Two people were sentenced today for their role in complex advertising scam which targeted charities and small businesses.

"Partners in crime" Johannes Middledorp, 63, and Noelene Banton, 61, were each found guilty on seven charges of reproducing a document with intent to cause loss.

From their home in Port Waikato, the pair sold advertising in magazines that were either, never printed, or the number of magazines that were printed and circulated was grossly exaggerated.

At their sentencing in the High Court at Wellington today, Crown prosecutor Grant Burston told the court that over a 16 month period, the pair were "deliberately committing crimes against unsuspecting, trusting people".


"They lived and breathed it... they worked literally as partners in crime."

Mr Burston said the pair approached 690 victims and obtained more than $114,000 from small businesses and charities throughout the country.

He said there crimes were "pre-meditated", "sophisticated", "cynical", and "motivated by pure greed".

Defence lawyer for Noelene Banton, Amanda Courtney, told the court the pairs' crimes were "chaotic".

"They were not sophisticated... they were not living a lavish lifestyle."

In handing down both sentences, Justice Jillian Malon said the pair, who have been in a relationship for over 20 years, carried out the operation between July 2011 and October 2012.

Justice Malon said: "You planned a quite elaborate operation motivated by gain. The impact was widespread, targeting a large number of businesses with the intent to cause them loss, some of them a number of times."

She said although Middledorp was the "instigator" and "driving force" of the operation, Banton went along with it, and at times was delighted by the financial gain.


Justice Malon said while Middledorp had showed no remorse since his arrest, she believed Banton was genuinely remorseful for her actions.

Justice Malon sentenced Middledorp to three years in prison. Banton was sentenced to 12 months' home detention and 200 hours community work.

All hardware used during the operation was also required to be submitted to be destroyed.

Middledorp and Banton were arrested along with three others as part of a joint-operation known as 'Operation Edit' involving the Serious Fraud Office, the New Zealand Police, the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand, the Commerce Commission, New Zealand Customs, and Inland Revenue.

Two others involved in similar operations elsewhere had pleaded guilty before trial and had been sentenced.

The mastermind behind the scam, Anthony John Hendon, was sentenced in the High Court at Wellington last month after he pleaded guilty to 24 charges of reproducing a document with intent to cause loss.

Hendon was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, and was required to forfeit computers, related equipment and telephone systems used in the scam.

NZME. np pd