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Realtor sentenced for defrauding local government

Realtor sentenced for defrauding local government

A real estate agent has been sentenced to seven months’ home detention and 200 hours of community work on charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Shirley Anne Johnston (66) of Wanaka obtained commissions from the Selwyn District Council that she was not entitled to. The payments were made for 13 property sales she purportedly organised in relation to Izone, a Selwyn District Council business hub development located in Rolleston.

Together with her co-defendant and husband, Stephen Gubb, Ms Johnston fraudulently obtained commission payments of more than $300,000 from the district council. Almost half of the money was eventually transferred to a bank account controlled by her and Mr Gubb.

Mr Gubb, in his capacity as a property consultant for the company that supervised the Selwyn District Council development, instructed a law firm to pay commissions to a real estate agency that Ms Johnston worked for. The agency then paid Ms Johnston $149,094 for her purported work as its agent.

Ms Johnston was sentenced at the Christchurch District Court on a single representative charge of ‘Obtaining by deception’. Mr Gubb is currently serving a jail sentence of two years and nine months for his part in the fraudulent scheme, as well as a separate offence of submitting a false invoice to the Selwyn District Council. Mr Gubb has a previous fraud conviction for which he was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in December 2003.


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