$8m ANZ bank fraud: Computer company manager to be released from prison

A manager of a Kiwi computer company will be released from prison after spending more than a year locked up for fraudulently securing $8 million in bank loans.

The scheme, which occurred over 14 months from August 2016, was orchestrated by Siu Shun Ho and Christopher John Christie while they worked at International View Limited (IVL), a business importing computer parts from Asia for on-sale in New Zealand.

Ho, also known as Henry, had incorporated IVL in 1990 and was the sole director and majority shareholder, while Christie was the firm’s general manager and responsible was for its day-to-day management.

Both men, however, would be charged and plead guilty to two representative counts of dishonestly using a document to fraudulently secure about $8.8m from ANZ to finance IVL.

They were each sentenced by Justice Paul Davison in June last year to two years and 10 months’ imprisonment and also ordered to serve at least half of the sentence.

Now, Christie has been granted parole and will be released from prison at the end of the month.

His first appearance before the Parole Board was on November 3, where he told the panel he continued with his criminal activities because he was concerned about losing business brought in by Ho and being unable to sustain his lifestyle.

Christie said his income at the time of his offending was an annual salary of $60,000 to $80,000, with $15,00 to $20,000 profit on the business which was returned to the company, the board’s decision reads.

The 59-year-old, who was also the director of Computerware Plus 2009 Ltd and shareholder with his wife, said he would now be looking for work as a truck driver when his time behind bars ended.

Some of the fraudulently obtained payments from ANZ were also made to Computerware Plus, which Justice Davison said had said showed Christie “benefitted personally to some extent from the offending”.

The Parole Board’s decision to release Christie also reads: “Mr Christie spoke well to the Board. His risk of re-offending is assessed as low, and the Board finds that with appropriate special conditions any risk he continues to pose would not be undue.”

Some of the conditions include not being involved in the handling of money, provision of advice or management of the financial accounts or transactions, of any person or entity, unless given prior written approval by a probation officer.

He was also told not to communicate or associate with Ho, who is due to see the Parole Board later this month for the first time.

Christie is due to be released on November 30.

He had written a letter of remorse to the court before his sentencing, which said since his crimes were exposed he has felt relieved after living in fear and suffering poor health because of his lies.

Ho has established two businesses since he moved his family from Hong Kong to New Zealand, including World TV Ltd, the largest Chinese language media organisation in New Zealand.

In a letter to the court at sentencing, he said he couldn’t forgive himself and deeply regrets his actions.

Ho said his actions were for the benefit of IVL and his staff, who he did not want to see lose their jobs. He said for about two years he had tried to sell assets to repay ANZ before declaring himself bankrupt prior to his arrest.

In a victim impact statement, ANZ said the trade loan principal lost by the bank was $1,854,338, but it also calculated interest lost of $402,077, legal costs of $42,550 and liquidator’s costs exceeding $80,000.

In total, the bank said it was defrauded of $2,379,739.

Justice Davison said the fraud involved the preparation of several false documents, including shipping dockets, purchase orders and an inventory summary, which were submitted to ANZ to simply mislead the bank.

“Both defendants clearly acted in concert with full knowledge that the information being provided to the bank was false,” he said in his sentencing notes.

“As general manager, Mr Christie was obviously directly involved and it is no excuse whatsoever for him to say that he was only acting on the instructions of or as directed by Mr Ho.”

According to NZ Companies Office records, IVL is still in liquidation.

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