Piers Fuller / Tricks
Eugene DeMarco says he wants to appeal his fraud convictions again. (File photo)
The former employee of filmmaker Peter Jackson who was jailed for fraud has now been bankrupted.
Since Eugene John DeMarco was released from prison at the end of September 2020, he has lost a civil case for misrepresentation made while trying to sell his house overlooking Karaka Bay in Wellington.
He kept a deposit of $ 120,000 even though the couple buying the house for $ 1.2 million validly rescinded the deal when they learned the house had leaking issues, contrary to DeMarco’s claims. directly or through others.
DeMarco did not pay court compensation to the couple which, with costs, rose to $ 323,441 for the main matter and $ 6,811.50 for a preliminary matter.
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They have filed for bankruptcy and Associate Judge Kenneth Johnston made the order in a decision issued Wednesday evening by Wellington’s High Court.
An appeal was scheduled, DeMarco’s former lawyer told court.
DeMarco had wished the bankruptcy case to be delayed as he appealed the court ruling on which it was based.
The judge said that at this point there was no appeal, and if an appeal was filed it would encounter a “high hurdle”.
Creditors had waited long enough and shouldn’t have to wait to see if DeMarco could dispute the debts.
There was evidence that creditors could repay the money if the judgment was overturned on appeal.
While DeMarco has said he can pay his debts, he did not provide any supporting information, the judge said.
News that the bankruptcy decision was imminent threw a legal wrench into the proceedings of an ongoing hearing at Wellington’s High Court on Wednesday.
In the normal course of events, bankruptcy would also terminate any legal action to collect debts.
The hearing is scheduled to resume Friday to discuss the bankruptcy.
DeMarco faces a claim to recover at least $ 2 million that was allegedly lost by The Vintage Aviator where he was production manager, and a trust with the Jackson Trustees, his personal and business partner Dame Fran Walsh and their collaborator. Philippa Boyens.
They sued DeMarco and Old Stick and Rudder Company, of which DeMarco is registered as the sole shareholder. DeMarco was a pilot specializing in vintage aircraft.
Part of the claim was based on frauds for which DeMarco was convicted in a jury trial in 2019. The civil case was originally scheduled to be heard in July 2019, but was delayed while the criminal case continued. continued.
Jackson’s attorney for the parties, Bruce Scott, said on Wednesday that there was now a question of justice for victims and the civil case should not be delayed any further.
Other parts of the claim arose out of an investigation into the affairs of The Vintage Aviator after DeMarco left. This included a deal DeMarco was accused of making with a UK trust, which resulted in liability for the company of around $ 1 million.
It is also alleged that DeMarco sold parts that belonged to the company and kept the product.
DeMarco said he still owes The Vintage Aviator money.
A Wellington High Court judge has heard that DeMarco is trying to revive his appeal against the convictions.
The official assignee now controls the financial affairs of DeMarco.
While the action against DeMarco was on hold pending rulings from the official assignee and the court, Judge Christine Grice dismissed Old Stick & Rudder’s attempts to block the proceedings while earlier rulings against them made the subject of an appeal.
The Jackson case was due to be heard alongside the complaint of a former friend, Oliver Wulff, who said DeMarco had broken a US $ 500,000 deal on an old, value plane and shares in a company.
Jackson and Wulff are both avid aviation enthusiasts.
At Wednesday’s hearing, DeMarco’s attorney Seth Fraser said the ramifications of the civil lawsuits were huge for DeMarco because two rare and valuable World War II planes were potentially at stake.
Wulff claimed a Curtiss P-40E Kittyhawk, and Fraser said Jackson wanted to establish debt which, along with accrued interest, would give him control of a Corsair.
Together, the planes could be worth as much as $ 7 million, Fraser said.