In another New Zealand Herald article by Lincoln Tan (Victims of scam want Government help) the aggrieved former franchisees:
About 100 franchisees are seeking financial assistance to help them bring Green Acres to court – which is estimated to cost about $140,000 – after Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel said at a meeting on Sunday that it had “declined all the demands for compensation” and claimed Keith Lapham was an independent business owner, and not one of its employees.
There was no immediate indication that aid would be forthcoming although the Minister meeting with the former franchisees is a good sign.
Ms Dalziel said the Serious Fraud Office, which is investigating the case, would be completing its investigations soon, and a decision on whether to press charges was about two weeks away.
These actions also involve a request to the lender to void their loan obligations:
Lawyers for the defrauded franchisees issued a letter of demand to Green Acres asking for the return of the money paid to Mr Lapham, and for loans for the purchases of the bogus businesses made through the company’s financing arm, FBL Finance, to be nullified.
Mr. Tyrone Pilacan, an immigrant from the Philippines, is quoted as saying he had recently lost his job and was struggling to meet the $800 monthly repayment to the bank.