Accused got into debt in business

Last updated 05:00 27/08/2014

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A Southland man accused of fraud and theft got himself into debt with a small business he owned, the Invercargill District Court has been told.

Paul Graham Yeo, 55, is on trial before Judge Michael Turner after pleading not guilty to 118 charges, including theft by a person in a special relationship, dishonestly using a document, obtaining by deception, causing loss by deception and forgery.

The court has been told Yeo owned Small Bore Tappers before moving to Power Farming. He took the Husqvarna franchise with him and Power Farming paid the outstanding debts.

In the police interview played to the court yesterday, Yeo admitted he had got himself into debt when he owned Small Bore Tappers.

The court was told about half the charges he faced arose from when he was employed by Power Farming and related to items of machinery that went missing or Yeo receiving money and banking it into his own account.

A witness told the court yesterday that he had arranged for Power Farming to sell his mower, valued between $6000 and $6500, on behalf and they lent him a $2000 mower to get a job done.

He later realised his mower was missing and he had not been paid.

Crown lawyer Sarah McKenzie said evidence showed Yeo had written out an invoice to another person, which was the man's late brother, for the purchase of the mower and the money was banked into Yeo's personal account.

In his police interview, Yeo said that he had banked the cheque into his own account, taken the money out and paid the man's brother in cash.

But if that had happened, his brother would have paid him the money straight away, he said.

It would have been unlikely his brother would have owned the same mower, he said.

Another witness told the court he had known Yeo for more than 20 years, classed him as a mate and trusted him.

The man bought a $55,000 bailer from Power Farming, which he paid off through a finance company with interest.

He later decided to upgrade his bailer but the demonstration one Power Farming gave him to try continued to break down so he asked the company to take it back.

Power Farming bought him another bailer but it was later repossessed by the finance company, he said.

He was later told the third bailer had previous finance owing on it.

The trial continues today.

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- The Southland Times

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