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Former bar manager found guilty of pokie machine money theft

Former bar manager found guilty of pokie machine money theft

The former manager of an Auckland bar and café has been found guilty of stealing gaming machine money.

John Mark Bradfield pleaded not guilty in the Auckland District Court to one charge of theft by a person in a special relationship. Yesterday Judge DM Wilson released his decision that the case had been proved.

The Department of Internal Affairs told the court that Bradfield was the manager of the Flo Bar and Café in Newmarket and in April 2012 failed to bank nearly $10,000 into the New Zealand Community Trust’s account. The Trust is a gaming machine society which has the responsibility of distributing the proceeds from its pokie machines to community organisations.

Bradfield, 45, admitted taking money from the pokie machines but said he was refunding a contribution that he and his wife had made to the bar in an effort to help the business survive.

The business closed down at the end of April 2012.

In the Judge’s written decision he says: “I find that Mr Bradfield was in a “special relationship” and that he knew what his obligations were within that relationship.

“Mr Bradfield said in evidence that he understood the paperwork and that the money belonged to NZCT. Knowing that he took the cash and used it for his own purpose.”

Gareth Bostock, Manager Regulatory Investigations at the Department of Internal Affairs says: “The gambling model in New Zealand is specifically designed to benefit community groups through the distribution of the proceeds from pokies. When someone steals some of this money it’s the equivalent of stealing from community groups many of which need pokie machine grants to ensure the continued funding of good causes. We’re very pleased to have played a part in holding this man to account.”

Bradfield will be sentenced at Auckland District Court on 17 April 2014.

ENDS

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