SFO, FMA lay a swag of criminal charges against Belgrave directors

Both the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) have laid a swag of criminal charges against three people associated with Belgrave Finance which collapsed in May 2008 owing investors about $22 million.

Wednesday, September 14th 2011, 11:21AM

by Jenny Ruth

The 60 SFO alleges three people, former Belgrave director Stephen Charles Smith, 43, associate Raymond Tasman Schofield, 49, and an unnamed third person misrepresented to investors how their investments would be used and subsequently used those funds in an unauthorised manner.

Smith and Schofield appeared in the Auckland District Court today and the third will appear at a later date, the SFO says.

Its charges relate to more than $18 million of loans made by Belgrave to various entities allegedly related to Schofield and the company between June 2005 and March 2008.

The FMA alleges Schofield in substance acted as a director of Belgrave and that he, Smith and another Belgrave director, Shane Joseph Buckley, made untrue statements in documents offering securities to the public.

The FMA says these statements relate to related party lending, asset quality and lending practices and a number of other matters.

It says, if convicted, the three men face a maximum penalty of five years in jail and fines up to $300,000 plus $10,000 for every day the offences continued.

The FMA also alleges the three men made a false or misleading statement to the trustee for investors in Belgrave secured debenture stock.

The maximum penalty for that offence is five years in jail or a $200,000 fine.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley says the SFO has worked closely with the FMA on Belgrave and other finance company investigations.

"We are determined to ensure that, where there is sufficient evidence, the charges laid properly address the public confidence in the integrity of our financial markets and the justice system is maintained."

Tags: finance companies

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