A media agency director whose company collapsed, leaving her facing Serious-Fraud-Office charges, has been sentenced to home detention.
Former director and owner of The Media Counsel (TMC), Glenda Mary Wynyard, 49, was found guilty of 11 counts laid by the Serious Fraud Office after a judge-alone trial at Auckland District Court last month.
• Media agency owner's fraud trial date set
The Crown urged Judge Brooke Gibson to lock up the defendant for offending which essentially involved diverting funds owed from one creditor to another.
But the judge opted for eight months home detention - a sentence immediately appealed by defence counsel Paul Davison, QC, on all but three of the charges.
He applied for bail on Wynyard's behalf so she could rejoin her family who since relocated to Australia, pending a Court of Appeal fixture.
Judge Gibson reserved his decision until this afternoon.
TMC, established in 2005, was paid by clients to place ads with organisations like TVNZ. After losing its industry accreditation, it entered into an agreement with another placement organisation, Aegis.
Wynyard's company would get client instructions to place the ads, Aegis would place the ad, the clients would pay Aegis and the remainder would go to TMC.
But she did not inform Aegis of a pre-existing arrangement it had with Marac Finance, which involved Marac lending money to TMC based on invoices issued to ad clients that the financier considered to be of good credit risk.
Under the deal, TMC would get cash and the amounts in the invoices would be payable by clients to Marac.
But in December 2010, the business started to crumble as both companies were owed money and Wynyard was "caught between a rock and hard place" as only one could be paid.
"The business appeared to be under-capitalised and the growth outstripped its capacity to meet its overheads," Judge Gibson said.
"The motive was plainly to keep the company going with the hope of a white knight arriving."
The Crown put the loss to Aegis at more than $650,000 but that was disputed by the defence.
Judge Gibson said in any case, Wynyard was a discharged bankrupt and ordering reparation would be pointless.
The matter was best pursued through the civil courts, he said.
Mr Davison said the offending was a blip on his client's otherwise flawless record.
"One can hardly read letters written by family and not readily appreciate this is a remarkable woman," he said.
"Her children are a great credit to her and her family have been through a tremendous amount through her business collapse.
"The judge agreed she was "clearly a talented person" and put the offending down to pressure rather than material greed.