2 Sep 2015

$4m mortgage scam targeted first home buyers

12:14 pm on 2 September 2015

A jury has found an Auckland woman guilty of a multi-million dollar mortgage scam which targeted vulnerable first home buyers.

House for sale in Upper Hutt.

The convicted pair bought up cheap houses and on-sold them to low-income families. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The Serious Fraud Office laid 11 charges against Vicki Ravana Letele over property transactions during 2010, which totalled $3.9 million dollars.

A jury at the Auckland District Court has found her guilty on 10 of those counts.

The Serious Fraud Office case detailed how she and an associate, Ramni Kumar, used a company to buy up cheap houses.

The pair used false documentation and inflated the property prices, on-selling them to mainly low income families who would not otherwise be able to get a mortgage.

The SFO said vulnerable investors were often targeted by those who were aware of their inexperience in dealing with significant financial transactions.

Letele will be sentenced in November. Kumar was sentenced to a year's home detention and 250 hours community work.