Guilty plea in mortgage fraud prosecution

Julie Read, SFO Director

A 45-year-old Auckland woman has admitted 10 charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office relating to property deals in 2010.

Ramni Kumar entered a guilty plea in the Auckland District Court to the charges under section 228 of the Crimes Act for falsely using a document.

An associate, Vicki Ravana Letele, 32, also faces 10 charges plus one additional charge.

The total value of the fraud is $3.9 million, the SFO says in a statement.

Ms Kumar admitted using false documentation to obtain mortgage finance for low income families who would not otherwise have been able to obtain finance.

Ms Kumar benefited by arranging for her (and allegedly, her associate’s) contacts to make the initial purchase of the properties and then on-sell them to the mortgage recipients, thus generating a profit.

SFO Director Julie Read noted that the agency had some concerns about the potential for more incidents of mortgage fraud in the current market.

“A market with high demand for properties and rapidly rising prices creates opportunities for individuals to exploit vulnerable buyers. Lenders and buyers need to be alert to this risk,” she said.
Ms Kumar will reappear for sentencing on March 11.

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