Finance director given nine months' home detention

Anthony Bowden, former director of Five Star Consumer Finance, was sentenced on theft charges today. Photo / NZH
Anthony Bowden, former director of Five Star Consumer Finance, was sentenced on theft charges today. Photo / NZH

A former director of collapsed Five Star Consumer Finance has been sentenced to nine months' home detention and ordered to complete 100 hours' community work after being convicted of the theft of more than $50 million.

Anthony Walpole Bowden in April pleaded guilty to two charges of theft by a person in a special relationship. The charges were laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

He was sentenced in the High Court at Auckland today, the third of the failed company's directors to receive sentences a result of the investigation.

Five Star marketed itself as a low or modest-risk finance entity that made small consumer loans for household purchases such as fridges.

Instead, it was allegedly investing large sums in complex commercial and related-party loans totalling more than $50 million.

In 2007 Five Star Consumer Finance collapsed with losses of $42 million. Other companies in the group, Five Star Finance and Five Star Debenture Nominee, owe a further $43 million.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley said the fact that a number of finance directors were now willing to acknowledge their culpability was a reflection of the thoroughness of the investigations and the line taken by courts in recent decisions.

The other three men charged were Nicholas George Kirk, Marcus Arthur MacDonald and Neill Allan Williams.

Kirk and McDonald received sentences in December 2010 of two years and eight months' imprisonment, and two years and three months' imprisonment, respectively.

Williams has entered a not guilty plea and is awaiting trial.

- APNZ

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