Exterior of Waldorf Apartments

A pair has been found guilty of defrauding a bank to an excess of $40 million to fund a hotel project.

Property developer Leonard John Ross and company director Michael James Wehipeihana were convicted at Auckland’s High Court for deceiving and using fraudulent documents to get a loan from ANZ to finance the Waldorf Celestion Apartment Hotel.

The pair made false statements and used fake documents to obtain a $41-million loan from ANZ Bank, to finance their company, Emily Projects Limited to build the apartment and hotel block in downtown Auckland.

Julie Read, director of the Serious Fraud Office said, “Mr Ross and Mr Wehipeihana misled the bank to ensure that Emily Projects Limited obtained the loan facility. The SFO is committed to investigating and prosecuting this kind of offending to maintain the integrity of the mortgage market for the benefit of honest borrowers.”

Two other men involved in the fraud had been sentenced prior to 10-months’ home detention.