25 Nov 2013

Six years' jail for former LWR owner

10:04 pm on 25 November 2013

Offending by the former owner of clothing manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin (LWR), sentenced to prison for fraud-related charges involving almost $120 million, appeared to be out of desperation, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) says.

Kenneth James Anderson cried in the dock in the Christchurch District Court today during the judge's summing up.

His six-year prison sentence follows a two-year investigation by the SFO into the 2009 collapse of the company.

SFO chief executive Julie Reid told Checkpoint that Mr Anderson's offending was driven by trying to save his business.

She said falsifying documents to ensure business loans are maintained or extended was not a successful way of saving a company.

Judge Jane Farish told the 66-year-old that during the three years of offending he massaged the company's accounts and was wrong in thinking that what he was doing was protecting his employees and creditors.

Judge Farish told Anderson that when he should have realised he couldn't trade his way out of the debts, his pride got in the way.

But former LWR employee Jack Taylor said Anderson was egotistical in not accepting help when his business was in trouble, and the jail sentence should have been longer.

"Six years, well no I thought it might have been closer to 10, given the state of what happened with the closure of the business completely, with an iconic company like Lane Walker Rudkin, and also the fact that nearly 470 people lost their jobs," Mr Taylor said.

Mr Taylor was one of those who lost their job.