A property consultant who arranged for a real estate agent to receive nearly $150,000 commission that the agent did not earn pleaded guilty to 14 fraud charges and has been remanded in custody for sentencing in May.
Stephen Rolf Gubb, from Wanaka, was a property consultant for Hughes Developments Ltd, which was managing an industrial park known as Izone, in Rolleston, for the Selwyn District Council.
The Christchurch District Court was told that Gubb was employed to sell Izone land, leases, and design and build packages, but if a real estate agent introduced a purchaser to the property they would receive the commission.
Between March 2007 and July 2015 Gubb arranged for an agent’s real estate office to receive 13 commission payments worth $300,828, and then the agent was paid the commission through them, which totalled $149,094.
However the Serious Fraud Office found that 10 of the sale and purchase agreements for the 13 sales in question were shown as “Sale by Private Treaty”, but a commission invoice was generated and submitted for payment by Gubb. In 13 cases the purchasers did not know the real estate agent in any capacity.
Gubb used another business, Paviter Ltd, to invoice the work he did for Hughes Developments.
In 2015 the Selwyn District Council received an invoice from Paviter Ltd for lighting repairs relating to a reserve area, indicating that it was contracted through a business the council had used before.
The invoice was for $10,500 and the address for the company was in Merivale. The person who lived at that address received a letter from the council addressed to Paviter, and let them know that the address was wrong.
An accountant at the council searched the Companies Office register and noted that Mr Gubb was a director.
The council then queried the invoice, and Gubb admitted that the invoice was false and no lighting work was done.
He told them he was under pressure and had made a terrible mistake, and then resigned. He repaid the money.
In the Christchurch District Court today defence counsel for Gubb, Allister Davis, said the real estate office had paid back the reparation owing to Hughes Developments Ltd.
Judge Stephen O’Driscoll remanded Gubb in custody for sentencing on May 16.
He asked for a restorative justice assessment to see if a meeting was appropriate.
The agent who has 13 alleged fraud charges is due to appear for a case review hearing on May 30. Interim name suppression has been granted until the next appearance.