Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Property developer guilty of fraud

Malcolm Duncan Mayer.
Malcolm Duncan Mayer.

A bankrupt property developer who used fronts and false information to borrow money as part of a $50 million loan scheme has been found guilty this morning.

Malcolm Duncan Mayer was found guilty of 26 charges in a Serious Fraud Office case - 16 for dishonestly using a document and 10 for using forged documents.

While the SFO brought 36 charges against Mayer, some were bought alternatively, which mean verdicts were not required in the lesser charges (dishonestly using a document) if the more serious charges (use of forged documents) were proven.

The 57-year-old's trial began for a second time in the Auckland District Court in October before Judge Brooke Gibson, who released his verdicts this morning.

The judge is likely to release his written decision outlying the reasons for his verdict some time today.

While releasing Mayer on bail until his sentencing on the 18th of February, Judge Gibson indicated prison was almost inevitable for the former developer.

Some of the charges Mayer was found guilty of carry a maximum sentence of 10 years' prison.

The Crown alleged Mayer had dishonestly used documents to obtain almost $50 million of loans from a company called Trustees Executors Ltd (TEL).

TEL is chaired by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger and Mayer allegedly made loan applications with false information to the company to buy 26 Auckland properties between 2003 and 2007.

In some instances TEL allegedly received documents which gave the impression someone unconnected to Mayer was buying a property when in reality the defendant or his alleged co-conspirator Simon Turnbull was the purchaser.

Turnbull could not appear as a witness or a defendant in the case as he had left the country and his whereabouts was unknown.

By disguising who was really purchasing a property, Mayer was allegedly able to sidestep TEL's $4 million limit on what one individual person or connected set of people could borrow.

Mayer first went to trial in this case two years ago. However, the proceedings were aborted due to Mayer's health at the time.

SFO director Julie Read said of the case this morning:

"Commercial lenders are entitled to expect that borrowers will provide them with true and complete information. While there will also be a need for cross-checks and confirmation of details, if lenders do not have the ability to rely upon the information provided to them, they cannot conduct business effectively and efficiently.

"Individuals like Mr Mayer are an example of those whose actions add costs to innocent participants in the mortgage lending sector."

- NZ Herald

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