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Guilty plea in Gisborne finance company investigation

Media release
2 September 2013

Guilty plea in Gisborne finance company investigation

Former director of Rockforte Finance Limited (Rockforte), Colin Mark Simpson (52) has entered guilty pleas in the Gisborne High Court to nine counts of fraud laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

SFO laid a number of criminal charges against the three directors of the failed Gisborne finance company in January 2012.  

Mr Simpson has pleaded guilty to charges of theft by person in special relationship, false accounting, obtaining by deception, and false statement by promoter. The charges carry maximum sentences of between seven and ten years imprisonment.

SFO allege that a significant portion of investors’ money was used as a source of funding for the directors’ personal business interests in two companies - Gisborne Haulage and Michael Ward 1969 Ltd, which operated the Jean Jones label throughout New Zealand.

Investor losses amounted to $3.86 million.

SFO General Manager of Evaluation and Intelligence, Graham Gill said, “Although people have attempted to make prudent investments, Mr Simpson’s actions have led to the consequential failure of several businesses. This has had a significant impact on the Gisborne community and resulted in the loss of financial investments and jobs.”

The two remaining defendants, Nigel Brent O’Leary (31 counts) and John Patrick Gardner (22 counts) will face trial on 30 September. Mr Simpson has been remanded on bail for sentencing on 26 September.

ENDS

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