Wickedness in Christchurch: Legal Threats – Money Laundering – Boss steals $120,000

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A lawyer has accused OneUnion of blackmailing and defaming a couple after we filed a claim alleging, they stole $120,000 from a worker. Their lawyer claims it’s a crime that a union would expose an exploiter and have the temerity to demand the boss give the money back. The lawyer says they will make a police complaint of extortion if we don’t back down. Crikey! I wonder if they have ever heard of a union strike. They’d probably want the army called out. I’d love to respond to a police complaint online. That would be a great help to publicise our case. 

Every exploiter and their lawyers want to keep their crimes out of public view. Keeping exploitation in the darkness allows this poison to spread. OneUnion decided a week ago that we will publish any case where we are representing a worker that we believe is being seriously exploited or abused. Our protocols are simple. We formally write to the alleged exploiter and engage in establishing the case facts, according to each side. If they refuse to engage or attend mediation if requested, we reserve the right to publish. We send them my article the day before we publish to allow them time to correct anything. 

It seems exploiters and alleged exploiters don’t like our new policy of openness. This couple’s lawyer sent us an email threatening that if we published this article, he would sue me personally, and OneUnion, for defamation. Good luck. I will keep telling the truth until they stop lying. Apparently, telling the truth is something to be sued for. My union would see being sued by an exploiter for exposing them as a badge of honour. I certainly would. The only way we will get a change in our country is everyone knowing who these exploiters and abusers are. I intend to expose these abusers every time, all the time. 

Only when the community knows the level of rampant exploitation that goes on, can we get the political will and the tools to end it. I hope this lawyer and his clients do sue. We will then get the opportunity to provide the details of migrant exploitation in the full public glare of the media. 

This is the case the lawyer wanted me to suppress. Jaya Bharath Reddy Gopu and Divya Bereddy are an up and coming power couple in Christchurch. A couple of months ago I got a call from a lawyer friend from Wellington, saying he had a young man claiming he was being threatened by this couple. I’ll call him ER. My mate the lawyer sent me the case file and cheerfully said to my colleague: “This isn’t a case for a lawyer, it’s more a case for Matt.” Thanks mate.

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ER had received an email that accused him of telling lies to his immigration case manager and saying he had been bad-mouthing the couple around town. ER was required to attend a disciplinary meeting immediately and they threatened “we will be going legally on these issues and will be reported to concern authorities.” It was signed “management”. Unnamed emails always make me suspicious.  

ER was on a temporary visa and was terrified. My colleague contacted the boss and said OneUnion would have someone attend the meeting as his support person. The meeting was abruptly cancelled.

When I got ER’s file, I knew why I got the hospital pass. ER had left the job three months earlier. It seems ER had applied for permanent residency and the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) case manager was concerned that he wasn’t been paid correctly and had not been provided payslips. I understand when the case manager made enquiries to the employer, the couple withdrew their support for ER’s current visa. This meant ER promptly lost his job. The ‘management’ email alleged he had lied about the couple to INZ. They also claimed he’d stolen from them. The truth is, he had been telling INZ the truth, and that’s why they started digging. The allegations of dishonesty against the young man are easily dismissed. It was clear the employer wanted to shut him up, and if that didn’t work, they wanted him discredited.  

After going through ER’s bank statements, texts, emails and recordings, it was clear this couple were running an exploitation racket across their companies. ER was only paid a total of four weeks holiday leave over his four years’ tenure. They owe him for 11 more weeks. Interestingly, they closed their businesses for a week each year, and stood their workers down. None of them, I understand, were paid their holiday entitlements. What I just don’t understand is how any employer could do this to their workers. 

ER says he was required to work 55-60 hours a week. He has evidence for working these hours. ER was paid for only 30 hours a week. This meant he was required to work 25-30 hours for free each week. Using 25 hours as a calculation, he is owed $113,000 with another $21,000 for annual leave and public holidays. I’m told other employees were required to work for free and weren’t paid annual holidays or public holidays either. If this is true, the couple may have stolen over a million dollars from their workers. 

