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 Anonymous 2013-06-21 at 9:58:38 am Views: 115
  • #1968

    Ex-Photocopy Dealer Admits $2m Fraud

    Adam Peter Holcombe, A former Auckland photocopier dealer and company director, pleaded guilty this month to four Crimes Act charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office involving at least $2 million. 

    Holcombe pleaded guilty in a pretrial hearing in front of Judge Josephine Bouchier days ahead of the April 19 scheduled start of a six week District Court trial. 

    His victims included St Peters College, Northcote College, the National Heart Foundation, Fisher & Paykel subsidiary Equipment Finance Ltd and Soccer Auckland. 

    The first charge involved using 39 documents -invoices, rental and lease agreements – worth $1.91 million, with intent to defraud and gain pecuniary advantage for himself and/or his company between 10 November 1999 and 25 January 2001. 

    As a director of Cardy Copiers Ltd, whose name he subsequently changed to Triangle Business Machines Ltd, Holcombe negotiated leases of business machines on favourable terms to customers, the SFO said. 

    He arranged finance for customers through finance companies including Equipment Finance and UDC Finance Ltd. The finance companies paid out the full value of the machine to Holcombe based on his invoices recording the sales.

    The finance company would then own the machine and lease it to Holcombe's customer. 

    Holcombe was sentenced to 18 months in prison with leave to apply for home detention. The sentence was deferred for two months. 

    Holcombe also pleaded guilty to theft by conversion. 

    The SFO alleged he fraudulently converted two photocopiers, one owned by CIT Finance Ltd and the other by Equipment Finance, by stealing them from the Rojolie Clinic, specialists in assessing and treating anxiety disorders and depression, and accounting firm Drew Bullen. 

    The third charge was of using a forged document in January 2000. 

    This was a UDC Finance chattel lease agreement for a digital phone system provided to St Peters College. 

    Fourthly, Holcombe pleaded guilty to altering a document with intent to defraud in October 2000 when he inserted an extra photocopier into a deal with the International Management Group. 

    Holcombe provided invoices from Cardy Copiers-Triangle and sister company Cardy Communications Ltd to the finance companies from, among others, Te Atatu Intermediate School for $51,084.98, Northcote College for $230,112.54, the National Heart Foundation for $57,248.10, St Peters College for $43,210, Soccer Auckland for $14,629 and five from Harvey Norman totaling $458,437.50. 

    Holcombe, 35, came to New Zealand from England in 1991. He worked for Cardy Minolta in Auckland as a business machine salesman for about five years. 

    He left after the company was restructured and subsequently approached Cardy Minolta, now Cardy Communications, with a proposal to set up a copier division of Cardy. 

    This he did in 1999. 

    "Holcombe double-pledged machines, created fictitious serial numbers on invoices and forwarded false invoices to financiers," the SFO's indictment said. 

    In March 2000 Holcombe told Soccer Auckland he could significantly reduce the organisation's monthly payments on a $13,550 48-month contract with UDC for a Siemens phone system if Soccer Auckland refinanced with UDC. 

    A new chattel lease agreement was signed. However, Holcombe invoiced UDC as though the system was additional to the original one and pocketed $14,629, the SFO said. 

    Byron Ballan, with whom Holcombe established Cardy Copiers, says he hasn't seen any of the more than $700,000 he claimed from Holcombe. 

    Two years ago Ballan told The Independent he sold his Paratai Drive home to help repay creditors (The Independent 3 April 2002). 

    Initially a 50% shareholder of Cardy Copiers, Ballan sold to Holcombe, who was running Cardy Copiers, for a nominal $1. 

    Holcombe then changed the company's name to Triangle in September 2000. 

    Supported by the Inland Revenue Department, which was owed more than $136,000, TV3 had Triangle wound up in 2001 after it failed to pay for advertising. 

    Holcombe was bankrupted in June 2001. 

    Triangle was placed in liquidation in the High Court at Auckland on 9 July 2001, with Ferrier Hodgson appointed liquidators. 

    Owed $135,000, debenture holder Equipment Finance seized Triangle's assets including office equipment and furniture. 

    In a district court deposition, private investigator John Rex Hughes said he was hired by Equipment Finance in April 2001 to investigate the company's dealings with Holcombe and Triangle. Equipment Finance complained to the SFO about Holcombe. 

    The Independent was told Holcombe has recently been working for Auckland firm Ibyte Ltd, a Telecom-accredited dealer. Ibyte director David Thompson declined to comment.

    * Post was edited: 2004-04-23 10:10:00