Drainage company official faces deception charges

Road cones-red zoneThe operations manager of Christchurch firm Alligator Drainage, which was placed in liquidation last month, has now been charged with causing losses totalling $168,345 by deception.

Graham Daniel Lilley, 35, listed as a managing director, of Burwood, was remanded without plea to June 18 when he appeared on 16 charges before Judge Jane Farish in the Christchurch District Court today.

An alleged co-offender was due to appear in the Auckland District Court.

Customers have alleged that they were told that the Earthquake Commission would reimburse them for extensive draining work done by Alligator Drainage Ltd without the commission approving the work beforehand. Lilley said in an interview with The Press last year that the company had never been told its procedure was wrong.

The commission issued a public warning to householders in November that they should ensure the commission had authorised the work before engaging a contractor. The commission explained that in order to be reimbursed for work, customers had to show the earthquake had caused the pipes to leak and, in all likelihood, a visual inspection would have to be done.

Alligator Drainage Ltd, based in New Brighton, started working in Christchurch after the earthquakes.

On April 26, in the High Court at Christchurch, Alligator Drainage Ltd, was placed in liquidation by Associate Judge Rob Osbourne, at a session where two creditors were listing debts of almost $80,000.

Alligator Drainage was not represented at that hearing.

The next step in that process was for the appointed liquidators, the Auckland firm Waterstone Insolvency, to require the Alligator Drainage Ltd directors to file a statement of affairs and they would then contact all identified creditors. Public notices would be advertised and people with claims could then contact the liquidators directly.

The charges today allege that that Lilley “by deception and without claim of right” caused losses to people totalling $168,345.

The charges allege offences were committed in Christchurch from August to October last year, with amounts ranging from $1000 to $20,561.

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