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Injunctions stop Maximus pyramid scheme

Injunctions stop Maximus pyramid scheme, freeze bank accounts

Media Release 1999/91

The Commerce Commission has obtained interim injunctions stopping the operation of an alleged pyramid scheme, Maximus Intermediaries Limited, and freezing its bank accounts.

Commission Acting Chairman Mark Berry urged people who have bought into the scheme to stop direct credits to Maximus.

More than $150,000 is in the accounts and the Commission believes about $50,000 of that has come from direct credits in the last week.

"The injunctions stop money going out of the accounts," Mr Berry said, "but do not stop it going in. We know that about 12,000 people nation-wide bought into the scheme but we do not know how many set up direct credits."

Brother and sister, Kerry Lindsay Paul and Coralee Ngaio Judson ran Maximus from Tauranga. It was promoted nationally as a retail discount scheme.

Mr Berry said that the Commission believes most people borrowed money to buy into Maximus. They bought what were called "tri-packs" for $506.25. The loans cost them $600 over 30 weeks.

The loans were made by Mr Paul and Ms Judson trading under the name Croesus Finance.

"The interim injunctions are being sealed in the Auckland High Court now and the Commission will then move to bring the matter to an end," Mr Berry said.

The Commission is to ask the Court for:

- a final declaration that Maximus, Mr Paul and Ms Judson engaged in conduct that was misleading or deceptive;

-a final declaration that the interim injunctions against Maximus, Mr Paul and Ms Judson become permanent; and

- final orders about what the Court will have happen with the money in Maximus' bank accounts.

Mr Berry said it could be two months before the final declarations and orders are made. Until that happens, the bank accounts will remain frozen so that any redistribution of money ordered by the Court can then be made.

Background

All pyramid selling schemes are illegal in New Zealand. They are prohibited by section 24 of the Fair Trading Act.

In the most recent pyramid selling case taken by the Commission, the Napier District Court ordered Lisa Sharon Morton to pay $200,000 compensation to 1,901 people.

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