$1.5 million house fraudulently obtained by Sir Ngātata Love forfeited

1:45 pm on 6 August 2019

A house purchased with funds fraudulently obtained by Lorraine Skiffington and Sir Ngātata Love has been forfeited.

Prominent Māori leader Sir Ngatata Love is found guilty of fraud in the High Court in Wellington.

Prominent Māori leader Sir Ngatata Love is found guilty of fraud in the High Court in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Aaron Smale

Love was convicted of obtaining by deception in 2016, related to diverting $1.5 million from a property development for his and Ms Skiffington's own personal gain, causing financial loss to the Tenths Trust.

The prominent Māori leader was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment and served less than a year, being released on parole in 2017 because of his ill health and lack of risk to the public.

Love died in October 2018.

He lead Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Māori Development, and was an Emeritus Professor at both Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington.

The charges against Ms Skiffington were stayed due to illness and she has since died.

The $1.5 million Plimmerton house was restrained by the police commissioner in February 2014 and in July 2017 the High Court in Wellington approved police's sale order sought under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.

Police said because of significant penalty fees because of mortgage arrears, last year the property was sold to protect as much equity as possibly prior to forfeiture.

Now that it has been officially forfeited, police said an agreement has been reached to return the proceeds of the sale to the Tenths Trust.

"Returning this money will reduce as much of the financial loss caused to the trust and its beneficiaries, descendants of the Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tama and Taranaki Iwi, as possible," said Detective Senior Sergeant Brent Murray of the Central Asset recovery Unit.

"We are hopeful the outcome of this proceeding will make a difference for the victims of this serious crime.

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