services as TMC's accredited agency.

SFO allege that Ms Wynyard directed approximately $2.4 million of client invoice payments due to Aegis, to repay the Marac debt factoring facility.

Simon McArley, SFO Acting Chief Executive says, "Financial crime inevitably results in an increase in the cost of doing business. SFO is working hard to remove these costs from our economy and support a stronger and more confident business environment."

Ms Wynyard has been remanded to reappear on 19 June.

ENDS

For further information

Andrea Linton
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Note to editors

Background to investigation

Glenda Wynyard is the former director and owner of The Media Counsel (TMC).

TMC was incorporated on 14 December 2005 and went into liquidation on 22 April 2010.

TMC was a media placement agency that provided services in media planning, media buying, public relations, consumer insights and event management. Prior to its liquidation, TMC employed approximately 24 staff.

In February 2011, Ms Wynyard left New Zealand to live in Australia with her family. Ms Wynyard returned from Australia this week to face the SFO charges. 

Crimes Act offences

Section 228 Dishonestly taking or using document
Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, with intent to obtain any property, service, pecuniary advantage, or valuable consideration,-
(a) dishonestly and without claim of right, takes or obtains any document; or
(b) dishonestly and without claim of right, uses or attempts to use any document.

Section 240 Obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception
(1) Every one is guilty of obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception who, by any deception and without claim of right,-
(a) obtains ownership or possession of, or control over, any property, or any privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration, directly or indirectly; or
(b) in incurring any debt or liability, obtains credit; or
(c) induces or causes any other person to deliver over, execute, make, accept, endorse, destroy, or alter any document or thing capable of being used to derive a pecuniary advantage; or
(d) causes loss to any other person.

(2) In this section, deception means-
(a) a false representation, whether oral, documentary, or by conduct, where the person making the representation intends to deceive any other person and-
  (i) knows that it is false in a material particular; or
  (ii) is reckless as to whether it is false in a material particular; or
(b) an omission to disclose a material particular, with intent to deceive any person, in circumstances where there is a duty to disclose it; or
(c) a fraudulent device, trick, or stratagem used with intent to deceive any person.

 

Role of 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.

SFO operates three investigative teams:

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

SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part I 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 II of the SFO Act provides 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..."

SFO's Annual Report 2012 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2013-2016 sets out the SFO's three year strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at: www.sfo.govt.nz