A former Auckland chartered accountant who gambled clients' tax refunds has had his sentence delayed pending a medical examination.
At the Auckland District Court today, Judge Claire Ryan delayed the sentence until August 19 and ordered a medical report under section 38 of the Mental Health Act.
The medical report will canvass Wright's pyscological and mental health, the court heard.
Christopher George Wright, 62, stole approximately $1.01 million from 245 clients over a six-year period from January 2010 through to April 2016. An offence of this kind holds a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
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, spent on gambling, friends and family, school fees and loan repayments.
Wright pleaded guilty at the Auckland District Court in March to one representative charge of 'Theft by person in special relationship' brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Julie Read, director of the SFO, at the time 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."
In court today, Judge Ryan heard Wright had a brain tumour removed in the past, suffered a stroke, three heart attacks and had open heart surgery, his lawyer claims this had changed his personality and had affected his ability to show remorse following his offending during the interviewing process.
Defence lawyer Shane Tait said his client was remorseful, despite not showing it.
Judge Ryan said the health issues raised today by the defendant's family could affect the outcome of sentencing.
"Sentencing today is not possible. Mr Tait has spoken to Mr Wright's family and they raise some concerns about his mental, psychological and physical health," Ryan said.
"There are also references in the pre-sentence report to depression, medication and being sectioned under the mental health act, in addition to physical elements such as a brain tumour, a number of heart attacks, open heart surgery and relating medical elements… I am there for going to direct a section 38 subsections 1 subsection c) and d) report."
Wright has been remanded on bail until sentencing in August.