Auckland, July 9 NZPA - A man convicted for his role in a $7 million housing scam has been told if he pays $50,000 towards reparation by the time he is sentenced, it will reduce the time he will spend on home detention.
Former real estate agent Ranjeet Prasad was due to be sentenced in the Manukau District Court today on numerous fraud charges but Judge Ajit Singh said he wanted to give him more time to get the money to pay more of the agreed $80,000 in reparations to victims.
Judge Singh said he was not happy that the victims would be constantly reminded of the offending by the offer of $50 a week to be paid by Prasad towards the $80,000 in reparations after an initial payment to the court of $5000.
Serious Fraud Office prosecutor, Luke Clancy, said at $50 a week it would take 29 years to pay off.
Prasad was convicted for his part in the south Auckland housing scam where unsophisticated people with very little equity, in one case only a few hundred dollars, bought houses where the property value was deliberately overstated.
The court had earlier heard that dishonest supporting documents were submitted on fraudulent applications for mortgages for more than the value of the houses.
Four other people also faced charges. One had disappeared and may have left the country and three others were due to stand trial in Auckland,
Earlier this year a depositions hearing was told those involved included a "self-styled" property developer, Stephen D'Villiers, Prasad, and former Westpac mortgage manager Amar Singh.
Singh was due to be sentenced on Friday. D'Villiers, his partner Boni Roy (formerly Bornali Karmakar) and his niece Jenifer Lacurtz (formerly Ranjini Naidu) were due to be tried next year in Auckland.
They were charged over dishonest home loan applications for more than $7m.
The earlier hearing heard that one purchaser received a sub-standard property in need of substantial repairs and a mortgage he could not afford.
The SFO alleged it submitted fraudulent loan applications with dishonest supporting documents to obtain finance for properties in South Auckland to banks and other lending institutions.
The $80,000 reparation was to cover the losses to banks and 17 victims who were out of pocket over loan costs, said the SFO after the hearing today.
Judge Singh told Prasad the more he could pay in reparations in one payment, the less time he would serve on home detention.
After consulting his partner in court Prasad told the court he could pay $50,000 to the court by the time he as sentenced later this month.
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