2 Sep 2012

Highest sentence yet 'sends warning' over fraud

7:04 am on 2 September 2012

The Serious Fraud Office says heavy jail sentences for three directors of a failed finance company should send a strong warning.

Former directors Neal Nicholls and Wayne Douglas were jailed for 7½ years while Owen Tallentire, the former chief executive, was jailed for five years.

Nicholls and Douglas received the highest sentences yet for failed finance company directors.

Their lawyer Bruce Gray said he had not had a chance to talk to his clients, so has had no instruction on whether to pursue an appeal.

In sentencing at the Auckland High Court on Friday, Justice Wylie said they were greedy, lacked commercial morality and their behaviour had brought the finance industry into disrepute.

SFO spokesperson Simon McArley says the message is getting through that offending has consequences, "and that this isn't a market where you can offend, take people's money, deprive people of their retirement savings and expect to walk away from it."

The men had earlier been convicted of theft by a person in a special relationship. Capital + Merchant Finance collapsed in 2007 owing $167 million to 7500 debenture holders.