AUT fraudster released from jail

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 16:32 03/12/2012
Jonathan Kirkpatrick
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax Media
IN COURT: Jonathan Kirkpatrick pleaded guilty to fraud.

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University fraudster Jonathan Kirkpatrick has been released on parole after serving a third of his three-year sentence.

The former Auckland University of Technology's business innovation centre chief executive was jailed in October last year after he stole more than $600,000 and indulged in a lavish lifestyle.

He was released on October 29 after his first appearance before the Parole Board.

The board found Kirkpatrick to be at low risk of reoffending and, provided he is monitored, a low risk to the community.

Kirkpatrick did not need to do any rehabilitative programmes in prison.

The board set conditions that he not to undertake any employment, voluntary work, training or study without permission until December 2014.

Kirkpatrick was authorised in his former role to issue invoices of up to $15,000 without supervision.

However, he used that role to set up false companies and keep the money.

Kirkpatrick's offending was detected by the university when he was on holiday in Thailand.

He left a bank statement for one of the fraudulent companies on his desk.

The fraud cost over $1 million, with the university required to pay $208,000, and their insurance company the balance of $791,000.

Kirkpatrick was ordered by the court last year to pay the university $20,000 in reparations, which he received from the sale of his house.

An AUT spokeswoman said the university had been fully refunded against the losses resulting from Kirkpatrick's actions.

''Following our discovery, we again reviewed our financial processes and they are consistent with best practice,'' she said.

''AUT's financial systems are regularly audited under the direction of the office of the Auditor General and as part of standard business practice.''

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