When I hear about exploitation cases I always offer the abuser a chance to make it right before we roll up our sleeves and get to work. Without exception, their greed and arrogance win over their common sense. I wrote to the couple giving them the opportunity to do the right thing. 

When we first raise a worker’s grievance, we instruct the employer they are not permitted to contact our client. The usual tactic from exploiters is to have a middleman approach the worker and try to get them to accept a paltry offer, aided by veiled threats of getting them deported. Sometimes the worker’s family back in their home countries are approached and menaced.  

Sure enough, an intermediatory known to both the couple and ER approached him shortly after my letter was sent. The conduit proposed the couple would pay him up to $40,000 through an overseas account. ER wanted it to be settled through the union. The person said the couple didn’t want to do that because then they would have to admit their guilt. A secret compromise was suggested where the couple could admit to a minor breach and pay a smaller settlement through mediation.  That way the union could be placated. The remaining could be deposited offshore. I have dealings with the police squad that deals with this sort of money laundering. They say it’s becoming disturbingly common.  

After ER turned down the offer, the intermediatory said that if ER didn’t accept the deal, the couple had a very powerful lawyer who would win for them. Their lawyer, true to his word, is playing hardball. He denies everything, alleges crimes, won’t engage or won’t agree to go to mediation. I have been told current employees have been coached to verify their employer’s version and compelled to sign statements prepared for them, claiming ER only worked for 30 hours a week. 

It is clear to me this couple is running a calculated exploitation racket. We have formally complained to INZ, the MBIE Labour Inspectorate and the IRD Investigation team, and have asked them to investigate this couple and their companies. We have also filed into the Employment Relations Authority.

We want to create an UTU Squad in Christchurch. UTU are volunteers publicly exposing exploitation and abuse of vulnerable workers. If you want to be part of the fightback contact us on email at justice@oneunion.org.nz

We are compiling a dossier for INZ, MBIE and IRD. Please send any information on Jaya Bharath Reddy Gopu or his wife Divya Bereddy. Their companies are Maria Anthony Reading Limited (3 businesses), Fly Cheap Travel Agency and Crazy Discounters, based at 189 Colombo Street, Sydenham.

We have our campaign bus ready for action to support our campaign to end exploitation in Aotearoa. We would appreciate you making a small koha to help get us on the road. Please go to here.

In solidarity / Nga mihi

 

Matt McCarten is the National Director of One Union and a Trustee of UTU For The People.

37 COMMENTS

  1. …”What I just don’t understand is how any employer could do this to their workers”…

    ———————————–

    I can , Matt, I can.

    Keep it coming.

    36 years of neo liberalism and rampant, unchecked immigration by Joknky’s National party wanting cheap labour to put downwards pressure on wages fulfilling Ruth Richardson’s Employment Contract Act 1991 via the NZ Initiative / Mont Pelerin society inspired directives is why , Matt.

    And this is what you get , – criminals.

    • Agree CHCH has a few of these abusers . The last ones were Liquor Barons and are building a $6 million dollar home . They should be on the first place e back to their home country

  2. Kia Ora Comrades,
    It’s important we don’t focus overly on race. It’s about greedy capitalists exploiting vulnerable workers.
    We must step up as working class activists and step into the fight. These exploiters use every legal step to frustrate justice.
    If you can’t give us couple bucks in for our UTU truck, think about giving a little time to be part of our cyber campaign team to hunt down and expose exploiters online. It will be effective in making a difference to those workers who are the most vulnerable. Time for the left to walk our talk.
    Our team is travelling to Tokoroa on Friday. Locals are keen to set an UTU squad and campaign against an identified exploiter in their town. Anyone up to building a local UTU team? Email justice@utu.org.nz.
    Nga mihi. Matt

    • …’ It’s important we don’t focus overly on race. It’s about greedy capitalists exploiting vulnerable workers ‘…
      ————————-

      Indeed. This is by extrapolation a global fight. But the difference is these criminals have come into our country and are , by and large, exploiting in an incredibly vicious way their own nationals who are in turn, immigrants. It seems several govt agencies should be onto these criminals like a ton of bricks. Now the veil of fear is lifted, more are speaking out and rightly so. Focus on the individual criminals , not the race is the story.

