SFO gets second scalp in Sutton case

Last updated 14:02 05/12/2012

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A former purchasing manager of dairy producer Sutton Group has pleaded guilty to theft and dishonesty charges and could face up to seven years in jail. 

Paul Normington pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court today to 17 Crimes Act and Secret Commission Act charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office.

These include six Crimes Act charges of dishonestly using a document, one Crimes Act charge of theft, one of accessing a computer for a dishonest purpose, and nine Secret Commissions Act charges of failing to disclose pecuniary interest in a contract while an agent.

While working for his former employer, the Sutton Group, Normington participated in a number of transactions to defraud the company either by creating false invoices, theft of product or by receiving secret commissions from a product supplier.

Normington also copied electronic files from the company server for his own benefit. 

He will be sentenced on March 14 along with his co-accused Jin Weifeng, who pleaded guilty last month to charges in relation to defrauding Sutton. 

The SFO said it began investigating the pair earlier this year and the charges nipped the alleged fraud in the bud and prevented any losses to Sutton.

Under the 1910 Secret Commissions Act, the maximum corporate fine is $2000 for the most serious kind of offending and $200 for bribes deemed less serious.

The Government is planning to toughen up penalties for bribery so the country can ratify the United Nations anti-corruption treaty.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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