31 Jul 2018

Two men convicted of fraud over $41m bank loan

4:03 pm on 31 July 2018

Two men have been convicted of fraudulently securing a $41 million bank loan to build an inner-city apartment block in Auckland.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

The High Court in Auckland. Photo: justice.govt.nz

A jury at the High Court in Auckland has found property developer Leonard John Ross, 51, and company director Michael James Wehipeihana, 46, guilty on three charges of obtaining by deception and two representative charges of using forged documents.

The jury found the pair made false statements and used the forged documents to secure the development loan from ANZ Bank to allow their company Emily Projects Limited to build the Waldorf Celestion Apartment Hotel.

Both men have been remanded on bail until sentencing in September.

Two other men involved in the scheme are currently serving sentences of 10 months' home detention.

Vaughn Stephen Foster, a self-employed consultant, and lawyer Timothy Upton Slack, who are both 56 years old, pleaded guilty to representative charges of obtaining by deception.

Serious Fraud Office director Julie Read said the office was committed to investigating and prosecuting offending like this "to maintain the integrity of the mortgage market for the benefit of honest borrowers".