Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Guilty of multi-million dollar fraud charges

4 April 2014

Guilty of multi-million dollar fraud charges

Ronald Peter Rosenberg (72) and Sydney Lio Hunt (46) have been found guilty in the Wellington District Court today of charges amounting to $17 million of fraud.

The guilty verdicts were delivered by Judge Davidson following a four week judge alone trial where the pair faced 82 criminal charges of dishonestly using a document. The charges were laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in July last year following an investigation into retail gas supplier E-Gas Limited (E-Gas).

Mr Rosenberg is the former Managing Director and Mr Hunt the former General Manager of E-Gas. During the investigation, SFO investigators discovered that between April 2005 and October 2008 Mr Rosenberg and Mr Hunt deliberately under-reported the quantity of gas supplied to its retail customers by approximately 950,000 gigajoules (worth approximately $8.74 million, and penalties were avoided to the value of approximately $8.67 million).

SFO Director, Julie Read said, “Serious financial crime places a high cost on the New Zealand economy and affects all consumers. The SFO will continue to focus resources on these high impact areas and we encourage the business community to be aware of any areas of risk in their own industries.”

The charges carry a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment and both defendants have been remanded on bail for sentencing on 29 May.

Background to investigation
Ronald Peter Rosenberg was the Managing Director/CEO and shareholder of E-Gas Limited.

Sydney Lio Hunt was the General Manager and shareholder of E-Gas Limited.

E-Gas was established in 2000 to supply gas to the retail market. In December 2010 the Serious Fraud Office received a complaint about possible inaccuracies between the amounts of gas E-Gas supplied to its customers compared to the amount of gas reported as being used, to gas wholesalers.

Under Gas Industry rules, retailers such as E-Gas are required to book in advance the amount of gas they expect to use in the coming year. Throughout that year, they are required to report actual usage. This is done by submitting data relating to the volume of gas retailers have charged their customers. If actual usage exceeds booked amounts, the retailer will be subject to penalties.

The SFO investigation showed that persons in control of E-Gas deliberately under-reported the quantity of gas supplied by E-Gas to its retail customers, and that they obtained a pecuniary advantage as a consequence. In this case the pecuniary advantage obtained includes gas sold but not paid for, and benefits in the form of avoided penalty payments.

Crimes Act offences
Section 228 Dishonestly taking or using document

Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, with intent to obtain any property, service, pecuniary advantage, or valuable consideration,—
(a) dishonestly and without claim of right, takes or obtains any document; or
(b) dishonestly and without claim of right, uses or attempts to use any document.

Role of the SFO
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.
The SFO operates three investigative teams:
• Fraud Detection & Intelligence;
• Financial Markets & Corporate Fraud; and
• Evaluation & Intelligence.

The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part I of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”

Part II of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “…the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”

The SFO’s Annual Report 2013 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2013-2016 sets out the SFO’s three year strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at: www.sfo.govt.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Half Full: Dairy Payouts Steady, Cash Will Be Tight

Industry body DairyNZ is advising farmers to focus on strong cashflow management as they look ahead to the 2015-16 season following Fonterra's half-year results announcement today. More>>

ALSO:

First Union: Cotton On Plans To Use “Tea Break” Law

“The Prime Minister reassured New Zealanders that ‘post the passing of this law, will you all of a sudden find thousands of workers who are denied having a tea break? The answer is absolutely not’... Cotton On is proposing to remove tea and meal breaks for workers in its safety sensitive distribution centre. How long before other major chains try and follow suit?” More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ-Korea FTA Signed Amid Spying, Lost Sovereignty Claims

A long-awaited free trade agreement between New Zealand and South Korea has been signed in Seoul by Prime Minister John Key and the Korean president, Park Geun-hye. More>>

ALSO:

PM Visit: NZ And Viet Nam Agree Ambitious Trade Target

New Zealand and Viet Nam have agreed an ambitious target of doubling two-way goods and service trade to around $2.2 billion by 2020, Prime Minister John Key has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Economy Grows 0.8% In Fourth Quarter

The New Zealand economy expanded in the fourth quarter as tourists drove growth in retailing and accommodation, and property sales increased demand for real estate services. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: RBNZ’s Wheeler Keeps OCR On Hold, No Rate Hikes Ahead

The Reserve Bank has removed the prospect of future interest rate hikes from its forecast horizon as a strong kiwi dollar and cheap oil hold down inflation, and the central bank ponders whether to lower its assessment of where “neutral” interest rates should be. The kiwi dollar gained. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news