Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ex-army officer blames wife for $1m fraud

A retired army major is blaming his ex-wife for a series of frauds that cost investors almost $1 million.
His wife, Jennifer Margaret McIntyre, has already pleaded guilty to the fraud charges.
Today George Frederick McIntyre, 54, went on trial for in Christchurch District Court denying the joint offending, the Christchurch Court News website reported.
Defence counsel James Rapley told the court: "Some of these investors were deceived. Some of them were told outright lies to ensure they parted with their money. But these acts or deceits were practised by Mrs Jennifer McIntyre and were done without Mr McIntyre's knowledge."
McIntyre denies charges of conspiring with his wife to defraud the public, and one charge of obtaining $10,000 by deception.
McIntyre served in East Timor and retired from the army in 2002, when he became self-employed as an insurance agent.
Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecutor Nicholas Till said the couple married in 1980 and separated in 2003.
They were shareholders and directors of companies called G F and J M McIntyre, Cromac Group Limited, Cromac Group International Ltd, and Cromac Pacific Ltd, a company registered in Fiji.
The SFO said they jointly or separately, or working as a team, offered financial and budgeting advice and encouraged investments at a good rate of return - sometimes 12 percent a year.
Over several years to February 2004 they received $1,438,000 from investors and provided deeds of guarantee even though they had no assets of their own.
The investors were almost all army personnel investing their savings or superannuation payments.
The funds were used for the McIntyres' business expenses, personal expenses, and hire purchase payments for themselves and their children.
No investments or purchases of assets were made on behalf of the investors. New investors were never warned that their financial position meant they were unlikely to be repaid.
"In some instances, investors were repaid but these repayments were made from money obtained from new investors," said Mr Till.
In 2004, the McIntyres were adjudicated bankrupt with a loss of $996,341 to those who had placed investments with them.
Mr Rapley said McIntyre had been involved in several projects including exporting ostrich products to China, a land development at Lake Tekapo, and humanitarian projects with an emphasis on East Timor.
All these businesses existed, but the funds were lost because the businesses failed. The money had been obtained from a range of people as loans.
The trial is before Judge Raoul Neave and a jury. (odt.co.nz)

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