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No jail over bankruptcy fraud

Thursday 29 Nov 2012 11:53 a.m.

An Auckland businessman has avoided a jail term for his part in an elaborate scheme to help prevent a colleague being declared bankrupt.

Ralph Anthony Vuletic, 31, was sentenced to nine months' home detention in the High Court at Auckland after last month admitting 25 fraud-related charges.

The charges were brought by the Serious Fraud Office in January last year over a scheme in which he attempted to help property developer and insurance broker Marcus Friedlander avoid bankruptcy in 2003, when Friedlander's businesses were failing and he owed millions of dollars to creditors.

The pair created a false paper trail to help support an offer from Friedlander to his creditors that would see him pay less than what he owed them.

Under a now-defunct section of the Insolvency Act, Friedlander had to get support from 50 per cent of his creditors and 75 percent of the value of creditors to agree to his proposal.

The fake paper trail included a backdated sale and purchase agreement for a property in Albany, owned by Vuletic, and a false debt also owed to Vuletic.

By inflating Friedlander's false debts, Vuletic would satisfy the 75 per cent requirement and help his friend stave off bankruptcy.

The scheme ultimately failed and Friedlander was declared bankrupt in 2003.

Friedlander, 58, pleaded guilty to 25 charges over the scheme in August and will be sentenced next month.


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