Ex-detective admits sevens tourney fraud

Last updated 05:00 14/08/2012

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An ex-detective who defrauded a national rugby sevens tournament of $62,000 was remanded for sentence when he appeared in Queenstown District Court yesterday.

Richard Edgar Anderson, 51, of Lake Hayes Estate, appeared before Judge Michael Turner charged with two counts of dishonestly using a document to obtain a pecuniary advantage and four charges of causing a loss by deception to the Pub Charity National Sevens.

Crown prosecutor Russell Ibbotson asked for the two document charges and one deception charge to be withdrawn.

Lawyer Phena Byrne entered guilty pleas to the three remaining charges - by deception and without claim of right causing a loss valued at $41,803 to the Sevens with Altitude committee between June 18, 2009, and October 6, 2010, causing a loss valued at $11,289 on January 1, 2009 and causing a loss valued at $9338 on December 2, 2009.

A summary of facts said Anderson maintained a secretarial role organising the tournament and the committee operated three ASB accounts, with one main account.

He was responsible for dealing with the Mercure Resort team accommodation, Air New Zealand flights and rental cars and was authorised to use his personal credit card.

Since 2007, he used his credit card to accrue air points and was required to give the treasurer a receipt or invoice when seeking reimbursement for expenses.

In December 2010 he sent an invoice apparently from the Mercure but the treasurer noticed a sizeable increase in the players' accommodation package and raised concerns.

Booking commission was normally paid to the agent and Mercure agreed to pay 10 per cent to Sevens with Altitude, money used by Otago Country Rugby.

Anderson had prepared a tax invoice on a Sevens with Altitude letterhead for $11,289 and emailed it to the Mercure then, four days later, sent a new tax invoice for the same amount with personal details and an Arrowtown PO box.

An Accor Hotel group financial controller prepared and sent Anderson a cheque, which was deposited into his account and none of the money was received by the committee.

In February this year, the defendant was called to a meeting and asked to explain irregularities.

He admitted receiving and keeping commission and the difference in invoice balances for Mercure bookings.

A treasurer started investigating the previous year's invoices, including Air New Zealand fares.

An original spreadsheet was compared to Anderson's version, which showed he was reimbursed $20,672 more than the true charge.

On another occasion, he was reimbursed $21,131 more than the true charge.

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Anderson told police he kept about $9000 as commission from the accommodation package, acknowledged he banked the payment and was unable to provide an explanation for the Air New Zealand reimbursements.

Judge Turner asked for a reparation report, an updated victim impact statement, a pre-sentence report to address home detention and remanded Anderson for sentence on September 10.

Anderson is a former Auckland detective and real estate agent.

He was one of a group who brought the popular rugby tournament to Queenstown.

- The Southland Times

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