Kara Hurring guilty in accidental millionaire case

Last updated 15:00 18/05/2012
Kara Hurring after verdict
peter graney
'RELIEVED': Kara Hurring outside the Rotorua District Court after the verdict.

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Kara Hurring has been found guilty of 30 charges relating to an overdraft error which saw $10 million accidentally deposited into her partner's account by Westpac.

A jury this morning found her guilty in the Rotorua District Court.

Hurring had pleaded not guilty to charges of theft, dishonestly using a bank card and money laundering after the money was mistakenly transferred into her former partner, Leo Gao's, business account overdraft in April 2009.

Outside the court she said she was relieved, despite the guilty verdicts.

"Relieved, just relieved," Hurring said standing beside her lawyer Simon Lance.

"I can't wait to see my kids that's all I can say."

Hurring has two children - an 18-month-old son born in China while she was on the run for 22 months and an eight year old daughter who is being looked after in Blenheim.

The boy's father is co-accused Gao. He is on electronic bail in Auckland awaiting trial.

Hurring would not elaborate on why she felt relieved.

As the guilty verdicts were being read in court she looked slumped and tired, her face full of emotion, close to tears.

Outside court she was more confident, sometimes smiling as Mr Lance answered questions from the media.

She made no further comment as she walked along the street with Mr Lance to his chambers, followed by media.

Mr Lance said he had been hopeful Hurring may have been found not guilty on two charges totalling HK$1.5 million (NZ$250,000) relating to money laundering in the Wynn's Casino at Macau.

"We were hopeful the jury may look more favourably at the allegations centred around the Macau transactions, but that wasn't to the be the case," he said.

"She will be sentenced on lesser basis than Gao because the amounts of money she is involved in are significantly less than the millions he has been charged."

"The saga is over."

Hurring is released on bail to appear for sentencing on August 24.

Judge Phillip Cooper issued a home detention appendix to be prepared for the sentencing date but gave no assurance Hurring would avoid jail.
 
Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch described the trial as unique.

"I'm happy with the result."

He would not comment on where the outstanding money was.

Key witness Bianca Taute was not surprised by the guilty verdict.

Ms Taute, a flatmate of the couple, remained adamant that from the beginning Hurring knew of the banking error which deposited $10 million into Gao's business overdraft facility in 2009.

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- Fairfax Media

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