Acting Business Editor for the NZ Herald

Former engineer guilty of $1.5m Mighty River Power fraud

A former employee of Mighty River Power  has been found guilty of ripping the company off  for $2.3 million.  Alan Gibson NZH 2
A former employee of Mighty River Power has been found guilty of ripping the company off for $2.3 million. Alan Gibson NZH 2

A former Mighty River Power engineer has been found guilty of obtaining more than $1.5 million from the company by deception.

His estranged wife was also found guilty today of assisting him in some of the offending.

Paul Kenneth Rose was on trial in the Auckland High Court facing 10 charges of obtaining by deception while Jane Clare Rose faced eight of the same charges for assisting in some of the offending.

This afternoon a jury of seven women and five men delivered their verdicts after more than three weeks of evidence and arguments. They found Paul Rose guilty on nine of the 10 charges he faced and Jane Rose guilty on all eight of the charges she faced. On some charges, only parts of what prosecutors alleged were proven, though this was enough to justify guilty verdicts.

Paul Rose was earlier discharged on two counts.

The former couple were separated by a security guard in the dock and while Paul Rose showed little emotion when the verdicts were read, Jane Rose sobbed.

Justice Rebecca Edwards convicted the pair on the charges that were proven and acquitted Paul Rose on one charge.

Sentencing will take place on April 28. Justice Edwards granted the pair bail.

A sentence of imprisonment is unlikely for Jane Rose, and while jail "may be likely for Paul Rose" it was not inevitable, the judge said.

The offending took place over Paul Rose's eight years of employment with Mighty River Power (MRP), which ended after an investigation and his subsequent dismissal in December 2012.

Paul Rose's job as an electrical engineer with MRP made him responsible for buying parts and organising services.

During his tenure, Crown lawyers argued, he secretly set up three companies that acted as a vendor to his employer.

Paul Rose would buy goods from a real company add a large mark up and sell them to MRP, prosecutors said.

The Crown also said Jane Rose knew what was going on and actively aided her then partner in the day-to-day operation.

Poor systems at MRP and Paul Rose's reputation made the fraud possible, the Crown claimed.

- NZ Herald

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