Second guilty plea over advertising invoice scam

SFO Director Julie Read

James Stephen Burns (41) has pleaded guilty to Crimes Act charges following a major joint enforcement agency operation (Operation Edit) led by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

The Wellington resident faced 24 charges in relation to an advertising invoice scam. The scam involved selling advertising in magazines that were either never printed, or in publications where gross misrepresentations as to the number of magazines to be printed and circulated were made to the advertisers. The magazines were generally titled in a way that suggested worthwhile causes in subjects such as road safety or parenting. It is alleged that the scam had generated up to $1.6 million since 2008.

"The SFO will continue work closely with our fellow agencies on Operation Edit as we proceed with the prosecution of the other defendants," SFO Director Julie Read says.

Terran Elizabeth Dow entered guilty pleas in July 2013 and was sentenced in October 2013. The three remaining defendants in this matter; Anthony John Hendon, Noelene Kay Banton and Johannes Hendrik Maria Middledorp have been committed for trial.

Mr Burns will reappear for sentencing on 19 September.

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