Four property investors accused of deceiving banks and fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in home loans are progressing towards a trial.
Bryan Martin, Viki Cotter, Sian Grant and Joshua Grant appeared in court today on a raft of allegations made by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
The group allegedly duped banks into providing them with loans to buy residential properties mostly in Auckland, the SFO claims.
At a short hearing in the Auckland District Court, Judge Russell Collins set a trial date for October next year, which is expected to last four to six weeks.
The SFO has charged Martin with 10 counts of obtaining by deception and four charges of attempted obtaining by deception. Cotter faces four charges of obtaining by deception and three charges of attempted obtaining by deception.
The Grants, who are represented by top defence lawyer Paul Wicks QC, each face four charges of obtaining by deception and one charge of attempted obtaining by deception.
All four investors have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been remanded on bail.
Prominent Auckland criminal barrister Annabel Maxwell-Scott is prosecuting the case for the SFO.
Past property loan fraud cases
The Herald has revealed separate criminal cases in recent years, including the story of how four men came together to fraudulently obtain more than $41m from ANZ to develop a four-star Auckland hotel.
The group used false statements and forged documents to secure the loan for the now-defunct company Emily Projects to develop the two-tower Waldorf Celestion Apartment Hotel.
Company director and property developer Leonard Ross, former legal executive Michael Wehipeihana, lawyer Timothy Slack, and financial consultant Vaughn Foster were all charged over the scam which was uncovered because of a "disgruntled creditor".
After being found guilty by a jury of deception and forgery, Ross was sentenced to four years and four months' imprisonment, while Wehipeihana was jailed for four years and three months.
Foster and Slack made a plea deal and were sentenced to home detention.
Another case involved corrupt former BNZ staffer Zongliang (Charly) Jiang, who was jailed for nearly five years for taking bribes to facilitate a $54m mortgage fraud scheme.
He was one of four people convicted in an SFO case over 76 Auckland and Hamilton properties and suspicious mortgages, involving 57 loan applications and 110 transactions.
Jiang was one of two bankers taking bribes of $7000 per transaction to approve the loans, the other being former ANZ banker Peter Cheng. The SFO also wanted to charge Cheng but he fled to China.
A third overseas bank was used in the scam but its name has been suppressed.
Auckland property developer Kang Huang, described as the "mastermind and instigator of the scheme", his wife, Kang Xu, and lawyer Gang (Richard) Chen were also convicted for their parts in the fraud.
Chen acted as the "middleman" and was also bribing his "inside contacts" at BNZ and ANZ, the High Court found.
Xu, also known as Yan (Jenny) Zhang, was sentenced to 12 months' home detention, while her husband, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to four years and seven months' imprisonment.
Chen was also jailed for six years, but along with Jiang won an appeal last year to quash their 50 per cent minimum periods of imprisonment.