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Couple sentenced following Companies Office prosecution

Auckland couple sentenced following Companies Office prosecution

The Companies Office has successfully prosecuted an Auckland company director and her de facto partner for a multitude of charges including forgery, running a business with intent to defraud creditors and fraudulently using property of the business for personal benefit.

In the Auckland District Court on Thursday 28 August, Company Director Nicola James was sentenced to 3 months home detention and 150 hours community work while her partner Edwin Murray received 6 months home detention and 200 hours’ work in the community. They were both asked to pay reparations totalling $40,000 to the victims of the offending (a finance company and an individual) at $50 each per week. In addition, the Court ordered that both are prohibited from being company directors for a period of ten years.

Ms James was the sole shareholder and director of Coro Dingo Limited and CD Plant Hire Limited and oversaw all the financial transactions for both companies. Meanwhile Mr Murray was the manager and operator of the companies.

In July 2007, Coro Dingo began receiving regular financial assistance from a finance company to finance wages and essential expenses. In September 2009, both Coro Dingo and CD Plant Hire were placed in receivership.

The fraudulent activity of James and Murray consisted of selling an asset of Coro Dingo to a third party for $65,000 without informing that person that there was a registered secured interest over the property. Mr Murray subsequently supplied a forged letter of reference to the finance company and led it to believe that no money was coming into the Coro Dingo’s bank account. However Murray and James operated an alternative account and in September 2009 withdrew $78,000, the bulk of which was for their personal use.

Karla Flood, manager of the Companies Office Registries Integrity and Enforcement Team, says the sentencing last week was a good result.

“Both defendants had appeared before the Court in the past and this sentence sends a message to all company directors to operate within the law.”

Ms Flood says, “Lots of companies experience financial problems in their lifespan but working with creditors to resolve these issues and being honest in carrying out your business is essential.”

ENDS

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