Belgrave Finance legal adviser Hugh Hamilton, a former mayor of Central Hawke's Bay, has been sentenced to four years and nine months in jail for his role in defrauding the failed lender.
Hamilton was sentenced at the High Court in Auckland today, having been found guilty in May of 14 Crimes Act charges of theft by a person in a special relationship, brought by the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Markets Authority, the agencies said in a joint statement. The charges arose from related party lending of more than $12 million by Belgrave between March 2005 and March 2008.
"The sentence reflects the seriousness of the offending in the Belgrave case," FMA director of enforcement and investigations Belinda Moffat said. "Professional advisers play a critical role in companies that raise money from the public, and they have a responsibility to ensure they do not enable wrongdoing."
Belgrave, which provided finance for property developments from funds raised via debentures and capital notes, was put in receivership in May 2008 owing $22 million to about 1,000 investors. It was placed in liquidation in April 2010.