19 Feb 2011

Christchurch fraudster jailed

10:17 am on 19 February 2011

A Christchurch man has been jailed for swindling $1.6 million from the marine retail firm he was in charge of.

Peter Edward Hynes, the former managing director of MacPherson Marine, had earlier pleaded guilty to 40 charges of credit fraud, laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The business was put in liquidation in mid-2006, soon after Hynes's offending was discovered.

Later that year, the SFO began investigating his fake credit loan applications and the theft of customers' money, but it was only in July last year that he was located in Queensland and extradited to face the charges.

SFO chief executive Adam Feeley says that although the case involved relatively modest financial losses, jobs were lost and some victims were forced to sell their homes.

Hynes was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court on Friday to three years' jail.

Afterwards, the SFO warned that skipping the country was no way for fraudsters to avoid prosecution. Corruption and fraud manager Nick Paterson says the case should send a message to others being investigated that they're not out of reach.