23 Oct 2014

Fraudster going to jail, judge warns

4:29 pm on 23 October 2014

A Nelson businessman has been warned to expect a jail sentence after being found guilty of fraud charges.

Judge Arthur Tompkins found Tony Mount guilty this afternoon on 74 counts.

Mount ran Independent Financial Consultants in Nelson and also owned the paint company BioPaints. He was arrested on the fraud charges in September 2010.

Judge Tompkins told Mount to expect a prison sentence after finding him guilty of 19 charges of theft by failing to account, 45 of theft in a special relationship, one of reproducing a document with intent to deceive, one of obtaining by false pretence, and eight of obtaining by deception.

The detective in charge of the case, Paul Heathcote, said he is delighted with the verdict after years of hard graft by police and agency partners.

"It was a difficult case fraught with complicated aspects to it including a lack of data ... but the group of dedicated professionals both inside police and outside in the use of outside agency partners has shown today that all the effort was worthwhile.

Mr Heathcote said it was the highest resourced investigation that police had undertaken in the South Island region.

Mount will be sentenced on 17 December.