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National Finance's Ludlow gets six years in jail

Thursday 20th October 2011 1 Comment

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National Finance 2000 boss Trevor Ludlow was sentenced to six years imprisonment in the Auckland District Court today after being found guilty of theft and false accounting charges.

In July, the court found Ludlow breached the terms of National Finance’s trust deed, defrauding investors of some $3.5 million.

That included some $2.7 million of unauthorised or unsecured loans to his Payless Car group of companies, undisclosed related party transactions worth $800,000 to an audio company, Fijian property, and land purchased for another company he owned, the Serious Fraud Office said in a statement.

“Concluding the investigations and prosecutions of failed finance companies has been our number one priority over the past 18 months, and this sentence reflects both the seriousness and importance of this work,” SFO chief executive Adam Feeley said in a statement.

“Kiwi investors understand that criminal proceedings cannot restore the losses they have suffered, but equally we believe that they will take some confidence in knowing that those who have so fundamentally breached investor trust can and will be held to account.”

National Finance was an auto finance company, which left more than 2,000 holders of debenture bonds owed more than $25 million, when it became one of the first of a string of finance companies to fail through the latter half of the past decade.

Its absence of a credit rating was highlighted as indicating how little investors were able to distinguish about the quality of finance companies at that time.

In November last year, former National Finance accountant John Gray pleaded guilty to similar charges, and was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. That was later reduced to nine months home detention on appeal.

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Comments from our readers

On 21 October 2011 at 11:49 am Peter Robinson said:
I considered investing with Ludlow some years ago, when I asked him where the funds were invested, he replied vehicle loans, I immediately backed away. People only look at the high percentage, and fail to see the even higher risk, as much as I feel sorry for these investors, we all have the right to ask questions, they failed to do so.
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