14 Oct 2015

Disgraced ex-lawyer sentenced after new fraud

1:33 pm on 14 October 2015

A disgraced former Hutt Valley lawyer and convicted fraudster has been ordered to serve 10 months' Home Detention for defrauding the Inland Revenue Department.

Patrick Renshaw

Patrick Renshaw Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

Patrick Renshaw, 68, was sentenced in the Wellington District Court on 42 charges, including seeking false GST refunds and failing to make PAYE and student loan payments to the Department.

The offending occurred between January 2010 and November 2012 when he was a shareholder and director of a company providing accounting and tax advice.

Judge Peter Hobbs said when Renshaw experienced difficulties with a property development, he put money into mortgage payments, rather than paying PAYE and student loan deductions to the IRD.

He said the GST fraud was committed in an attempt to repay the PAYE and student loan deductions which he owed.

Judge Hobbs said the total benefit for Renshaw and his businesses was $144,968.20, but Renshaw fraudulently sought an extra $201,413.19 in refunds from the IRD but the department would not pay them.

IRD's lawyer Mathew Ferrier said Renshaw failed to show any contrition or insight into his offending and appeared to try and minimise it.

However Renshaw's lawyer Letizia Ord said her client had been assessed as having a low likelihood of reoffending and low risk of harm to others.

She said he accepted he should not have diverted money from the IRD to put into his business developments, but he had hoped he could sell the development at a profit and repay the debt.

Judge Hobbs said Renshaw's offending was relatively sophisticated and required some planning and was not the kind of offending which someone could commit without being aware of it.

"I am prepared to accept you were under some stress and there were things going on in your life that made you more prone to act in this way, but you must have been aware of it and you have acted deliberately."

However he said there was no significant personal gain to Renshaw, no spending on lavish lifestyles and Renshaw and his wife were both now bankrupt.

He ordered Renshaw to pay a lump sum of $2500 reparation within 28 days and a further $13,000 reparation at $50 a week.

Renshaw was jailed for seven years in 1992 after admitting stealing more than $6 million invested by clients in his then law firm, Renshaw Edwards.