A 79-year-old Auckland lawn bowls employee has been sentenced to six months' community detention after swindling more than $600,000 from community grants to pay off loans used to buy pubs.
Noel Henry Gibbons was sentenced in Manukau District Court on Friday for obtaining the money by deception and using forged documents.
Between 2006 and 2009 Gibbons applied for 150 grants amounting to more than $800,000 from four gaming machine societies on behalf of his employer Counties Manukau Bowls (CMB), an umbrella organisation for south Auckland bowling clubs.
A Department of Internal Affairs investigation found $605,550 worth of those grants were fraudulently obtained.
Gibbons had said the money would be used for bowling green maintenance. He then fabricated various quotes and invoices from contractors who later told investigators that they had never carried out the work.
The department, in a statement, said Gibbons used the money to pay off loans which had been taken out to purchase pubs for CMB.
"This money should have been distributed to local community purposes as grants," the statement read.
"Paying off loans is a commercial and illegal use of funding generated from pokie machines."
During sentencing Judge Charles Blackie described Gibbons' actions as a very elaborate scam and said he had taken the funding away from organisations in need.Judge Blackie adopted a starting sentence of two years and six months jail but imposed the lesser sentence because Gibbons pleaded guilty, was elderly and in poor health.
Copyright © 2013 Yahoo! New Zealand
All rights reserved.
Select your region to see news and weather for your area.