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A judge says bankrupt property developer Dan McEwan must think she has "idiot" written on her forehead to believe only one of his developments failed.

Judge Philippa Cunningham, sitting in the Auckland District Court, yesterday ordered McEwan to pay $16,000 in reparations after he was earlier convicted of offering investments without a registered prospectus or investment statement.

The 66-year-old, who was adjudged bankrupt last week and who claims his only income is the state pension, must make the payment at a rate of $25 a week.

The case was brought by the Companies Office's national enforcement unit and relates to a proposed apartment development, Agnes Waters, on Queensland's Gold Coast.

The project never went ahead and investors who had put $1 million into it lost half their money.

McEwan has said he had given personal guarantees worth $100 million for mortgages on his developments.

But he told Judge Cunningham that Agnes Waters was the only one of 17 developments he had undertaken since 2003 that had failed.

The judge said she could not take this comment seriously.

"That is just patently untrue. I was sitting here thinking, do I have 'idiot' stamped on my forehead? All of his developments were completely out of control."

McEwan ran a group called the Investors Forum which conducted three-day seminars on property investing and offered members the chance to buy into a string of developments.

Many have run aground, including:

The proposed Dunedin Hilton hotel which has gone to mortgagee sale.

The proposed redevelopment of spa town Waiwera, which McEwan says is also likely to go to mortgagee sale.

The Crystal Waters luxury apartments in the Far North, for which investors are owed $4 million.

Dozens of small investors have been left millions out of pocket.

A December 2004 newsletter to Investors Forum members promoting Agnes Waters did not say finance was needed to buy the land and the Australian vendors were responsible for securing it, Judge Cunningham said.

People believed it was a McEwan development and they invested because they trusted him, but the Australian vendors had a large amount of control, she said.

Only 3 per cent of the cost of the project was raised in cash.

"To me it beggars belief that you could do a $34 million development with only 3 per cent paid, and you're telling people in that letter ... that they were going to get profits on top of that."

In a newsletter to investors this week, McEwan claimed he had virtually no personal creditors, but then said he personally guaranteed all of the mortgages obtained for Investors Forum projects.