17 Apr 2014

Property scammer going to prison

7:49 am on 17 April 2014

A man who preyed on vulnerable South Auckland families in a property scam has been told to report to the High Court to start serving his prison sentence.

Glenn Cooper pleaded guilty to five charges in January 2013 and was sentenced to 19 months imprisonment, but had asked to be given home detention instead.

Cooper would buy properties cheaply using an associate, and then arrange for heavily indebted people to buy the properties at inflated prices using loans gained by providing false information.

Cooper appealed the sentence of 19 months imprisonment on the grounds it was excessive and he should have been given home detention.

Instead, Justice Sarah Katz ordered him to report to the court by noon on Thursday to start serving his prison sentence.

In her decision, Justice Katz said a sentence of home detention would not adequately reflect the seriousness of the offending.

She said the victims were particularly vulnerable and commercially naive.

Lawyer Geoff Bilkey is representing four families who face losing their homes after getting involved in Cooper's scheme.

Mr Bilkey said the offending was serious, and it was a forlorn hope that Cooper would be given home detention.

Two of the families he represented faced having their homes sold in a mortgagee auction next month, he said. He would be seeking a court injunction to stop the banks from selling the homes.

The banks did a poor job of vetting the loan applications and would now take no responsibility, Mr Bilkey said.

Former Auckland Blues rugby player Kurtis Haiu was one of those caught up in Cooper's scheme and was in 2011 discharged without conviction for assaulting him over it.

In the same year, Haiu took indefinite leave from rugby after being diagnosed with bone cancer.

Cooper has now taken an appeal to the Court of Appeal.