Fraudster Todd gets home detention

By David Eames

Brent Todd, the former rugby league international who increased his fame on television reality shows, will be spending most of the next year stuck at home.

The 42-year-old was yesterday sentenced to 12 months' home detention for his part in a poker machine fraud worth millions.

Todd appeared in the Auckland District Court for sentencing on four charges of fraud after pleading guilty last month for a fake invoicing scheme that cheated the North Harbour Rugby Football Union and Touch New Zealand of $2 million.

Prosecutor David Jones, QC, recommended a starting point of five years in prison for what he described as a "calculated and systematic" fraud that involved "essentially facilitating grants" for the bodies in return for kickbacks.

The offending took place over four years from May 2000.

Todd had admitted the charges at an earlier sentence indication hearing, after Judge Tom Everett said he could avoid a prison term if he took responsibility for his part in the fraud.

But yesterday Judge Everett said it was important that Todd was seen to be held accountable "for the harm that you have done to the two victims and the community".

The judge accepted a five-year starting point but then granted hefty reductions for a variety of mitigating factors. These included a 20-month discount for his early guilty plea, which came before a depositions hearing, and six months for Todd's contribution to a $611,000 reparation payment.

Todd also received a one-year reduction for his "significant" help to prosecutors, which will include giving evidence against five co-accused due to stand trial next year.

The terms of his home detention will allow Todd to work and to complete a 190-hour community work sentence also imposed yesterday.

And Judge Everett will be taking a personal interest in Todd's detention.

"I want to see how it's going, and how you are coping."

The court heard the sentence will be difficult, as it means separation from his children in Australia.

BRENT TODD

* Played 28 tests for the Kiwis between 1985 and 1993.

* Won the 1988 NRL Australian grand final with the Canberra Raiders.

* Declared bankrupt in February last year.

* Fined $500 in September last year after admitting procuring cocaine.

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