Three people have been found guilty of a massive $54 million mortgage fraud scheme after a three-month-long trial.
A banker, a lawyer and the wife of a property developer were charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over their use of bribes and misleading documents to obtain loans and purchase properties, NZME reports.
Wife Kang Xu, lawyer Gang Chen, and former banker Zongliang Jiang were convicted on Friday at the High Court at Auckland by Justice Sarah Katz. Another banker fled the country before he could face justice.
Xu is the wife of Auckland property developer Kang Huang, who Justice Katz called the "mastermind" of the scheme. He has already been jailed for his role in the fraud.
SFO prosecutor Todd Simmonds told the court the group used false information to get loans to purchase properties. Altogether, the loans were worth over $54 million, which were used in relation to 76 Auckland and Hamilton properties.
Mr Simmonds said Xu would supply the false documents to Chen, who would provide the false and misleading documents to the bank, where Jiang would approve the applications in exchange for bribes.
Xu was found guilty of 21 of 34 charges, Jiang was found guilty of all his 25 charges, and Chen was found guilty on 10 of 12 charges, NZME reports.
The trio will be sentenced later this year, however Justice Katz said she was concerned they would flee New Zealand.
"I'm slightly worried about the access to false passports after what I just summarised a moment ago," she said, according to NZME.
Chen and Jiang have been remanded in custody, while Xu has been granted bail until sentencing.
Justice Katz agreed it was likely the trio would face time in prison.