Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Auckland man admits to mortgage fraud

Simon Turnbull appears in Auckland District Court. Photo / Nick Reed
Simon Turnbull appears in Auckland District Court. Photo / Nick Reed

An Auckland man has admitted his part in a multi-million dollar mortgage fraud.

Simon Lawrence Wood Turnbull appeared in the Auckland District Court today where he pleaded guilty to 16 charges of obtaining by deception.

The 43-year-old, who has lived out of New Zealand for years but was arrested at Auckland International Airport in June upon his arrival back into the country, was facing a string of charges - including nine counts of dishonestly taking or using document, 19 of obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception, and 10 counts of using forged documents.

Turnbull's lawyer, Simon Lance, today entered guilty pleas on behalf of his client on 16 of the obtaining by deception charges.

Lance said that at Turnbull's sentencing, due to take place next month, the Serious Fraud Office would withdraw the remaining charges.

Judge Nevin Dawson convicted Turnbull on the 16 charges and remanded him in custody.

The charges Turnbull admitted carry a maximum penalty of seven years' in jail.

Turnbull, according to the SFO, was involved in a mortgage fraud where false loan applications were submitted to a fund management company to purchase 16 properties in and around the Auckland region, between September 2006 and August 2007.

SFO director Julie Read said this afternoon:

"Mortgage fraud is taken seriously by the SFO. In a housing market which has enough challenges for the honest buyer, further costs to borrowing because of other people's dishonesty is not acceptable. The SFO welcomes the guilty plea today."

Turnbull's co-accused, bankrupt property developer and former New Zealand representative bridge player Malcolm Mayer, is serving a six-year jail term for what prosecutors described as a $47m mortgage fraud.

Mayer, in his 50s, in 2013 was found guilty of 26 charges in a SFO prosecution - 16 for dishonestly using a document and 10 for using forged documents - after a lengthy trial.

Mayer is not eligible to apply for release on parole until February next year.

- NZ Herald

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