Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Ad invoice scam woman pleads guilty

Acting SFO boss Simon McArley.  Photo / Greg Bowker
Acting SFO boss Simon McArley. Photo / Greg Bowker

An Auckland woman has pleaded guilty to participating in an alleged $1.6 million advertising invoice scam.

Terran Elizabeth Dow, 47, pleaded guilty in the Wellington District Court this morning to five Crimes Act charges of dishonestly taking or using a document.

"Ms Dow was convicted for her part in selling advertising in magazines that were either never printed, or the number of magazines that were printed and circulated was grossly exaggerated. The magazines were generally titled in such a way that suggested worthwhile causes in subjects such as road safety, parenting or drug addiction. It is alleged that the scam has generated up to $1.6 million since 2008," the Serious Fraud Office said in a statement.

There are four other defendants involved in the case, which is known as "Operation Edit".

One of them, Anthony John Hendon, is yet to enter a plea. The three others - Noelene Kay Banton, James Stephen Burns, and Johannes Hendrik Maria Middledorp - have been committed for trial, the SFO said.

The group were arrested following an operation involving 67 staff from the New Zealand Police, the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand, the Commerce Commission, New Zealand Customs, Inland Revenue and the SFO.

"Operation Edit has been an example of our increasing focus on joint agency activity. Sharing the specialist skills of those agencies results in timeliness and efficiencies in all areas. SFO are still working with the other agencies on Operation Edit as we continue the prosecution of the other defendants, " acting SFO chief executive Simon McArley said today.

The Crimes Act charges involved in the case include those for participation in a criminal group and dishonestly taking or using a document.

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