      Keep it coming, Matt.

    • I know this guy. I went to his shop to buy tickets, I heard he made a lot of money selling tickets to Filipinos and via money transfer. He recently changed the Crazy Discounter shop name to Pinoy Asian Mart and opened a new Curry House store as well. I bet it’s from Covid money. I hope IRD catches him and investigates him properly, the last I heard he was partnering with few others to open a big store somewhere in Christchurch. He targets the Filipino community as he has three shops in Christchurch. Asian Pinoy in linwood, crazy Discounter in Avon head, he sold the riccarton one. He also had cleaning businesses in the past. He has a lot of contacts though, I hope he doesn’t get away.

  3. Too much of this crap goes on all the time. I see their registered office, 4/189 Colombo Street, Sydenham, Christchurch, is a flat I think not far from where I live, I shall check it out.

    Crazy Discounter seems to be one of their businesses 376 Worcester Street, I’ll have a look at that tomorrow.

    Silly getting lawyers to write letters. They need to be investigated thoroughly and cough up big time!

    I hope the Christchurch Press knows about this. They recently uncovered one of the booze outfits here that has cheated immigrants big time also.

    • He used to live there and sell tickets from home which is illegal as well. I met him in the past. He changed the Linwood store name to Asian Pinoy mart and opened a new restaurant next to it called Curry House bro.

    • He used to live there and sell tickets from home which is illegal as well. I met him in the past. He changed the Linwood store name to Asian Pinoy mart and opened a new restaurant next to it called Curry House bro.

  4. Kia Ora Comrades,
    It’s important we don’t focus overly on race. It’s about greedy capitalists exploiting vulnerable workers.
    We must step up as working class activists and step into the fight. These exploiters use every legal step to frustrate justice.
    If you can’t give us couple bucks in for our UTU truck, think about giving a little time to be part of our cyber campaign team to hunt down and expose exploiters online. It will be effective in making a difference to those workers who are the most vulnerable. Time for the left to walk our talk.
    Our team is travelling to Tokoroa on Friday. Locals are keen to set an UTU squad and campaign against an identified exploiter in their town. Anyone up to building a local UTU team? Email justice@utu.org.nz.
    Nga mihi. Matt

    • “It’s important we don’t focus overly on race.” Yes. Exploitation is a class issue, perhaps in this particular case a caste issue. It was commented to me yesterday that racism is being used to fight alleged racism in New Zealand, which exacerbates and sometimes inflames issues, including where the basic premise may be other. It has become another tool for keeping society divided.

  5. MBIE may need to be pushed. My colleague phoned the CE directly, in desperation; that helped. We were not a union, but ex-employees, I the ex-manager.

    A problem with going to mediation, is having to sign a confidentiality agreement which protects the crooks.
    Our adversary agreed to mediation as a last minute tactic.

    As manager seeing what was happening, I found the situation almost intolerable, but had to get out and find another job first before I could act – was summarily dismissed and escorted off the premises, my bag bulging with its last load of purloined docs; the Labour Dept inspector said I was protected by whistleblower legislation, but I’m not so sure about that either.

    All exploitation is sub-human but how anyone can treat their own countrymen this way is incomprehensible.
    RosieLee and Trevor are right, the NZ Govt should be making it crystal clear that immigrants to this country must abide by its law, and they seem a bit slack here. Who wants New Zealand gaining the reputation as a soft touch for rich people ripping off the poor ? What’s going on here ?

    Keep up the good work.

  6. All we can say is, “Keep up the good work,” Matt.

    We are surrounded by criminals, and officialdom either is so overloaded nothing happens or doesn’t care.

  7. It is a matter of enforcement.
    You can make all the laws, regulations and rules that you like but if you haven’t got the resources to enforce them they are toothless.
    By resources I mean police, investigation officers, court officials and government inspectors.
    We don’t have enough of them: the shysters and rip-off artists have a field day here because their chances of getting caught and paying for their crimes are so low.
    People like them don’t believe for one minute that they are actually doing anything wrong – to them it is simply the power of the employer over the employee, which is what happens in their home countries and so they think it should apply anywhere.
    One Union is a big threat to them so they will try legal bluffs to scare their opposition into submission.

