Justice too late, says C + M investor

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 05:00 29/06/2013

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An investor who lost his retirement funds when finance company Capital + Merchant collapsed says the latest prison sentence handed down to two of the company's bosses is deserved, but it does not bring back his money.

Yesterday in the High Court in Auckland, Wayne Douglas and Neal Nicholls were sentenced to further jail time on Financial Markets Authority (FMA) charges of misleading investors.

Douglas, 59, and Nicholls, 57, pleaded guilty in February to the Securities Act charges laid by the FMA for making untrue statements in the company's prospectus.

Justice Geoffrey Venning sentenced Douglas to eight months' prison and Nicholls to one year's imprisonment. This was on top of the seven-and-a-half-year sentences the two men are already serving after being convicted on fraud charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) last year.

The sentences are the longest handed out to failed finance company officers.

Halfmoon Bay resident Barry Keon lost $90,000 when Capital + Merchant collapsed in 2007 owing 7000 investors a total of about $167 million.

The $90,000 was part of a total $400,000 Keon lost in investments in the mass failure of New Zealand finance companies during the global financial crisis.

Keon, 73, said he agreed with the further prison sentences given to Douglas and Nicholls, but it had taken the law too long to deal with the directors.

"There's nothing I could do about it.

"I've lost the money," he said.

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- BusinessDay

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