New Zealand Law Society - Former lawyer receives home detention

Former lawyer receives home detention

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Edward Errol Johnston has been sentenced at the Auckland District Court to 11 months' home detention and ordered to pay $50,000 in reparation in a Serious Fraud Office prosecution.

Mr Johnson pleaded guilty in September 2016 to three Crimes Act charges of dishonestly taking or using a document .

A former lawyer, he was struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors in August 2013 after admitting charges of misconduct and breaches of the regulations governing law practitioners.

The Serious Fraud Office says during the period December 2011 and January 2012, Mr Johnston owned properties in the Auckland area and had fallen into arrears on his loan repayments to his bank.

"When faced with a requirement to reduce his existing debt, Mr Johnston manipulated the system. He submitted false Sale and Purchase Agreements to his bank. The bank accepted the fictitious transactions," it says.

"In reality, the properties were either sold for a higher price than he had stated, or transferred to another Trust and refinanced with a loan from another bank. In January 2012 Mr Johnston submitted a false Statement of Assets and Liabilities to the bank when obtaining the refinanced loan."

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