Christchurch man jailed for $100m fraud
Updated at 7:56 pm on 3 May 2012
A Christchurch man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for a fraud involving more than $100 million from the failed South Canterbury Finance.
Gavin Bennett pleaded guilty in March to fraud charges which were laid by the Serious Fraud Office.
Judge Jane Farish said what Bennett had started as a way to keep his IT business, Datasouth, afloat had turned into the funding of a lavish and grandiose lifestyle.
She said Bennett's fraud had left South Canterbury Finance with a loss of $23 million which was covered by the Government guarantee for finance companies.
Judge Farish said that meant South Canterbury's small investors were saved the loss, but taxpayers must bear the burden.
His eight year sentence carries a minimum non-parole period of three-and-a-half years.
Over a period of nearly six years Gavin Bennett used his technology hardware business to receive loans which totalled $65 million from South Canterbury Finance.
He also falsified entries in Datasouth's financial statements by an estimated $38 million to retain ongoing finance facilities.
Bennett used the money to fund a lifestyle which included international travel, the rental of two apartments in Sydney and regular payments to female companions.
Head of the Serious Fraud Office Adam Feeley says Bennett has hurt many people's lives.
Mr Feeley told Checkpoint Bennett was only stopped by the courageous action of the chief executive of his company in reporting him to the SFO.
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