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Guilty plea on $1.6 million fraud charges

Tuesday 9th November 2010

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Former MacPherson Marine managing director Peter Edward Hynes has pleaded guilty at Christchurch Crown Court to 40 charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) totaling $1.6 million.

The SFO extradited Hynes from Australia and said they had worked in conjunction with the police and Interpol to bring him to justice.

MacPherson Marine operated a finance facility with GE Commercial Finance where GE provided finance on new boats and motors between the time of acquisition by MacPherson Marine from the manufacturer and the time of sale to a customer.

The charges relate to false representations made by Hynes to GE to obtain and retain credit, false loan applications made to Marac Finance and the theft of funds paid to MacPherson by customers.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley said, "New Zealand fraudsters should not assume that fleeing to another jurisdiction will allow them to avoid accountability for their crimes."

"While the average scale of current investigations is $35 million of losses per case, we have not lost sight of the public importance of investigating and prosecuting smaller cases of fraud."

Feeley said current investigations at the SFO ranged from $160,000 to the hundreds of millions lost in cases such as South Canterbury Finance and Capital + Merchant.

He also said the SFO expected to bring further charges in respect of current investigations prior to the conclusion of the year.

Hynes was granted bail prior to sentencing, which is scheduled for February 18 2011.

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