Counting to Three


Law Society Member Guilty on Three Counts of Fraud

All of us, whether guilty or not, whether old or young, must accept the past.
It is not a case of coming to terms with the past.  That is not possible.  It cannot be subsequently modified or undone.

- Richard von Weizsaecker

A leading tax expert and lawyer prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office was found guilty yesterday of three fraud charges relating to a forestry trust.  Name suppression lapsed for Donald Hugh Simcock when Judge Nicola Mathers delivered her verdict in the Auckland District Court.  Simcock, a Harvard graduate, company director and lawyer who held senior positions on the New Zealand Law Society and Chambers of Commerce, was known only as "J" up to and during his 12-day trial last month.

It is believed the case, dating back to 1998, is the country's first successful prosecution of a unit trust manager.  Simcock benefited by hundreds of thousands of dollars from various dealings.  Wellington-based Simcock, formerly of Auckland, pleaded not guilty to five charges of abusing his position as an officer of the manager of Flat Rock Forest Trust.  He was found not guilty of two charges.  Judge Mathers said of the not guilty verdicts "that it was a close-run thing."  She found that Simcock was the driving force and "the person who made the decisions" not only as a director of the forestry trust manager but as the director of his various companies involved in the manœuvres.

One charge related to Simcock telling a secretary to issue a cheque for $150,000 to his company Raycorp Holdings.  "The secretary, knowing of Mr Simcock's overall involvement in these affairs, followed his instruction and issued the cheque without the proper signature.  Mr Simcock received the $150,000 for his own benefit."

On another charge that Simcock was found guilty of, the Crown alleged that Simcock requisitioned a cheque for $230,000.  Judge Mathers found he was under financial pressure at the time.  Simcock's evidence was that the $230,000 was a loan.  Said Judge Mathers: "I simply do not believe his explanation."

Source: New Zealand Herald 9 July 2003

News Round Up

A former manager of the collapsed forestry investment Flat Rocks Forest Trust has been found guilty on three fraud charges.

The case, which was recently heard in the Auckland District Court, is beleived to be the country's first successful prosecution of a unit trust manager, the NZ Herald reports.  Donald Hugh Simcock pleaded not guilty to five charges of abusing his position as an officer of the manager of Flat Rocks.  He was found not guilty on two charges.  Judge Nicola Mathers said on those two charges "that it was a close-run thing", the Herald reports.

Source: 28 July 2003

For news articles on the Flat Rock Forests Trust, forestry, the Serious Fraud Office, one immigrant family's experiences, immigration specialists, fraud, juries, logging, and more, pressing the "Up" key below will take you to the Table of Contents for this News section.  Or you may wish to visit the Forestry Trust Table of Contents to read how a unit trust went bust.  Or the Topics Table of Contents which offers a different approach to lots of topics - among them poisonous insects, eating dogs, what's addictive, training vs teaching, tornados, unusual flying machines, humour, wearable computers, IQ tests, health, Y chromosomes, share options, New Jersey's positive side, oddities, ageing, burial alternatives, capital punishment, affairs, poverty, McCarthyism, the most beautiful city in the world, neverending work and lots more...

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