A former Bay of Plenty businesswoman of the year has been fined $75,000 for tax return offences and ordered to pay $133,000 reparation to Inland Revenue and $15,000 towards costs.



Rae Beverley Adlam, 65, of Tauranga was a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business in the 2008 New Year's Honours List.



At the time of her royal honour, she had an extensive portfolio of business and Maori enterprises spanning four decades and held top positions with a number of government and community organisations including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.



In Tauranga District Court yesterday, Adlam pleaded guilty to 24 counts of knowingly filing false tax returns, nine of which related to income tax and GST returns filed in the name of Onepu Geothermal Energy Limited during the tax periods March 2002 to March 2006.

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Adlam was a former managing director and shareholder of this company which was registered with the Companies Office from March 29, 1995 to June 13, 2007 but subsequently went into liquidation.



She was convicted and discharged on the nine charges and ordered to pay $133,000 reparation.



The other 15 charges related to Adlam's personal income tax affairs during 2002 and 2008.



Adlam was also convicted and discharged on those matters, but fined $75,000 and ordered to pay $14,000 towards solicitor costs and $1000 court costs.



Adlam was discharged on a raft of other charges, including tax evasion related charges after the Crown offered no evidence.



Crown prosecutor Richard Jenson told Judge Robert Wolff all parties had agreed conviction and discharge was the appropriate outcome after Mrs Adlam offered to pay $133,000 reparation, which was the estimated tax shortfall owing in relation to Onepu Geothermal Energy.



A $75,000 fine and costs was the appropriate sentence for the other charges, he said.



Adlam's lawyer John Billington QC told Judge Wolff that Adlam's offending began around the same time she was diagnosed with cancer and documentation before the court detailed her health problems throughout the period of offending.

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Adlam had been "distracted" in dealing with these matters, but earlier paid $450,000 in taxes, interest and penalties and the fine and reparation would settle the rest of her obligations.



Judge Wolff told Adlam that, in the absence of any prior convictions, her true remorse, offer of reparation and the "immense loss of mana" in this case he was satisfied a monetary penalty and costs were adequate to meet the required public deterrents in this matter.



Adlam did not respond to the Bay of Plenty Times' request to comment.