June 16, 2024

A defendant involved in an alleged $8.6 million mortgage fraud scheme has entered a plea of guilt to four charges of securing money under false pretenses.

This defendant, one among six individuals implicated in the sophisticated mortgage and investment fraud case, remains under name suppression. The defendant was charged alongside Gerard and Robert Peters.

Set to take place on August 14, 2024, the defendant’s sentencing has been scheduled.

Through these admissions of guilt, the defendant has confessed to providing incorrect information to their bank while applying for a loan in 2018.

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This misinformation included understating the actual purchase price of the property, pretending to make the property’s deposit through a cash gift certificate, and neglecting to reveal an existing bank loan.

Regarding these admissions, The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) commented that they “signif[ied] a crucial turning point in the investigation”.

The investigation by the SFO was initiated in October 2020 following a tip-off from the police.

The SFO alleged that the defendants misled conveyancing solicitors and gave false information on home loan applications to secure credit and properties, using doctored documents.

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According to the SFO, the group managed to secure more than $8.6m through these means and attempted to obtain an additional $3m.

Gerard Peters (inset), another individual implicated in the mortgage fraud case, had multiple vehicles seized by creditors.

The group faces a total of forty-one charges, including securing by deception, attempted securing by deception, and forgery.

SFO director Karen Chang stated that mortgage fraud schemes of this type “can inflict lasting damage on ordinary New Zealanders looking to invest, and also erode faith in our financial institutions”.

Chang further stated: “Through its cases, the SFO aims to deter potential offenders and enhance public understanding of serious and intricate crimes”.

The Herald on Sunday had previously reported on schemes allegedly orchestrated by the Peters family that resulted in massive financial losses for investors. These schemes also led to around a dozen Auckland properties being transferred into exotic ownership structures and burdened with substantial mortgages.

Sandra Rosolowski, a 75-year-old pensioner, claimed that her house in Browns Bay was fraudulently claimed in a scam: she had paid in full for the property, but discovered a year or so later that her name wasn’t on the title and there was a $1 million mortgage registered over it. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

The Herald on Sunday was the first to reveal that the initial alarm was raised by 75-year-old pensioner Sandra Rosolowski. Rosolowski had purchased a flat in Browns Bay, believing it to be mortgage-free. She later discovered that the title of the property was under someone else’s name and had a $1.1m mortgage from BNZ.

Upon uncovering this discrepancy in mid-2018, she lodged a complaint with the bank, which then turned the matter over to the police.

The case was handled by police detective sergeant James Bolton, and as the investigation unfolded over the following 18 months, the list of alleged victims grew.

According to Bolton, “It simply expanded as more individuals reported their experiences. We’re talking about substantial sums of money here, in addition to separate funds that Gerard Peters is alleged to have invested elsewhere – possibly in Singapore or another location.”

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