A former chartered accountant has plead guilty to fraud after spending clients' tax refunds on gambling, friends and family, school fees and loan repayments.

Christopher George Wright, 62, stole approximately $1.01 million from 245 clients over a six-year period from January 2010 to April 2016.

Wright misappropriated refunds from his clients on whose behalf he filed tax returns and obtained refunds.

Those refunds were then deposited in his accounting practice's trust account, which was under his control.


He pleaded guilty yesterday at the Auckland District Court to one representative charge of 'Theft by person in special relationship' brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Julie Read, director of the SFO, called Wright's offending a breach of trust that resulted in significant monetary losses.

"The prosecution of such matters is an important aspect of protecting New Zealand's reputation as a safe place to invest and do business."

Wright has been remanded on bail and will reappear for sentencing on May 6 at the Auckland District Court.