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Natalie Carter Sentenced To 12 Months Home Detention For Forgery And Financial Markets Legislation Offences

Natalie Ann Carter, a former Hawke’s Bay-based mortgage broker, has been sentenced to 12 months home detention following a criminal prosecution brought by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko.

Ms Carter appeared in the Napier District Court yesterday for sentencing after pleading guilty to the following charges:

  • Forgery (x3)
  • Obtaining credit by deception exceeding $1000 (x2)
  • Attempting to obtain credit by deception exceeding $1000 (x2)
  • Using a forged document (x2)
  • Deceived or attempted to deceive or knowingly mislead the FMA
  • Making a false or misleading statement

Judge Gordon Matenga convicted Ms Carter on all charges and imposed a starting point of imprisonment, which was ultimately commuted to 12 months home detention after discounts were applied.

FMA Head of Enforcement Margot Gatland said: “Ms Carter’s frauds involved significant planning. She used her role and skills as a financial adviser to create fraudulent loan applications and documents to evade lending criteria that she and her clients did not meet. Her behaviour not only breached of the ethical standards expected of financial advisers but may undermine trust in the industry. Trust is essential in financial services and the FMA will take a firm stance against conduct that undermines the integrity of the financial advice industry.”

As a result of her conviction, Ms Carter is automatically banned from being a director or taking part in the management of a company for five years. As part of the sentencing, the FMA also sought an additional ban under the Financial Markets Conduct Act to prohibit Ms Carter from providing financial advice services or contributing to the provision of those services for five years, which was granted by Judge Matenga.

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“Given the serious breach of trust, the FMA considered a further ban to prevent Ms Carter from participating in financial services was appropriate in this case. Banning orders both protect the public from potential future harm and serve as a deterrent against such conduct,” Ms Gatland said.

Background

Between 2018 and 2020, Ms Carter created various false documents for the purpose of obtaining home loans for herself and two clients. The documents were fake pay slips, contracts, and employment verification forms from fictitious employers. In total, seven home loans were applied for, totalling $2.91m in value.

At least three of the seven home loan applications were successful to the total value of $1,334,000, $662,000 of that was drawn down to finance a residential property for Ms Carter.

Ms Carter’s engagement at a Hawke’s Bay-based brokerage was terminated in January 2020. The FMA was subsequently notified of several concerns, prompting an investigation. During the investigation, Ms Carter admitted to one instance of mortgage fraud, however, her admissions were not full and frank. They did not acknowledge the extent of her criminal conduct, instead falsely describing the conduct as “one-off.”

In April 2021, Ms Carter applied to join another brokerage, with the intention of working under the firm’s Financial Advice Provider (FAP) licence as an Authorised Body, through a company that she owned. During the application process, Ms Carter made false or misleading statements on two FMA documents, which must be provided to the FMA where an Authorised Body joins an FAP licence holder. Ms Carter admitted that she failed to declare that she was being investigated for dishonesty and misrepresented the nature of the FMA’s investigation.

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