Former fraudster faces bankruptcy

Last updated 05:00 04/03/2014

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A former fraudster who was jailed for seven years for fraud totalling $6.4 million is facing bankruptcy unless he pays nearly $12,000.

The Bank of New Zealand yesterday sought for Patrick John Renshaw to be adjudicated bankrupt in the High Court at Wellington for failure to pay an undisclosed amount.

But the application was adjourned for a month, after an agreement was reached between the two parties.

Renshaw now has to pay a compromised amount of the debt, totalling $11,296.52, by April 7, or face bankruptcy.

Renshaw was involved in the high-profile collapse of Upper Hutt law firm Renshaw Edwards in 1992.

He was released on parole 32 months into a seven-year sentence on 42 charges of fraud and theft involving $6.4m of clients' funds.

His partner, Keith Edwards, was jailed for six years on 51 charges of theft involving $3.5m.

Edwards served two years and seven months of his six-year sentence.

The bizarre collapse of the firm occurred after the two partners committed the respective multimillion-dollar frauds separately and unknown to each other.

The collapse eventually hit the pockets of 2800 of the country's senior lawyers, resulting in tougher control of lawyers' trust funds.

In 1996 the Law Society settled more than 400 Renshaw Edwards claims totalling about $29m.

The settlement cost the senior lawyers $10,000 each, as well as their annual $500 fidelity fund fee because their fidelity fund could not cover the payout.

The men were prosecuted for less than $10m by the Serious Fraud Office but the society accepted the men had caused clients losses of $29m.

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- BusinessDay

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