Jail for property commission frauds

Property consultant Stephen Rolf Gubb has been jailed for two years nine months for commission frauds on deals relating to the Izone development in Rolleston.

The Christchurch District Court was told that the real estate company involved had reached a civil repayment agreement with the Selwyn District Council which had paid $300,000 in commissions.

One of the charges involved a fraudulent invoice put in to the council by Gubb for lighting repairs in a reserve area. Gubb immediately repaid the $10,500 involved in that, as soon as the fraud was discovered.

Judge David Saunders added to Gubb’s jail term because of a previous similar conviction, but reduced it for his guilty pleas, his repayment on the false invoice charge, and his offer to take part in restorative justice.

Gubb, 62, from Wanaka, admitted the 14 fraud charges in March and had been remanded in custody for sentence.

He 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 Serious Fraud Office said 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.

Defence counsel Allister Davis said Gubb had taken responsibility from the beginning. The frauds had taken place over a seven-year period. Gubb had found himself financially “painted into a corner” over a house renovation project in Fendalton.

He noted that Gubb had a previous similar conviction. One of the precedent cases that the Serious Fraud Office referred to in its sentencing submissions involved Gubb himself.

The real estate agent who faces 13 alleged fraud charges has pleaded not guilty and is due to appear for a case review hearing on May 30. Interim name suppression has been granted until the next appearance.

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