Property developer gets 6 years jail for $47m fraud

By Jimmy Ellingham

Property developer Malcolm Duncan Mayer is sentenced in the Auckland District Court today. Photo / Richard Robinson.
Property developer Malcolm Duncan Mayer is sentenced in the Auckland District Court today. Photo / Richard Robinson.

A bankrupt property developer will spend at least three years in prison for a $47 million mortgage fraud.

Malcolm Duncan Mayer, 57, was last year guilty of 26 charges in a Serious Fraud Office prosecution 16 for dishonestly using a document and 10 for using forged documents after a lengthy trial.

At his sentencing in Auckland District Court today, he was jailed for six years.

Judge Brooke Gibson ruled he must serve at least three years.

Mayer, mostly acting with alleged co-conspirator Simon Turnbull, dishonestly used documents to obtain $47 million of loans from financial company Trustees Executors Ltd (TEL), which is chaired by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger and is more than 130 years old.

Mayer made loan applications to the company with false information to buy 26 Auckland properties between 2003 and 2007.

As a result, TEL suffered "colossal'' losses of at least $19m, Judge Gibson said.

In some instances TEL was given documents which gave the impression someone unconnected to Mayer was buying a property when he or, allegedly, Turnbull was the purchaser.

This allowed them to side-step TEL's borrowing limit.

"There's actually nothing unique in this scheme. It's certainly been done before and it has been around a while,'' Judge Gibson said.

The offending has a "significant impact'' on TEL. It left staff demoralised and stained the company's reputation overseas.

The judge gave Mayer credit for his previous good character and co-operation, which shortened the trial.

"You clearly have been a person who has been found by other people in their dealings with you to be trustworthy. You are described as being kind and willing to help your friends,'' Judge Gibson told him.

Mayer was intelligent and had been wealthy, but he took advantage of his ``golden boy'' status with TEL.

"You are a victim, Mr Mayer, of your own greed.''

Judge Gibson did not take into account for sentencing submissions from defence lawyer Greg Bradford that Mayer's offending should be separated from the losses allegedly caused by Turnbull, and that TEL was negligent.

Mr Bradford opposed a minimum non-parole period and said after court he would take instructions from Mayer on the possibility of an appeal against the sentence and convictions.

In a statement after sentencing, SFO director Julie Read said: "Mayer's sentencing should give those seeking mortgage funding some confidence that criminals who use dishonest means in attempts to beat the system and subsequently pass on the costs to honest borrowers, will be caught and held to account.''

Turnbull has left the country and his whereabouts was unknown.

- APNZ

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