Nathans director pleads guilty to Securities Commission charges
John Hotchin, a former director of Nathans Finance NZ Limited (in receivership) (‘Nathans’) has pleaded guilty to three
charges laid by the Securities Commission under section 58 of the Securities Act 1978.
The charges relate to statements made by Nathans in its registered prospectus and investment statement dated 13 December
2006. The Commission alleged that statements concerning Nathans’ lending to related parties, the quality of its loan
book, its loan management practices and its management of liquidity were untrue. It is also alleged that the directors
made untrue statements in a prospectus extension certificate in March 2007 to the effect that the company’s financial
position had not materially and adversely changed since its last balance date and had not become false or misleading.
Mr Hotchin was sentenced in the High Court today by Justice Lang to 11 months home detention, 200 hours community
service and payment of reparation of $200,000.
The Judge had indicated that the starting point sentence for these breaches of the securities laws was one of 3-4 years
imprisonment. In Mr Hotchin’s case, the Judge ruled the starting point was 3 years. His guilty plea, his genuine
remorse, his offer of reparation of $200,000 (and the fact this will lead to his bankruptcy) and his agreement to assist
the Crown in its prosecution of the matters remaining before the Court in relation to Nathans entitled him to a reduced
Commenting on the sentencing of Mr Hotchin, Commission Chairman, Jane Diplock, said, “The starting point of the
sentencing in these cases – a significant term of imprisonment - delivers a clear message to all issuers as to the
importance of the Securities Act’s requirements for full and truthful disclosure and the resulting impact on investors’
confidence in the securities market.”
“By setting that point at 3-4 years for these breaches, the High Court has effectively endorsed the sentencing approach
taken by the District Court in relation to Five Star directors Marcus Macdonald and Nicholas Kirk in December 2010.
“In common with regulators around the world, the Commission welcomes an early plea and co-operation in cases of this
For further information about the charges laid by the Commission in relation to Nathans see http://www.seccom.govt.nz/downloads/seccom-finance-co-before-court-feb11.pdf
Trial of the other directors is now scheduled to commence on 21 March 2011. The prosecution on behalf of the Crown will
be led by Mr Colin Carruthers QC.