Press Release – Serious Fraud Office
Shane Charles Wenzel (51) has today been found guilty in the Manukau District Court of eight charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office and not guilty of 12 charges.
Mr Wenzel was facing 17 charges under Section 228(b) of the Crimes Act of using documents dishonestly with intent to obtain a pecuniary advantage, and two charges under Section 229A of using a document with intent to defraud (for offences occurring pre October 2003). In addition, Mr Wenzel faced a charge under Section 45 of the Serious Fraud Office Act, of failing to comply with a notice issued by the Office. He was found not guilty of this charge.
The other charges relate to dishonest loan applications arising from the sale and purchase of properties in South Auckland during the significant upturn in the property market between May 2003 and October 2004.
Acting SFO Chief Executive, Mr Simon McArley said, “Shane Wenzel encouraged loan applicants to submit false documents to lenders. It is important that offenders be brought to account for such conduct.”
Mr Wenzel is due to reappear in the Manukau District Court for sentencing on 23 November.
Background to investigation
Shane Charles Wenzel was a self-employed business coach from Auckland. Mr Wenzel is also a discharged bankrupt and disqualified from running any company.
Mr Wenzel encouraged individuals to apply for mortgage finance based on inflated (false) purchases prices.
On occasions, false letters of employment and false statements of income for the borrower/s were used.
Crimes Act Offences
Section 228 Dishonestly taking or using document
Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, with intent to obtain any property, service, pecuniary advantage, or valuable consideration,—
(a) dishonestly and without claim of right, takes or obtains any document; or
(b) dishonestly and without claim of right, uses or attempts to use any document.
Section 229A Taking or dealing with certain documents with intent to defraud
Pre-October 2003 amendments
Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, with intent to defraud,—
(a) Takes or obtains any document that is capable of being used to obtain any privilege, benefit, pecuniary advantage, or valuable consideration; or
(b) Uses or attempts to use any such document for the purpose of obtaining, for himself or for any other person, any privilege, benefit, pecuniary advantage, or valuable consideration.
Serious Fraud Office Act Offences
Section 45 Offence to obstruct investigation, etc.
Every person commits an offence, and is liable on conviction on indictment,—
(a) in the case of an individual, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding $15,000:
(b) in the case of a corporation, to a fine not exceeding $40,000,—
(c) without lawful justification or excuse, resists, obstructs, or delays any member of the Serious Fraud Office in the exercise of any power conferred by section 9; or
(d) without lawful justification or excuse, refuses or fails to—
(i) attend before the Director; or
(ii) answer any question; or
(iii) supply any information; or
(iv) produce any document; or
(v) provide any explanation; or
(vi) comply with any other requirement,—
as required pursuant to the exercise of any power conferred by section 9; or
(e) in the course of complying with any requirement imposed pursuant to section 5 or section 9, gives an answer to any question, or supplies any information, or produces any document, or provides any explanation, knowing that it is false or misleading in a material particular or being reckless as to whether it is so false or misleading.
Role of the SFO
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.
The SFO operates three investigative teams:
• Fraud Detection & Intelligence;
• Financial Markets & Corporate Fraud; and
• Fraud & Corruption.
The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.
Part I of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”
Part II of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “…the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”
The SFO’s Annual Report 2011 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2012-2015 sets out the SFO’s three year strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at: www.sfo.govt.nz