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Money from fraudulently obtained house to be returned to Iwi

"Money from sale of fraudulently obtained house to be returned to Iwi"

The High Court in Wellington has ordered the forfeiture of a $1.5million Plimmerton house purchased with funds fraudulently obtained from the Tenths Trust by Lorraine Skiffington and Sir Ngatata Love.

In June 2016 Love was convicted of obtaining by deception and sentenced to two and half years imprisonment.

His offending related to diverting $1.5million from a property development for his and Ms Skiffington’s own personal gain, causing financial loss to the Tenths Trust.

The charges against Ms Skiffington were stayed due to illness and she has since died.

The property the pair purchased with the fraudulently obtained funds was restrained by the Commissioner of Police in February 2014 and in July 2017 the High Court in Wellington approved Police’s sale order sought under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.

The property was sold last year to protect as much equity as possible, prior to forfeiture, as mortgage arrears occurred attracting significant penalty fees.

Now that the property has been formerly forfeited under the Act, an agreement has been reached to return proceeds of the sale to the victim of this fraudulent behaviour, the Tenths Trust.

Detective Senior Sergeant Brent Murray of the Central Asset recovery Unit says he is pleased to see the funds returned to the Tenths Trust.

“Returning this money will reduce as much of the financial loss caused to the trust and its beneficiaries, descendants of the Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tama and Taranaki Iwi, as possible.

“We are hopeful the outcome of this proceeding will make a difference for the victims of this serious crime.

“The primary function of the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act is to prevent all criminals from benefitting from crime and causing further harm within communities.

“The message here is clear, if any person attempts to profit from crime, they risk lengthy terms of imprisonment and the loss of their assets,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Murray.

Police encourage the community to contact their local station if they have concerns over suspicious financial activities or persons who are accumulating wealth and assets with no apparent legitimate means.

If people wish to give information anonymously, they can do so by ringing Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

ENDS


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