  8. And although humorous, – this song by the Strawbs actually demonstrates the REAL ANSWER to these criminals and ensuring they don’t flourish here. Something to which would give Ruth Richardson the shits and Roger Douglas a heart attack,- and every other neo liberal grifter since !

    ENJOY WORKING PEOPLE OF NZ !

    HERE’S ONE FOR YOU !!!

    Strawbs – Part of the union 1973
    https://youtu.be/KdOCWUgwiWs?t=9

  9. I know this guy. He started off with getting caught in Blenheim for insurance fraud in 2009. See link below. https://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/3051579/Pair-detained-after-18-local-burglaries
    Then he did well in cleaning businesses, then opened the Linwood Crazy Discounter store now he changed the name to Pinoy Asian Mart like a month ago. He also had Riccarton store but now it’s sold to someone else. He still owns the Avon head store. However, the last I heard was he made a lot of money selling tickets and he targets the Filipino community and money transactions. He now lives in Rolleston in a big house, has an SUV as well. He is also planning to partner up with few others and launch a big store in Christchurch, I bet it’s all Covid money. I really hope IRd catches them but he has lots of contacts, he might get away with a petty fine.

    • T – One way to ensure that the IRD knows, is to tell them. They have a confidential telephone number, and I believe that it is confidential and safe – according to a relative in their Adjudication and Litigation Dept.

      Ditto the Press- MSM are always begging for news tips. However, the media may use information for their own purposes; I was lucky to have media training – some will put their own words into your mouth if they can.

    • There are so many incredible, honest people who could come and make NZ home, as well as willing and honest workers in NZ desperate for a chance, and honest employers being outcompeted by scumbags, why do our immigration laws seem to want more and more exploiters to come to NZ and victimise others?

      They come to NZ and commit crimes, but they are never deported.

      Now NZ has now become synonymous to become rich on the Ponzi’s of immigration and importing in cheap labour and ripping others off both locally and from around the world.

      Dishonest business owners also drive other business owners into bankruptcy who are paying their employee’s and taxes correctly.

      At least this is hopefully a start of unions trying to stop this issue by highlighting more of the employers doing this type of behaviour.

      But after 15 years of importing in exploiters to profit from life in NZ with the local exploiter employers also enjoying the endless stream and competition of new workers … it’s getting to be a the norm here to exploit others.

      Meanwhile more and more people are choosing not to work and join gangs, be unemployed and not upskills. Why bother when working in NZ is not fair and not a level playing field?

  10. I know this guy. I met him a couple of times and purchased tickets. He started off his life in NZ getting caught in Blenheim for insurance fraud in 2009. See link below. https://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/3051579/Pair-detained-after-18-local-burglaries
    Then he did well in cleaning businesses, then opened the Linwood Crazy Discounter store now he changed the name to Pinoy Asian Mart like a month ago, must be cause of this? He has seen it coming cause he is very smart. He also had Riccarton store but now it’s sold to someone else. He still owns the Avonhead store. However, the last I heard was he made a lot of money selling tickets and he targets the Filipino community and money transactions. He has a tiny shop in the side street next to the mall as well, I saw him a few times there. I think he is also a partner to some big Indian restaurant on Colombo, Bikanerwala. However not sure if he is still a partners He lives in Rolleston in a big house, has an SUV as well. He is also planning to partner up with few others and launch a big store in Christchurch, I bet it’s all Covid money. I really hope Ird catches them but he has lots of contacts, he might get away with a petty fine.

  11. Thanks T and Michal. Good info. I’m hoping as more articles I write about exploitation more people like you will let us know more about the individual exploiters. I’ll share your ‘gems’ with their lawyer today so he can choke on his gin. These exploiters always have form. We are all sick of these people.

    Mike the Lefty. It isn’t all bluff. A group of businessman in Auckland set up to counter as and protect their member criminals. They have been active smearing us in various community. They set someone helping migrant workers, they thought worked with us. He lost his job because of false accusations. Someone claims to have been paid $150,000 by them to infiltrate us and find any incriminating information. I will write an article about this as more information comes to light. But they don’t need to that. I will tell them anything they want to know.

