Ex-Kiwi's fraud scheme elaborate, court told

Former All Black Doug Rollerson and ex-Kiwi league captain Hugh McGahan used an elaborate scheme of invoices and accounts to defraud sports organisations out of charity money, an Auckland court has heard.

A depositions hearing for Rollerson, McGahan, Touch New Zealand former chief executive, Dick Arnott, and former employee, Geoffrey Alan Thompson, began in the Auckland District Court today.

The fifth accused is a woman who has name suppression.

The group is accused of supplying Touch New Zealand, the North Harbour Rugby Union and Team Harbour Limited with false invoices.

Last week former rugby league star Brent Todd admitted four fraud charges, three days before he was due to face a depositions hearing.

Todd, who played 28 tests for the Kiwis between 1985 and 1993, admitted the charges when he appeared in Auckland District Court on Friday.

Another accused, Stanley Malik Champalal Wijeyaratne, also pleaded guilty to four charges, both men will be sentenced next month.

Today Serious Fraud Office forensic accountant Clive Hudson produced several flow charts to show the "merry-go-round" of false invoices, the group are alleged to have used to procure the funds.

One spreadsheet found on McGahan's laptop computer, showing details of the grants, had 19 versions, Mr Hudson said.

Rollerson's lawyer, John Haigh, QC, asked whether the practice among some sporting organisations of paying kickbacks to hotels they received gaming machine proceeds from was common.

Mr Hudson said he knew of the practice but said the charges against the accused were more connected to false invoicing.

The Serious Fraud Office said it had 83 witnesses but would call between five and eight to give evidence.

The hearing is expected to last four weeks.

- NZPA

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