Health centre manager Richard Beven sentenced to three years, seven months over fraud

Richard Gregory Beven in the Queenstown Court. Photo / Mountain Scene
Richard Gregory Beven in the Queenstown Court. Photo / Mountain Scene

A former health centre manager stole more than $700,000 from his employer and spent the money on travel, cars, casinos, alcohol, and a 40th birthday party for himself at an exclusive Queenstown golf club.

Richard Gregory Beven, 42, was sentenced to prison for three years and seven months for defrauding the Wanaka Lakes Health Centre.

In June Beven pleaded guilty to false accounting and theft in a special relationship from the centre's operating company, Wanacare Ltd, and was convicted by Judge Christina Cook.

A third charge was withdrawn on September 5.

Judge Bernadette Farnan said in the Queenstown District Court today she accepted the Crown's submission that Beven's offending was "highly sophisticated" and involved pre-meditation and planning, including taking care to "cover his tracks".

He spent the money from his theft on international and domestic travel, cars, casinos, meals and alcohol, and a 40th birthday party for himself at exclusive Queenstown golf club The Hills.

Judge Farnan said Beven stole a total of $730,517.65 from Wanacare, but the actual loss was $563,125.13 as the defendant had reapplied some of the stolen money to pay Wanacare bills when it had insufficient funds in its account.

The Crown sought reparation for the stolen funds, as well as an additional $39,385,18 to cover ongoing accounting and staff costs to remedy the company's accounts.

However, Judge Farnan did not make an order for reparation, saying Beven had no ability to pay it.

Several members of Beven's family were in the public gallery for the sentencing.

Beven arrived in Wanaka from Auckland in 2011 during the latter stages of the construction of the Wanaka Lakes Health Centre, taking on the role of project manager for Wanacare.

When the centre opened, Beven became its manager, and was given authority over the banking for the business.

He held the position until he became the subject of police investigations.

In 2005 Beven was sentenced to three and a-half years' prison after pleading guilty in the North Shore District Court to defrauding his employer, a company providing finance for motor vehicle purchases.

- Otago Daily Times

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