Authorities are moving to shut down a company that claimed to be lending to people with poor credit history despite not being registered to provide financial services.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Hīkina Whakatutuki and the Te Komihana Tauhokohoko Trade Commission are investigating Qualifund Limited, which was set up by scammer David Lawrence Marsters.
The agencies had been informed by a member of the public that Marsters had created the company under the name David Harding and that neither Marsters nor Qualifund were on the financial service provider register of companies and persons authorized to provide financial services to the public.
Marsters was extradited from the United States in the early 2000s to face 48 charges of using a document with intent to defraud, for which he was jailed for three years.
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Stuff contacted Marsters, who declined to speak, but said via email that Qualifund would be closed by the end of next month.
Thursday, MBIE posted a notice which intended to cancel Qualifund from the Register of Companies.
Qualifund was formed in July by a person using the name David Alexander Harding, and is the sole director and shareholder, giving the Business Office an address in Papamoa Beach.
But after the MBIE’s protection and control unit began investigating in August, the person calling himself David Harding changed the CEO’s name to Lawrence Alexander David Branson Marsters, who was listed as a resident of the same. David Harding’s Papamoa Beach address.
It was then again changed to the hyphenated Lawrence Alexander David Branson-Marsters.
The Companies Act requires people who create companies to use their real names and addresses.
A spokesperson for MBIE said the Companies Registry initiated the process of removing Qualifund Ltd and H&D Developments and Investments Ltd on the grounds that the company director had intentionally provided inaccurate information.
The review of information regarding Lawrence Branston-Marsters was ongoing.
MBIE declined to comment on the status of the investigations while they were ongoing, the spokesperson said.
The complainant also informed the Financial Markets Authority, which has the power to remove companies from the register of financial service providers. This is designed to protect the public from bogus financial services companies.
An FMA spokesman said he had referred the complaint relating to Qualifund to the Commerce Commission which regulates credit agreements.
“In terms of any problems with the [Financial Services Providers’ Register], we will allow the Trade Commission investigations to run their course first, ”he said.
Qualifund said on its website that it offers “mortgage solutions where others normally can’t”.
He claimed to grant real estate, personal, commercial, or agribusiness loans, saying it could help people with poor credit history.
“Its founders brought 40 years of experience to the company to offer a revolutionary process of providing capital. Offering commercial lines of credit, large business term loans, same-day loans and more. Qualified collateralized loan solutions that work for kiwis, “the website boasted.
After the authorities initiated the investigation, all text and images were removed from the Qualifund website.
The Trade Commission spokeswoman said she was looking into the complaint.
Despite the cancellation of the website, Qualifund confirmed in a text message on 9 September that the telephone number indicated was theirs.
However, calls to the number went unanswered.
The masters contacted Stuff after the emails were sent to the Papamoa Beach homeowner and Williamson and Co, Marsters ‘Pukekohe accountant, whose Edinburgh St office was briefly listed as Marsters’ home address on the company for Qualifund.
“I don’t know you and I don’t want to talk to you. But qualifund doesn’t trade and it won’t. And the company will be taken from the companies [register] end of next month, ”Marters said in an email.
– An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Financial Markets Authority manages the register of financial service providers. Updated at 10:36 am on September 17, 2021.