A former trustee of a Far North Māori trust left just $150 in the fund after allegedly stealing some $1 million with the help of his sister.
Stephen Henare, who is on trial in the High Court at Auckland, faces five charges of theft by a person in a special relationship and one count of perverting the course of justice.
He was a trustee of Parengarenga 3G (P3G) Trust and was appointed with his sister Margaret Dixon alongside five other people in June 2012.
The trust, which helped underprivileged people, managed a 512-hectare forest block on Māori land in Tai Tokerau District.
The siblings took control of P3G with more than $1 million in cash assets in August 2012, but in July the following year the fund was left with just $150, the court heard today.
Michael Heron QC, New Zealand's former Solicitor-General, told the jury that once Henare and his sister oversaw the trust a million dollars was spent in little more than a year.
Much of it, Heron said, was splurged on the pair.
"They abused their positions as responsible trustees. It's as simple as that," Heron, who is prosecuting the case for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), said.
About $600,000 was transferred into Henare's own family trust and nearly $200,000 was moved into his personal account, Heron told the jury.
More than $70,000 was also sent to Dixon's account and $100,000 to her family trust, the court heard.
A further $100,000 was also transferred to another trust.
As a result of the depleted funds, the trust could no longer afford to maintain its forests, Heron added.
In January 2013, the issues P3G was facing also reached the Māori Land Court after an application was made by one of the trustees to remove Henare from his position.
At a court hearing Henare was asked about the health of the trust's account, Heron said.
"Dixon and Henare told the court there was a million dollars or so on deposit, in fact at that time there was much, much less - something like $400,000 had already gone out of the account," Heron said.
It is for Henare's alleged lies to the Māori Land Court for which he is accused of perverting the course of justice.
A further $54,480 was also allegedly obtained from the trust by Henare during the sale of carbon credits.
"Sadly when the trust ran out of money in July 2013, Henare sold the carbon credits and transferred money into his own account," Heron said.
Dixon will also give evidence for the SFO during the trial, the court heard.
Heron told the jury she has already been convicted and sentenced after pleading guilty for her fraudulent activities.
In July last year, Judge David Sharp sentenced her in the Auckland District Court to 12 months' home detention.
The court heard at Dixon's sentencing her personal gain was $130,836.
The siblings are no longer trustees of P3G.
Henare's trial is expected to last three weeks.