A former trustee of a Far North Māori trust has admitted stealing almost $1 million from the organisation.
Margaret Dixon, 59, who was a trustee of a trust managing a large forest on Māori land in Tai Tokerau District, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft by person in a special relationship at the Auckland District Court on Thursday.
Dixon, her brother Stephen Henare and five other people were appointed as trustees of the Parengarenga 3G (P3G) Trust in June 2012, in place of the Māori Trustee.
About $1.1 million was transferred from the Māori Trustee to P3G Trust bank accounts in August 2012 and was to be used to manage the 511.83 hectare block for the benefit of its numerous owners. A further $54,480 was also obtained by the trust from the sale of carbon credits.
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But instead of using the money for its intended purpose, Dixon transferred $934,270 of the trust's funds into various other bank accounts, including personal accounts and family trusts.
Dixon will be sentenced at Auckland District Court on July 6
Dixon's brother Stephen Henare, 60, has pleaded not guilty to six charges of theft by person in special relationship, also in relation to his role as a trustee of Parengarenga 3G (P3G) Trust.
It is alleged he assisted Dixon in transferring the money out of the trust's accounts.
Henare also faces a separate charge of intentionally failing to deal with an additional amount of $149,627 in accordance with the P3G Trust Order and will reappear in the Auckland District Court for a case review hearing on May 23.
Dixon and Henare are no longer trustees of the P3G Trust.