A former Waipawa accountant facing eight charges of fraud, false statements and breaches of the Securities Act has appeared in Napier District Court today.

The Serious Fraud Office brought the charges against Warren Pickett, 63, following the collapse of his finance companies, Waipawa Finance Company Ltd and Waipawa Holdings Ltd, of which he was the sole director and principal shareholder.

The companies went into liquidation in August owing around 220 investors about $20 million, including accumulated interest of about $12 million.

The SFO laid three charges alleging Pickett misappropriated $3.7 million in investors' money between January 1, 1987 and August 30, 2008.

He also faces three charges of false statements by a promoter after he wrote to investors in October 2007 saying Waipawa Holdings had significant reserves and realisable securities with back-up facilities, that the reserves had recently increased and risk management strategies were coping.

The SFO alleged these statements were false and Pickett intended to deceive investors.

Pickett also faces two Securities Act charges after allegedly offering securities without a registered prospectus, trust deed, appointed trustee or investment statements, the SFO said in a statement.

Pickett entered no plea and was remanded to a further appearance on April 8.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Krebs indicated guilty pleas will be entered at that appearance.

Pickett could face a maximum of seven years' imprisonment on the fraud charges, 10 years for false statement charges and fines of up to $300,000 and $10,000 for every day the offending continues on the Securities Act charges.

- NZPA