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Current as of 19/09/14 07:40PM NZST

Jamie Morton

Jamie Morton is science reporter at the NZ Herald.

'Runaway millionaire' guilty of theft

Kara Hurring at the Rotorua District Court earlier this week. Photo / Alan Gibson
Kara Hurring at the Rotorua District Court earlier this week. Photo / Alan Gibson

"Runaway millionaire" Kara Hurring says she is relieved her trial is over, even though she has been found guilty of all 30 charges related to the accidental appearance of $10 million in her partner's account.

Hurring, 33, was on trial in the Rotorua District Court this week after having plead not guilty to 25 counts of theft, three counts of attempting to dishonestly use a documents and two counts of money laundering.

Hurring began to cry as the 30 guilty counts were read out.

Outside court she told media that she was relieved it was over. Her lawyer Simon Lance said that she was upset by the verdicts but that the same time she was happy that the more serious charges she faced when she originally returned to NZ were dismissed.

She was bailed to reappear for sentencing on August 24. As part of her bail conditions she's not allowed to leave the country.

Crown Prosecutor Fletcher Pildich said he was pleased with the outcome of the trial and said the jury gave "really careful consideration" to all the evidence presented.

It was the Crown case that after Westpac mistakenly put $10m into the bank account of 33-year-old Hurring's partner, Hui 'Leo' Gao, he left the country, and four days later Hurring and her daughter left too and went to Hong Kong.

The 25 theft charges related to Hurring using Gao's bankcard to make purchases and withdraw money from ATMs in New Zealand. Three counts involving attempts to use a document relate to Hurring trying to make purchases and withdraw money, also in New Zealand.

The two money-laundering counts relate to Hurring setting up a "player'' account at a casino in Macau, where two deposits were made totalling more than $340,000, money that could be converted into chips for gambling or to pay for services including accommodation and food.

Her defence said she didn't know about Westpac's mistake until she was in China.

- APNZ

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