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Mortgage fraud guilty verdicts

2 September 2015

Mortgage fraud guilty verdicts

The jury in the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) trial of Vicki Ravana Letele yesterday reached verdicts in the Auckland District Court.

Ms Letele faced 11 charges under Section 228 of the Crimes Act for dishonestly using a document. The charges related to 11 property transactions undertaken during the second half of 2010, the total value of the fraud being $3.9 million.

Ms Letele was found guilty on 10 charges and not guilty on one charge.

The SFO prosecution established that Ms Letele conspired with an associate, Ramni Kumar, to obtain mortgage finance for low income families who would not otherwise have been able to obtain finance, by using false documentation. This mortgage finance was used to purchases properties from interests related to Ms Letele and Ms Kumar, generating a profit for them.

SFO Director, Julie Read said, “Vulnerable investors are often targeted by those who are aware of their inexperience in dealing with significant financial transactions. It is important wherever possible to obtain advice from reputable advisers and institutions. The SFO hopes that this verdict demonstrates that nonetheless serious financial crime in the lending environment will be discovered and prosecuted.”

Ms Kumar entered a guilty plea in January and was sentenced to 12 months on home detention and 250 hours of community work.

Ms Letele has been remanded on bail and will be sentenced on 3 November.


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