Businessman admits $750,000 frauds

January 23, 2018 | By More

Canterbury businessman Paul Martin Encell has admitted defrauding $750,000 from the tax department, businesses, and one man who contracted him to build a house.

Encell lied about having a 10-year Master Build guarantee and when his company went into liquidation, the man lost $263,188 paid in advance on the uncompleted house.

When he contacted Master Build about his lost money, they had never heard of Encell or his company, the Encell Group.

Encell, 52, of Oxford, clocked up the $750,000 over about three years of offending. He has been in custody, after pleading guilty to four fraud charges, and he admitted another 29 charges today.

They included two fraud charges, one theft, and 26 fraud charges relating to GST claims totalling $367,792.

Christchurch District Court Judge Tom Gilbert remanded him in custody for a Crown sentencing on March 28. He asked for a pre-sentence report, but ruled out any sentence short of imprisonment by declining to get a home detention assessment.

He also referred to the case for possible restorative justice meetings between Encell and his victims, and said he would accept any submissions relating to reparations prospects – which look non-existent – from the three prosecutors.

Encell is being prosecuted by Paul Saunders for Inland Revenue, Pip Norman for the Crown, and also the police.

In September 2014, he incorporated the Encell Group, to build homes with him operating as a project manager and director.

He opened a trade account with a building supply firm, by forging the signatures of his partner and a relative as guarantors, and also forged witness’ signatures. He then didn’t pay for the items he bought and the supply firm eventually applied to have the Encell Group put into liquidation owing them $51,500.

He used the same method to get $104,000 in goods from another building supply firm.

He also forged a signature on a finance deal to obtain two vehicles. The finance company lost $13,000.

In February 2015, a man met Encell and signed a contact to build a new home. Encell prepared a contract offering a 10-year Master Build guarantee which covers loss of deposit and non-completion of a new home build.

The man believed his investment in his new home was safe and signed the contact. Encell failed to complete the build despite being paid in advance and went into liquidation owing the man $263,188.

The victim then found that the Master Build guarantee and a claimed public liability insurance policy did not exist.

Inland Revenue told the court that Encell used 26 GST returns to fraudulently obtain money, through the companies Verve Design Ltd, Bayside Developments Ltd, Redwood Homes Ltd, and Concrete and Stone New Zealand Ltd.

Encell sought refunds totalling $367,792 and was paid $315,044. The remaining refunds were withheld by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

The four companies had been set up using the names of people as directors and shareholders who had no knowledge of them. One of them had applied for a job through an online advertisement and said he may have spoke to Encell. He had been asked to supply personal details, including his IRD number.

A search warrant was executed at Encell’s home in Oxford on March 15, 2017. Documents and a laptop computer were taken. One document, found in a printer, linked Encell to the companies.

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