A Waikato businessman who defrauded software investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars has pleaded guilty to nine charges.
Brian Jeffrey Duffell, 54, of Matamata, appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Monday, where he pleaded guilty to six charges of obtaining by deception and three charges of theft by a person in a special relationship.
He had been due to begin a three-week jury trial on Wednesday.
Duffell’s offending involved seven victims.
He had earlier been facing 36 charges relating to his company, Silicon Rainbow Ltd, which was used to help market and promote his internet marketing seminars around New Zealand and Australia.
The offending relating to those charges was alleged to have occurred between October 1, 2011, and January 31, 2014, and totalled about $420,000.
It is not yet known whether the overall sum disputed has been significantly reduced. An agreed summary of facts based on the charges he has pleaded guilty to is yet to be filed with the courts.
He was convicted and remanded on bail by Judge Kim Saunders to next appear for sentencing on July 21.
He will be discharged on the remaining charges on that date, Crown prosecutor Jacinda Foster said.
Despite being listed in Hamilton District Court documents as a spray painter, it is in a stated role as a software developer that Duffell was facing charges. One of the programmes he developed has been described as an office solution system.
Duffell would offer his products in a way that meant the buyer would have rights to market them exclusively in a certain area of New Zealand, akin to a franchise.
Duffell is the sole director of Silicon, which is based at his Waikato home and his wife is also a shareholder.
Police started to receive complaints in 2013 from people claiming they had paid money to Duffell for the alleged “exclusive rights” but soon discovered otherwise. The alleged offending is based on seven complainants stating the rights were not exclusive as the product had been sold under a different name to another party.
They also complained that he made false representations about the product, and that the product did not have all the features that were claimed.