A failed magazine publisher has admitted fraud charges covering more than $2 million and accepted he will be locked up at sentencing.
However, 62-year-old Victor John Clarke - a former director of publisher MediaWeb - was granted bail on "compassionate grounds" so that he could undergo surgery and help his wife with a farm they manage on Waiheke Island.
Clarke appeared before Auckland District Court this morning where his lawyer Mina Wharepouri entered guilty pleas to three counts of obtaining by deception and one of using a forged document.
"Mr Clarke accepts a sentence of imprisonment will be the inevitable outcome," the lawyer said.
MediaWeb, started by Clarke and Toni Myers, produced a number of industry-related titles including NZ Management Magazine. Its main revenue source was an annual event celebrating the country's top 200 businesses.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said the defendant falsified financial statements to present a positive picture of the company's financial position, created fictitious entries into the company's accounting system to obtain money from a lending institution, forged emails, and failed to disclose the true financial position of the company to obtain funding from a trust.
MediaWeb was placed into receivership on March 5, 2014, and then into liquidation on March 21, owing creditors more than $2 million.
McDonald Vague was appointed receiver and is understood to have found several anomalies when analysing the financial records of the company. The case was then handed over to the SFO.
Wharepouri acknowledged his client would end up in jail but sought bail pending sentencing.
"Mr Clarke has already surrendered [his] passport. He has strong ties to the community; he and his wife manage a small farm on Waiheke with a few sheep. He is also responsible for the trapping and baiting on that property," he said.
"He's 62 years' old with a number of health issues that need to be addressed before the inevitable comes to pass."
Clarke will be sentenced in December.
The SFO alleged Mr Clarke's offending enabled him to obtain money and access to loan facilities of about $2.2 million.
Following his appearance this morning, SFO director Julie Read said: "Mr Clarke's plea at this early stage of the proceedings will be a relief to witnesses and victims who would have otherwise been subjected to considerable stress in the course of a trial."