Who is Graham Edward McCready, 68, the retired accountant of Miramar Wellington, who was banned on 8 March 2013 for five years from being a company director under Section 382(1) of the Companies Act 1993? The Society (“SPCS) applauds this banning order, noting that McCready unlawfully became a director on 12 February 2013 at a time when he had had a conviction for dishonesty (tax fraud) within the last five years. More recently he has been convicted on bribery (see below). If a person is convicted of breaching the banning order imposed under s. 382(1) he is liable under s. 373(4) of the Companies Act 1993, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to a fine not exceeding $200,000. McCready ceased being a company director on 2 May 2013.
McCready has been pursuing a private prosecution against ACT leader John Banks under the Local Electoral Act, for (allegedly) knowingly filing a false electoral return involving donation disclosures after his failed bid for Auckland super city mayoralty. A conviction for knowingly filing a false return carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison or a fine of $10,000.
McCready earned a public profile when he took a successful private prosecution against Hutt South Labour MP and former Cabinet Minister, Hon. Trevor Mallard in 2009, accusing him of assault over an altercation with National’ MP Tau Henare in the lobby of Parliament. The case against Mr Mallard ended when McCready accepted a guilty plea to a less serious charge of fighting in a public place. He was convicted and ordered to pay $500 to the Salvation Army drug and alcohol programme. .
McCready has been on a benefit since 1995 when, as a clerk at Wellington City Council, he developed chronic occupational overuse syndrome.
In 2006 McCready was sentenced to 75 hours’ community service for trading while bankrupt.
In April 2008 McCready appeared in the Wellington District Court on 51 tax-related fraud charges involving various clubs and body corporates he had been acting for. He was sentenced in the Wellington District Court by Judge Behrens on 27 February 2009 to six months home detention after earlier pleading guilty to 12 charges of filing false income and GST returns and filing a false income tax return to evade payment: tax fraud involving $183, 155.
Inland Revenue Acting Group Manager, Assurance, Graham Tubb, said McCready abused his position and betrayed the trust of his clients.
“McCready deliberately set out to try to cheat the system for his own personal gain. Both Inland Revenue and the courts both take a very dim view of this sort of action.”
“Our tax system relies on the honesty of the many professionals working in it, and both Inland Revenue and the public expect them to help uphold its integrity,” said Mr Tubb.
In 2010 McCready threatened to expose claims that a company director was guilty of financial impropriety and was mentally ill. He was charged with threatening to expose a defamatory libellous document with intent to cause a man to act in accordance with his will on July 5 in 2010. McCready claimed he was acting in the best interests of minority shareholders, and would keep quiet if the man surrendered his company position and signed over his majority shareholding to McCready. The problems McCready caused cost the company about $80,000 and had a devastating impact on the accused director whose name and company was suppressed by the court.
McCready was charged with blackmail and pleaded guilty on the day his trial was to have started. He was sentenced on 8 March 2013 in the High Court in Wellington to community detention – he must be at his home in the Wellington suburb of Miramar between 7 pm and 7 am for the next six months. For the sentencing, McCready wrote the victim a four-sentence apology saying he had no excuse for what he did. “My conduct was criminal, unnecessary, and I am sure caused you some considerable distress.”
On 12 March 2013, four days after being sentenced for blackmail, and just over three years after being convicted as a tax fraudster, he incorporated and became sole director and shareholder of New Zealand Private Prosecution Service Ltd (Co. No. 4284878) – a company intended to be a consumer watchdog. He resigned as director on 2 May 2013 after having appointed Richard John Creser as a new sole director (A record of Creser taking up 10% of the company shares was recorded on line by McCready on 21 March 2013).
McCready currently retains 90% of the company and he became a director illegally when he signed a Director Consent Form on 12 March 2013 and submitted it to the Registrar of Companies. “Disqualification details” on that form state clearly that “people who have been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty in the last five years or who have been prohibited from managing a company by the Registrar of Companies” cannot hold the position of company director.
