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Five Star Finance's Williams jailed for false offer document statements

Friday 19th April 2013

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Five Star Finance's Neill Williams has been jailed for three years and seven months after pleading guilty for making false statements in the failed lender's offer documents.

In the Auckland District Court, Williams was sentenced to two and a half years after first pleading guilty to three charges of making a false statement in a registered prospectus, one charge of making false or misleading statements in financial statements and 12 charges of offering securities to the public for subscription without the required offer documents, the Financial Markets Authority said in a statement.

Williams wasn't named as a director of the lender due to his role with two other failed finance companies, but was regarded as the founder and integral to its decision making, the FMA said.

"Neill Williams' offending was at the highest end of the spectrum, and his desire to fly under the radar to hide his real position from the investing public added a layer of deception," said FMA head of enforcement Belinda Moffat. "Investors have a right to know who is at the helm of the companies they trust their money to, and this judgment should act as a reminder of that."

Williams also faces charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office, and is set to stand trial next month in the High Court in Auckland.

Three former Five Star Finance directors were convicted of fraud in 2010, with Nicholas Kirk and Marcus McDonald receiving jail terms and Anthony Bowden was sentenced to home detention.

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