10 Feb 2011

Businessman admits scam involving Fiji workers

9:57 pm on 10 February 2011

An Auckland businessman has pleaded guilty to two charges in relation to an immigration scam involving farm workers from Fiji.

Immigration New Zealand says Michael Neil Molan, of Otorohanga, created false documents when applying for work permits for the men in 2009.

This included submitting fake job offers and forging signatures of prospective employers.

Immigration New Zealand says in some cases, it was duped into granting permits to the applicants.

Molan originally faced 23 charges. He appeared at the Hamilton District Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to one charge of forgery and one count of misleading an immigration officer. He will be sentenced on 4 March.

A Piopio farm manager employed workers through Molan's company and says she hopes he gets what he deserves.

Stacey Watson says she and other employers were told the workers were being given food and other supplies and would be paid once their work visas were approved.

However, Ms Watson told Checkpoint one man had to ask her for toilet paper, and it was later discovered that the workers were looking for food in a maize paddock.

It then became apparent that the men were not getting any money.