Under the Crimes Act 1961, fraud and blackmail are both considered dishonesty offences, punishable by lengthy terms of imprisonment.
The Companies Office has choosen to impose a maximum ban of five years on McCready from holding the position of company director or being involved in any aspect of company management. The Companies Office has the option of applying the full force of the law on McCready, who could be liable to a maximum term of imprisonment of five years or a fine of up to $200,000 for his serial, if he breaches his banning order. Those banned from being directors by the Registrar of Companies under s. 385 of the Companies Act 1993, potentially face the same punishment if convicted of breaching any banning order [see ss. 385 and 374(4)].
As noted McCready stepped down as sole director of NZ Private Prosecution Service Ltd on 2 May 2013, presumably in part as a result of the media taking an active interest in his current business activities. He has had to accept that he has been knowingly operating his company in breach of Companies Office rules.
Following the removal of McCready and the change of director, the company continues today to operate from the same registered office used when McCready was director: 9b Miramar North Road, Wellington 6022. The same address is listed as the residential address of the company’s major shareholder – Mr Graham Edward McCready.
The new director Richard John Creser provides his address as 4 Rothwell Street, Titahi Bay, Porirua, 5022 , New Zealand, for his share records and on his director’s consent form dated 12 March 2012.
Is this a case of McCready retaining a controlling management role in a company that he illegally set up and now retains a controlling 90% share holding in? Has his private prosecution against Mr Banks been made by NZ Private Prosecution Service Ltd, the company he has financial interests in, so that he can avoid or minimise paying costs awarded against him should her lose the court case?
Companies Office records do not record McCready as a banned director. Why not? If his convictions do not warrant a ban then why has he been able to become a company director despite having been convicted of dishonesty and bribery.
Even if Graham Edward McCready is given a lifetime ban from being a company director, it would appear there is nothing to stop him holding down a grandiose position as “consultant” to the company, retaining a controlling influence in it via private shareholding or shareholding held by a “family trust” or a trustee company of a “family trust” (the latter – one or both being run by his siblings or close friends).
On 24 February 2013 The Herald on Sunday reported that McCready had filed papers in court in a private prosecution against John Banks and Don Brash, alleging the pair were liable for the false statements in the prospectus material of Huljich Wealth Management (New Zealand) Ltd [HWMNZ] which Banks and Brash, alongside Peter Karl Christopher Huljich, helped to found in 2007.
Charges had earlier been successfully brought against Huljich, the company funds manager, by the Financial Marketing Authority (FMA) and he had pleaded guilty in 2011 of misleading investors by misrepresenting the performance of the company’s KiwiSaver scheme in offer documents between May 2008 and January 2010. He was convicted under the Securities Act and fined $112,500.
McCready believes that the FMA should have filed charges against Banks and Brash because both had been directors of HWMNZ over the period of the offending and had both signed the prospectuses that contained the acknowledged falsehoods. Brash was a director from 15/06/07 to 13/10/10 and John Banks from 15/06/07 to 29/09/11.
“Battler” Graham McCready has certainly been “a thorn in the side of authority” !
Battler a thorn in side of authority. By Julie Jacobson. 23/12/07
Wellington accountant sentenced on tax fraud charges. 27 February 2009
Blackmailing ‘crusader’ staying home at night. Fsairfax NZ News. 9 March 2013
Court date for Banks. By Matthew Backhouse. 11 November 2012.
Man charged with blackmail. 28 March 2012. Fairfax NZ News.
Battler a thorn in side of authority. By Julie Jacobson. 23 December 2007.
Insolvency Watch. 27 February 2009.
Tax allegation [made by Graham McCready] against Whitireia students association acting president.
Kapi-Mana News. 5 october 2010.
Banks, Brash in private funds probe. Sunday 24 February 2013. AAP.
Banks faces legal threat. Sunday 24 February 2013