The Serious Fraud Office has laid sixty charges against three people involved in the collapse of Belgrave Finance.

Former Belgrave Finance Director, Stephen Charles Smith (43), and an associate, Raymond Tasman Schofield (49), appeared in the Auckland District Court today over allegations
they misrepresented to investors how their investments in Belgrave would be used.

A third person will appear at a later date.

The Crimes Act charges relate to more than $18 million of loans made by Belgrave Finance to various entities allegedly related to Schofield and the company, between June 2005 and March 2008.

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If convicted, the three could face up to to ten years in jail.

The Financial Markets Authority today also announced it was laying 69 criminal charges against three people associated with Belgrave Finance .

It alleges former Belgrave directors Stephen Smith and Shane Buckley, and associate Raymond Schofield breached section 58 of the Securities Act by making untrue statements in documents offering securities to the public.

In a release issued this morning, the FMA said the statements in question
related to:

• related party lending
• asset quality and lending practices
• source of funding
• connections with other financial institutions
• concentration of credit risk, and
• liquidity

If convicted, the three men face a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment or fines of up to $300,000 plus $10,000 for every day the offence continued.

The FMA is also alleging the three men breached section 377 of the Companies Act 1993 by making a false or misleading statement to the trustee appointed to safeguard the interests of investors in Belgrave secured debenture stock.

The maximum penalty for a breach of section 377 is five years' imprisonment or a $200,000 fine.

Belgrave Finance was placed into receivership in May 2008, owing an estimated 1000 investors $22 million.

- NZ HERALD ONLINE