Guilty plea over housing investment scam
A property developer who ripped off indebted Pacific Island families and cancer-stricken Auckland Blues player Kurtis Haiu has pleaded guilty to fraud.
Glenn William Cooper, 39, this morning pleaded guilty to five charges of dishonestly using a document at the Manukau District Court.
Cooper purchased properties at mortgagee sale, then onsold them for a profit to indebted families for whom he prepared misleading loan application forms.
The Serious Fraud Office charges relate to a series of transactions in the second half of 2011 involving one family and $800,000 of debt.
Acting Serious Fraud Office chief executive Simon McArley said Cooper's modus operandi relied on deceit.
"The investors were sold on a fantasy that purchasing these investment properties would successfully consolidate debt and solve their problems," he said.
"Mr Cooper played on the affinity he had built with one family in particular. This has only added to their financial strife.
"Investors need to remain aware of their vulnerability in such situations."
The SFO began investigating Cooper following a series of articles in the Sunday Star-Times detailing how vulnerable families and church groups had been left with massive debts following price-ramping by Cooper.
In May 2011 rugby player Haiu punched Cooper in the face, leaving him with a black eye.
Haiu, who lost $500,000 in transactions with Cooper, was discharged without conviction following the assault.
Cooper was remanded on bail ahead of sentencing on March 8.