Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

SFO fabricated evidence: business coach

Sentencing for role in mortgage frauds is adjourned by district court.

Shane Wenzel was found guilty last month on eight charges. Photo / Dean Purcell
Shane Wenzel was found guilty last month on eight charges. Photo / Dean Purcell

An Australian-born "business coach" - who says he has been adopted into a hapu - claims the Serious Fraud Office fabricated evidence against him as sentencing for his role in a run of mortgage frauds was delayed.

Shane Charles Wenzel was found guilty last month of two charges of using a document with intent to defraud and six charges of using a document dishonestly with intent to obtain pecuniary advantage.

The case against Wenzel followed the sale and purchase of South Auckland properties during a jump in the market between May 2003 and October 2004.

Bankrupt during this time, Wenzel ran business seminars in Takanini and coached "recruits" about "wealth generation".

A number of these pupils bought properties from a friend of Wenzel or companies associated with this person.

The SFO, which brought the case against Wenzel, argued that the discharged bankrupt devised and supervised a scheme where mortgage lenders were deceived into lending money to these "recruits".

According to the SFO, the recruits would not have been given mortgages if the lenders had been aware of their true financial position. In some instances, false employment letters were used that inflated the loan applicants' incomes.

Wenzel's main defence was that the recruits were independent adults and as "aspiring property developers" took advice and made up their own minds about loan applications without his encouragement.

Wenzel was due to be sentenced in the Manukau District Court yesterday but this was adjourned until December 14.

Outside the court, Wenzel claimed the SFO had fabricated evidence during the seven-week trial.

Asked if he was still acting as a business coach, the discharged bankrupt said he was focusing on his health after a stroke 30 weeks ago.

He indicated he may lodge an appeal against the charges, but could not do this until sentenced.

It is the second time Wenzel's case has gone through the court system after he succeeded in getting his convictions quashed in 2010 by the Court of Appeal.

In that Court of Appeal decision, Justices Anthony Randerson, Judith Potter and Paul Heath ordered a retrial on the 35 fraud charges Wenzel was originally found guilty of.

He had already served 11 months of the five years' jail he was sentenced to after the first trial.

Serious Fraud Office acting head Simon McArley would not respond directly to Wenzel's allegations yesterday but noted that a lot of offenders claim evidence is fabricated after being convicted.

According to a 2009 media report, Wenzel has claimed status as tangata whenua and said that he was "adopted" into a hapu.

Judge Gerard Thomas Winter made reference to this in his judgment last month and said the accused was at times "challenging" and held unorthodox, often forcefully expressed, life views.

- NZ Herald

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