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Ex-Rockforte director gets 11 months home detention

Thursday 26th September 2013

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Colin Simpson, a former director of Gisborne-based Rockforte Finance, has been sentenced to 11 months home detention and 200 hours community service in the High Court in Wellington today.

Simpson pleaded guilty to nine criminal charges earlier this month relating to the failed lender, the Serious Fraud Office said in a statement. He was charged with theft by a person in a special relationship, false accounting, obtaining by deception and false statement by a promoter. The false reporting led to the finance company's inclusion in the government's retail deposit guarantee scheme, it said.

"The sentence will give some confidence that those committing financial crime will be brought to account," acting chief executive Simon McArley said. "The collapse of Rockforte had a significant impact on the local community, as well as the New Zealand taxpayers who compensated depositors for their losses."

His co-accused, Nigel O'Leary and John Gardner, are expected to stand trial on Oct. 2.

The white-collar crime investigator alleges a significant portion of investor money was used to fund the directors' personal business interests in Gisborne Haulage and Michael Ward 1969, which operated the Jean Jones label before the chain was sold by its receivers. Investor losses amount to some $3.8 million.

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