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  • Fraudulent accountants Skinner and Rowley declared bankrupt

    Fraudulent Wellington accountants Barrie James Skinner and David Ingram Rowley have today been bankrupted. The pair were found guilty earlier this month on more than 100 charges of fraud, tax avoidance and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

    A scheme involving false invoices and a trail of "shell" entities was set up in September 2005, the invoices being for services which were never provided or, if they were, they were provided at a value much lower than that recorded on the invoice. "This scheme was sold to willing and, in many but not all cases, credulous clients of the accuseds' accounting and taxpayer practice as a means of reducing the amount of tax payable by them," Justice Steven Kos said in his July 20 ruling.
    Bank of New Zealand brought today's hearing at the Wellington High Court and lawyer Jamie Grant called for the pair to be bankrupted in both their personal capacities and as trustees of TPS Asset Trust and TPS Asset No 2 Trust. Associate Judge David Gendall bankrupted Rowley at 10.18am and Skinner at 10.31am, awarding costs to BNZ.

    Skinner was only served his bankruptcy notice on July 20 today's hearing came sooner than the 10 working days notification, as required by law. However, Mr Grant successfully argued for the time to be abridged.
    "The two defendents have acted together throughout so it's inconceivable Mr Skinner wouldn't have been aware of this. I was also contacted by his wife on Friday and she indicated she may be here today." She was not in court, and neither were Skinner or Rowley, who are in custody, awaiting sentence.

    Associate Judge Gendall was initially reluctant to bankrupt the pair as trustees. "If he's bankrupt, he's bankrupt, isn't he? There's no need to bankrupt him as a trustee. If he's bankrupt, then that's the end of it as far as I'm concerned." But after an adjournment, Judge Gendall went into more detail with Mr Grant.
    "On reflection, I see what you're attempting to do. You're effectively seeking an order for the trusts to be somehow wound up. Of course, they're not a legal entity."

    Skinner and Rowley are sole trustees of TPS Asset Trust and TPS Asset No 2 Trus
    Associate Judge Gendall adjourned the matter until tomorrow morning for further consideration
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