Green Acres investors look to Dalziel

"Keith is not the main issue. We don't know Keith. We know Green Acres. We bought the franchise because of Green Acres and Keith is just a manager, area manager. That's all," says one investor.

http://tvnz.co.nz
January 7, 2008

Green Acres investors look to Dalziel

The Serious Fraud Office will investigate allegations of a multi-million dollar con involving franchise company Green Acres.

The country's largest franchise company has been caught up in the con in which hundreds of investors bought into a bogus Green Acres ironing business.

The investors want someone held accountable, and have looked to the Minister of Commerce Lianne Dalziel for help.

It was Christmas Eve when Dalziel was told that up to 200 migrant investors had ploughed their savings into unauthorised ironing franchises.

The amount invested is possibly as much as $5 million.

"(It's) the worst case that I've come across in my time as Minister of Commerce and I think that there will be those that are looking to see how this is dealt with," she says.

The Green Acres area manager responsible, Keith Lapham, has since disappeared.

An English teacher who accompanied her student to a meeting with Lapham says he was very "smooth spoken".

"I thought what a real rip-off person, and that with the most vulnerable people of our community, the new arrivals, who work incredibly hard," Antoinette Everts.

But on Monday the message from investors was clear.

"Keith is not the main issue. We don't know Keith. We know Green Acres. We bought the franchise because of Green Acres and Keith is just a manager, area manager. That's all," says one investor.

Dalziel has advised investors thats the Serious Fraud office is undertaking an investigation into the activities involving Lapham and Green Acres.

Meanwhile, Green Acres is in the process of sending letters to those claiming to be defrauded. In it, the company talks of having a moral, rather than legal obligation to do something, and is offering a rescue package which will be worked out at a later date.

Source: ONE News


Brought to you by WikidFranchise.org

Risks: Follow the money: franchising re-distributes (not creates) wealth, Fraud, Outright scam, Immigrants as prey, Sincerity, Excuse du jour, Incompetent or predatory: for the small business investor, the outcome is the same, Life savings gone, Franchisor's associate, Franchisee revolt, New Zealand, 20080107 Green Acres

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License