Finance director gets four years

Stephen Charles Smith (45), a former director of failed finance company Belgrave Finance Limited (Belgrave Finance), was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on June 7, 2013.

The sentence followed a joint prosecution by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

In April, Mr Smith pleaded guilty to 19 Crimes Act charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, four charges of false statement by a promoter, one Securities Act charge of making an untrue statement and one Companies Act charge of making a false statement to a trustee.

He was sentenced at the Auckland High Court.

The charges related to more than $18 million of transactions made by Belgrave Finance for the benefit of various related entities between June 2005 and March 2008.

Directors’ duty

FMA Head of Enforcement, Belinda Moffat said, “The sentence is a reminder to directors that they cannot depart from their obligations under the law, and their duty to investors.”

Acting SFO Chief Executive Simon McArley said, “This sentencing brings us another step nearer to bringing the criminal prosecution of the Finance Company collapses to a close. This will increasingly allow resources to be refocused toward proactive intervention in emerging areas of financial crime.”

Ms Moffat and Mr McArley said that the joint prosecution demonstrated the efficiencies being achieved through the close working relationship between the two agencies.

“The combination of our specialist skills has enabled this prosecution to be progressed quickly and efficiently and without duplication of resources,” they said.

Under the Companies Act, Stephen Smith’s conviction means that he is automatically banned from managing companies for five years.

A Serious Fraud Office Press Statement

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