Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Business coach jailed for three years for fraud

Shane Wenzel was found guilty last month on eight charges and has been sent to jail for three years.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Shane Wenzel was found guilty last month on eight charges and has been sent to jail for three years. Photo / Dean Purcell

A former South Auckland self-described "business coach" - who claimed the Serious Fraud Office fabricated evidence against him - has been sentenced to three years in jail for his role in a mortgage fraud.

Shane Charles Wenzel, 51, was found guilty in October 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 was sentenced to three years in prison in the Manukau District Court this morning.

Acting SFO chief executive Simon McArley said this sort of crime had a big impact on vulnerable investors.

"The loss of their investment funds will have irrevocably changed their lives. We remain deeply concerned for all his victims. We will continue to lead the investigation and prosecution of this type of high impact financial crime," McArley said.

Wenzel's main defence at his trial 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.

Speaking to the Herald last month, Wenzel claimed the SFO had fabricated evidence during his 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 33 weeks ago.

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.

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 October judgment against Wenzel and said the accused was at times "challenging" and held unorthodox, often forcefully expressed, life views.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 02 Aug 2014 17:38:06 Processing Time: 1537ms