    Our mission is not a secret locked in our office. here it is: Hunt down exploiters. File legal cases against them. Expose them in public. Get justice for the workers. Warn them they had better not do it again. Get the government agencies to lift their game.. There… I’ve saved them $150,000.

  12. A lawyer friend of mine who has just started work in a law firm told me lawyers have to be careful about making these sorts of threats because that in itself is blackmail or extortion and they could face disciplinary proceedings by the law society.

    Matt McCarten is right though – it is not just about race. What about the company in Auckland run by a white NZer (sorry, no better way to describe him) which received the wage subsidy but paid its workers a total of only 50% of their actual wages during the lock-down. Employers had to pay their workers at least 80% of their wages. When I asked my friend whose partner works there why the employees haven’t complained she said that the MSD web-site for complaints requires you to identify yourself, which means your employer finds out which means you lose your job immediately.

  13. Yes of course I agree with this – It’s important we don’t focus overly on race. It’s about greedy capitalists exploiting vulnerable workers.

    But immigrants need to know when they come here that this sort of shit will not be tolerated in our society and they will be taken to the cleaners if they try it on. I remember the liquor outlet one and the couple that owned it building house that was costing millions in Otautahi, able to do this on the backs of their underpaid workers.

    Those with visas tied to an employer are particularly vulnerable.

  14. I popped into the Pinoy Asian Mart on the opposite corner to the beautiful Linwood community art gallery and community centre that used to be their library on cnr Worcester & Stanmore Rd. The store which also does ‘travel’ and ‘overseas monetary transactions’ is not big but the side of this new building has endless advertising for the store and for the curry house which opens at 4pm in the afternoon. There is a vaping shop a pharmacy and a couple of other stores and then the curry house. I went inside the store and asked the woman whether she was one of the owners she said no she just worked there.

    This is a relatively poor community with lots of rentals.

  15. Update I wrote to the lawyer today to let me know if/when they were making a complaint to the police i could post a response to the police online. Alas no answer.
    We are getting a number contacts from Christchurch with more information on the couple. We confirmed today that IRD, INZ and MBIE all have received our complaints.
    Michal- can you send us photo of the business to justice@oneunion.org.nz? We are getting offers to form an UTU squad in Chch so if anyone wants to be involved, email us too.

    • I been to shop and ask the workers last night , this couple don’t own pinoy asian mart and curry house they have the new owners for those shops.
      It looks like its completely new shop.

      • I think they must have sold it and cashed the money recently then as soon as he knew he would be in trouble. He has multiple facebook accounts with different names, he still promotes the Asian Pinoy store & Curry House using his facebook flycheap account. He has blocked his original facebook though, same with his wifes FB account. I’m surprised this article isn’t trending on facebook, it should be shared on the Indian and Filipino groups. I’m sure more people will come out with new information as soon as it passes through the Indian and Filipino communities. He is a well known figure in the community and quite powerful too. Maybe people are a bit scared to share on social media due to this reason. It should go on stuff news as well as it will have more visibility so that people will talk about him.

    • Yes will get a photo in the next couple of days. Good to hear all of those different government departments have received complaints. The Press here are aware of the situation – I sent my contact this article.

      This is their number 022630 3962 according to the company file for Maria Anthony Ltd.
      As at 5 September they were still using 4/189 Colombo Street as the company address.

      Ray are you sure, I wouldn’t trust someone in the shop to tell the truth necessarily.

      Need more information on what the ‘big’ thing they are planning with other crooks no doubt?

  16. The impression I get is that there is no policing happening here. If workers were ripping off employers in the sums the exploiters do, the police would shut them down quick as blinking. It’s important to challenge the double standard.

    Another thing is that the Treasury led advice, that immigration is the Pollyanna of socioeconomic phenomena, i.e. never bad, also needs to be challenged. They’ve been using it to fake good accounts instead of guarding NZ’s best interests, and it is costing us dearly.

