Guilty plea over housing investment scam
A property developer has pleaded guilty to defrauding an indebted Pacific Island family after playing on an affinity he had built with them.
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 articles 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 that were not part of the SFO prosecution, was discharged without conviction following the assault.
Cooper was remanded on bail ahead of sentencing on March 8.
- © Fairfax NZ News