A Northland company director has admitted fleecing his financially beleaguered business of nearly $200,000, with part of the money used to pay rent for his daughter's hair saloon.

In addition to the $193,304 Colin John Harris spent on himself and his family, he attempted to use a further $217,700 of Pre Paid Home Lines' money but could not due to insufficient funds.

His actions forced the Whangārei-based telecommunications company, of which he was a director, into such dire financial straits it was liquidated on November 8 last year.

Harris, alias Jock, 54, pleaded guilty in the Whangārei District Court last month to five charges of theft by person in a special relationship, three of using a forged document, and single charges of obtaining by deception and dishonestly using a document.


Forgery carries a maximum prison term of 14 years while the other charges have a maximum of seven years in jail.

Harris is on bail and will be sentenced on September 14.

The level of his offending over a four-year period between 2009 and 2013 is contained in a police summary of facts to which Harris pleaded guilty.

The company, which he established in October 2005, supplied pre-paid telephone landlines throughout New Zealand.

Initially there were four directors but two left, leaving Harris and Neville Montefiore as co-directors until the former resigned in March 2012.

Harris' offending began in May 2009 when he forged a co-director's signature on a $26,200 cheque to pay a bill, knowing there were insufficient funds to complete the transaction.

He forged two more cheques in June 2016 and admitted his actions to police, saying "they all did it".

In August 2010, he borrowed $200,000 from the Cooper Family Trust on behalf of Pre Paid Home Lines without Montefiore's authority.


Harris used the money but the responsibility of repaying the amount fell on the company.

In May and September 2010, Harris made separate direct debits of $7500 and $15,000 from the company accounts to pay rent for Reflections Hair and Beauty Salon at Marsden Pt.

His daughter was the director of that hair salon.

Harris attempted to transfer a further $32,000 from the company account to help pay rent for the hair saloon but failed as the account could not cover it.

He used $7197 via online banking, $40,507 worth of cheques and $23,099 using the company credit card in New Zealand and overseas for personal use.

Harris used the card to pay for dental treatment, hotel accommodation, food and drinks, airport duty free goods in Dubai, and on Sky TV.

Reparation of $193,304 is sought from him by Pre Paid Home Lines.