Mortgage fraudster gets jail time

Disgraced mortgage broker was sentenced to jail time, for fraud worth millions of dollars, in the Manukau District Court today.

Wednesday, March 16th 2016, 3:45PM 3 Comments

by Miriam Bell

Vicki Ravana Letele was sentenced to three years and two months’ imprisonment, after being found guilty of 10 charges of dishonestly using a document, under Section 228 of the Crimes Act, in September.

The handing down of Letele’s sentence was the culmination of a long-running Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation and prosecution

Letele’s convictions relate to property transactions which occurred in the second half of 2010.

At the time of the offending, Letele was the sole director and shareholder of Focus Property Investment Ltd, which was established to broker mortgages for first home buyers on low incomes.

The SFO’s case detailed how Letele and an associate, Ramni Kumar, used fake documents to get mortgage finance for low income families who wouldn’t otherwise have been able to get finance.

The mortgages were then used to buy property from interests related to Letele and Kumar, which generated them a profit that amounted to approximately $3.6 million.

Judge AJ Johns, who presided over the sentencing, said that in white collar crime it is important to denounce the actions of those involved.

SFO director Julie Read said she felt for the investors who had put their trust in Letele to deal with their significant financial transactions.

“The SFO will continue to put such cases before the Court to ensure New Zealand is a safe place to invest.”

She has previously said that it is important, wherever possible, for investors to get advice from reputable advisers and institutions.

* Kumar, who gave evidence at Letele’s trial, entered a guilty plea in January 2014 and was sentenced to 12 months on home detention and 250 hours of community work.

Tags: financial advisers Responsible lending serious fraud office

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Comments from our readers

On 17 March 2016 at 4:10 pm Withheld said:
I had dealings with this fraudster in 2011 trying to obtain non bank finance - thankfully nothing came of it. For the record she was never a mortgage broker so I'm not sure why the media is calling her one. If you pose as a "doctor" are you a "disgraced doctor"? Good to see the hammer of the law punished people like Vicki for the lives of her ilk destroy. Well done the SFO.

PS. Where was the FMA while all this is happening? - there are still fraudsters out there that need catching FMA, best you go get them!
On 18 March 2016 at 10:50 am andy@themortgageshop.co.nz said:
Withheld - your last comment is rather relevant, considering the article "Where are the RFAs?

Despite all the regulation, the legislation, the extra paperwork, and cost, idiots like Letele still go unchecked until it is too late. Who allowed her to operate. Who was providing the product support?

Should the banks and finance companies have more responsibility in accepting who they deal with?

As has been said (Allistar) "No qualification is going to enhance one's ethics and at the end of the day..."
On 22 March 2016 at 2:48 pm McGoo said:
Hey Andy, agreed. Lenders should be prosecuted for accepting unregistered adviser deals. Without a source of funds these crooks would disappear over night.

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