1 Sep 2008

Meeting with minister over franchise scam

7:59 am on 1 September 2008

Victims of a franchising scam totalling an estimated $5 million have met with the Minister of Commerce to discuss what can be done to help them.

A former Green Acres master franchisee, Keith Lapham, is suspected of selling fake ironing businesses to almost 200 people.

Franchise Watch is a group established to help those affected.

Many of them rejected an offer by Green Acres last year to provide them with real franchises, under certain conditions.

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating the actions of Mr Lapham, who worked for the company before disappearing when confronted by management.

Minister of Commerce, Lianne Dalziel, told about 100 victims the SFO investigation into Mr Lapham's actions will be completed in about a month.

She also offered legal aid advice and says she will ask companies which have lent money to the victims to defer their entitlements until the matter is resolved.

A spokesperson for action group Franchise Watch, says it is pleased with the steps taken by the minister.