  17. The Pinoy Asian mart is supposed to have a website but I can’t find it.
    This is their facebook page which has a video of the store.
    https://www.facebook.com/pinoyasian
    They also advertise – Ria money transfer

    The curry house has no info to help us out
    https://www.curryhouse.co.nz/

    This company was registered with them as directors this year
    https://www.nzwao.com/companies/rrr-foods-limited/

    JMJ trading registered last year – both of them directors
    Travel Circle Ltd registered in 2016 – both of them directors
    .
    * Jaya Bharath Reddy Gopu, appeared in the Blenheim District Court yesterday and admitted charges of causing loss by deception and making a false statement.
    Gopu had bought the car off Trade Me on August 23, said Mr Frost. He insured it for an extortionate sum the next day then made a claim in September after disposing of the vehicle and reporting it stolen.
    On September 22 the insurance company paid Gopu $13,700.
    Spoken to later by police, he admitted purchasing the car with the intention of defrauding an insurance company. Gopu was convicted and remanded until December 21 for pre-sentence and reparation reports.

    • yes michal thats not belong to them i spoken to few others aswell they dont own the shops
      these people use to own the crazydiscounter, but now not anymore.

      i heard that there is other shop around the corner called SPICE HEAVEN/Asian Pinoy on the stanmore road, he pay only $10 an hour cash jobs to the students , i guy us eto work before told me that he use to work for 60 hours a week but he got paid only $500 fixed pay, looks like this SPICE HEAVEN is worst than these people matt u need to look in to this.

    • michal yes I confirmed with few other people aswell they are not the current owners and they don’t own business at present.

      I heard that there is other shop around the corner called SPICE HEAVEN/ASIAN PINOY on stanmore road, he pay only $10 an hour cash, few months back there is guy work there for 60 hours a week for $500 just to keep up the work visa, Matt u need to report on that aswell…

    • Accounts used to advertise his businesses:
      Flight Ticketing – https://www.facebook.com/jayabr.gopu, https://www.facebook.com/FLYCHEAP.JAY
      Curry House – https://www.facebook.com/bharathgnz
      Pinoy Asian – https://www.facebook.com/jayabr.gopu, https://www.facebook.com/pinoyasian
      Pinoy Asian put up a FB post about an hour ago saying its under new management. So, I think they sold all the older businesses to get themselves out of trouble and fund his next project.
      This RRR Foods limited is new information. Divya Be Reddy is the shareholder along with two new parties but Jaya Gopu might be running this operation in the background. Did some digging and the news is that they are planning to lease the previous Super Value building in front of the abandoned video easy building in the same area (Linwood) and that’s where the new “big business” is planned under RRR foods limited along with two new parties. However, unsure if the lease is signed or not with the owner of the building, relevant lawyers might have to get in touch with people who have the authority to check the records and confirm this information.

  18. Great News.

    I fully Support Mr ER and it is exactly what has happened and there is no false news above.

    From the comment:

    “He is a well known figure in the community and quite powerful too”

    He Might be well known but he’s not a President for a Country or a PM.

    MBIE should really look into this and investigate am sure there are lot of workers got the same treatment by working for him.

    Things are moving fast and looks like they are dropping off as directors from the company’s

    https://app.companiesoffice.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/8025567/documents
    https://app.companiesoffice.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/individual/search?q=bereddy&roleType=ALL&indEntityTypes=ALL&indDirStatus=ALL&indEntityStatusGroups=ALL&indShrStatus=ALL&advancedPanel=true&mode=advanced&expandedResults=#results

    https://app.companiesoffice.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/individual/search?q=Jaya+Bharath+Reddy&roleType=ALL&indEntityTypes=ALL&indDirStatus=ALL&indEntityStatusGroups=ALL&indShrStatus=ALL&advancedPanel=true&mode=advanced&expandedResults=#results

    Above are the full list of company’s they own/share hold with, and BIKANERVALA CHRISTCHURCH is one of them.

  19. Fantastic feedback everyone. I read the comments each day so appreciate your efforts.The local info is amazing and so helpful. I have cut and pasted the relevant parts and emailed to the exploiter and their lawyer. No response. Unsurprising. But keeping the accountability. Special thanks to T, Ray, Michal.
    Kia Kaha.

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