Fugitive Simon Turnbull pleads guilty to mortgage fraud
Simon Lawrence Wood Turnbull, who fled the country facing mortgage fraud charges, has pleaded guilty to 16 charges under the Crimes Act at Auckland District Court.
Turnbull was involved in a scheme whereby false loan applications were submitted to a funds management company to enable the purchase of 16 properties in and around New Zealand's largest city between September 2006 and August 2007, the Serious Fraud Office said in a statement.
Property developer Malcolm Mayer was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in the fraud, valued at $47 million, in February 2014. An appeal by Mayer failed in May.
"Mortgage fraud is taken seriously by the SFO. In a housing market which has enough challenges for the honest buyer, further costs to borrowing because of other people's dishonesty is not acceptable. The SFO welcomes the guilty plea today," SFO director Julie Read said.
Charges were first laid against Turnbull in November 2014 but he failed to appear in court. In the course of Mayer's two trials, prosecutors received tip-offs that Turnbull was in Singapore, London and Texas.
Turnbull was finally arrested when he returned to New Zealand in June this year. He's to reappear for sentencing on November 18.