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3 years 8 months sentence in Green Acres franchise fraud

Three years eight months sentence in Green Acres franchise fraud after SFO investigation

Keith Lapham was today sentenced to three years and eight months imprisonment following his guilty plea in respect of three charges of obtaining by deception brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The SFO alleged that in 2007 Lapham fraudulently obtained $3,845,000.00 having made false representations:

• to intended sub franchisees of the Green Acres Franchise Group about the amount of guaranteed income they would receive;
• to four intended sub franchisees of the Green Acres Franchise Group about the number of sub franchises in the Auckland area; and
• to the Green Acres Franchise Group as to the number of sub franchises that he had awarded.

Over 200 people, mostly recent immigrants, paid Lapham for franchises on the basis of the false representations as to guaranteed income.

Lapham pleaded guilty to the charges laid on 30 September 2010, but disputed the amount in question, claiming that he had obtained approximately $1.5m only. Ultimately the sentencing judge took the view that the difference in quantum would not make a material difference to the sentence.

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