Scam victims seeking political help

Yang also borrowed $20,000 from FBL Finance - controlled by Green Acres' directors and shareholders - and her name was published in FBL's magazine.

http://tvnz.co.nz
January 3, 2008

Scam victims seeking political help

The victims of the alleged Green Acres franchise scam say they are still waiting for authorities to take action, two weeks after first complaining to police.

Up to 200 people paid more than five million dollars for fake ironing franchises and they are now seeking political help.

Dozens of franchise victims met National list MP, Pansy Wong, to press their case for an investigation.

At least 160 unauthorised ironing franchises were signed up by Green Acres area manager, Keith Lapham, who has now disappeared.

"I think the authorities like the Police, the Serious Fraud Office, or even the Commerce Commission should start to take up these issues immediately to send a message out there that New Zealand does not tolerate scams of this scale," says Pansy Wong, the National MP.

Green Acres says it is compiling information to present to the Serious Fraud Office.

But one of the people who were sucked into the scam, Phoebe Yang, simply wants her money back.

Yang paid a $4000 deposit to Keith Lapham for a contract that guaranteed income of a $1000 a week, but she never received any ironing work.

"If I can't continue my business, what is the two year guaranteed income for - so that contract is bullshit," says Yang.

Yang also borrowed $20,000 from FBL Finance - controlled by Green Acres' directors and shareholders - and her name was published in FBL's magazine.

"I saw my name there & I feel happy because my contract should be - I think - should be recognised," says Yang.

"And then they say that even though you have this you can't prove that you are legal."

Ketan Trivedi of Franchisee Watch says those who are responsible for this fiasco cannot run away from prosecution.

"They are responsible for it. They can't run away with the responsibility - they can't say that they don't know - they never knew what has happened," says Trivedi.

But Green Acres says it will be at least a week before it can clarify the status of individual contracts.

Source: ONE News


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