Plimmerton piano seller guilty of fraud
Cameron Crawford, the director of a Plimmerton piano retailer which collapsed with debts of more than $2 million, has pleaded guilty to 11 fraud charges.
In a brief appearance in the Porirua District Court this morning, Crawford's lawyer Mike Antunovich entered guilty pleas to seven charges of theft by a person in a special relationship and another four of causing loss by deception.
Wearing a mismatched suit and no tie, Crawford stood impassively as Judge Ian Mill remanded him on bail to reappear for sentencing in the Wellington District Court on October 19.
Outside court he declined to make any comment.
Crawford was a director and manager of Pianoshop, which was placed in liquidation in May. Earlier in the year a compromise agreement under which creditors would have received some of their money, narrowly failed.
The first creditors' report from liquidator Murray Allott showed the business owed creditors almost $2.4 million, however its realisable assets were estimated to be worth less than $90,000. It had unsecured, non-trade creditors of $924,643.
These are understood to be mainly those who bought or sold pianos through Crawford.
A summary of facts shows a number of instances where Crawford agreed to sell pianos on behalf of others, then used the proceeds of sales to cover other unrelated debts.
When the customers called to inquire about the status of the instruments they were either ignored or told they remained unsold.
Police are seeking reparation totalling $172,473.25 for the victims named in the charges, but it is unclear whether Crawford has the means to repay any of the money.
When Judge Mill asked Mr Antunovich whether a reparation report should be ordered, Mr Antunovich replied as a matter of procedure it should, but ''it would probably be academic''.
The Dominion Post