Home detention for property developer Friedlander

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 10:28 17/12/2012

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An Auckland property developer who attempted to hoodwink creditors and escape bankruptcy has been sentenced to seven months' home detention.

Marcus Friedlander, 58, pleaded guilty in August to 22 charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office of forgery, using a document to defraud and perverting the course of justice.

In sentencing him today in the High Court at Auckland, Justice John Priestley said the offending related to the manufacture of $10 million in false loans in 2002 and 2003 as Friedlander faced the prospect of bankruptcy.

“The prisoner, at the time a property developer in his 40s, nefariously attempted to stave off bankruptcy by putting false information before his creditors,” Justice Priestley said.

The plot failed and Friedlander was bankrupted in 2003 owing $41m.

Justice Priestley said while the charges were serious, Friedlander was entitled to a significant discount as he was co-operating with the SFO as part of an investigation into legal figures.

Robert Hucker, acting for Friedlander, said his client was not the mastermind of the false loans scheme, “which was designed by solicitors assisting Mr Friedlander at the time”.

The law firm at the centre of the SFO investigation is subject to a permanent suppression order.

Friedlander's co-accused, Ralph Vuletic, pleaded guilty to similar charges and was last month sentenced to nine months' home detention.

Friedlander, who receives a sickness benefit, will serve his sentence at a guest house in Auckland's eastern suburbs.

“He is clearly suffering from depression, severe anxiety and, in recent times, despair,” Justice Priestley said.

Conditions of the sentence include restriction on Friedlander's employment. "One mightn't want him returning immediately to the business of property development," the judge said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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