Read the SFO's statement below:
Marcus Arthur MacDonald, a former director of Five Star Consumer Finance Limited (“Five Star”) has today pleaded guilty in the District Court in Auckland to charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, which related to misuse of Five Star funds in breach of its Trust Deed requirements.
SFO Chief Executive, Adam Feeley, said “This is the first result in relation to a major finance company collapse, and is hopefully indicative of things to come.”
Mr Feeley said the SFO was pleased that successful resolutions had been secured in relation to a number of the numerous finance company collapses that have occurred since 2007.
“The SFO’s strategy of focusing on larger scale cases involving significant losses is helping to reassure the investing public that there is an effective law enforcement response to the financial sector fraud of recent years.”
He warned, however, that there was still a large amount of work to be done.
“We expect to conclude a further four major investigations this calendar year, but some of the more recent matters are likely to continue into next year.”
Former Five Star directors Nicholas George Kirk and Anthony Walpole Bowden and Five Star manager Neill Alan Williams, have also been charged by the SFO with offences relating to the misuse of funds. These defendants are yet to be committed for trial.
Mr McDonald was remanded to appear for sentencing on the 22 December 2010, in conjunction with the sentencing of himself and other former directors of Five Star in relation to Securities Act charges brought by the National Enforcement Unit of the Ministry of Economic Development.
Three Five Star Group companies - Five Star Finance, Five Star Consumer Finance and Antares - collapsed between August 2007 and June 2008 owing just over NZ$100 million to about 2,400 depositors. See our Deep Freeze List here.