Court told Yeo promised to sort debts

Last updated 12:00 22/08/2014

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A man accused of fraud and theft of more than $600,000 told his business partner he would bring money home to sort out company debts, but didn't, 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.

Yesterday, former business partner Graham Laidlaw told the court while there was nothing in writing after he and Yeo started Southern Agriculture and Bailing Ltd there had been an understanding he would provide the baling gear and Yeo would provide the tractor and that money would be divided at the end of the year.

Laidlaw said he had looked at the business accounts after Yeo had travelled to Australia.

"Things weren't that flash."

He asked Yeo where the money had gone and how the company would pay its debts. Yeo told him there was baleage stashed under the trees and that he would bring some money home.

But he didn't, Laidlaw said.

Yeo's phone was then either cut off or he wouldn't answer, he said.

He had not required agreements in writing because he had trusted Yeo, he said.

Laidlaw received bank statements each month and read some of them. He agreed he had known Yeo was writing cheques and using them for personal use but understood it would all be squared up at the end of the year.

Several business cheques were deposited into Yeo's account, others were used to pay for petrol and Yeo's CRT account, which were not authorised by Laidlaw.

The trial continues today.

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- The Southland Times

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