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Guilty plea in SFO $2.3 million farming fraud

Media Release

16 January 2012

Guilty plea in SFO $2.3 million farming fraud

Peter Joseph Nitschke (32) today pleaded guilty to seven charges under the Crimes Act relating to dishonestly using a document and obtaining by deception. The charges followed a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into agri-business, Capehorn Farming Company Limited (Capehorn).

Capehorn operated a beef cattle fattening farming business in the central and lower regions of the North Island, in which cattle purchases were generally financed through specialist livestock finance companies. In late 2009 Capehorn fell into financial difficulty as a result of falling beef prices.

The SFO alleged that, in early 2010, Mr Nitschke obtained over $880,000 worth of finance from lenders for cattle that did not exist. The SFO further alleged that he fraudulently sought $1.5 million in refinancing from the BNZ in order to repay loans for the non-existent cattle and for cattle that had already been sold.

Capehorn was placed into receivership by the BNZ in December 2010 at which time PwC were appointed as receivers. The matter was subsequently referred to the SFO in March 2011.

Mr Nitschke will reappear in the Fielding District Court for sentencing on 20 February 2012.


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