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Former director of accountancy practice guilty of theft

Media Release

12 December 2012

Former director of accountancy practice guilty of theft

Former director of Hobbs Rose Limited (Hobbs Rose), Gary Malcolm Hobbs (45), has been found guilty by a jury in the Hamilton District Court on 14 criminal charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in November 2011.

The charges, of theft by a person in a special relationship, against Mr Hobbs, related to funds totalling over $320,000.

At the time of the theft, Mr Hobbs was a director of Hobbs Rose, an accountancy firm based in Te Awamutu. The SFO investigation concluded that Mr Hobbs stole funds from two of his clients’ bank accounts and used those funds in part for the benefit of his own accountancy firm and for another company of which Mr Hobbs was also a Director, South American Tobacco Group NZ Limited.

Following the verdict, Acting Chief Executive for the SFO, Simon McArley, explained the importance the Office placed on this prosecution, “As a trusted advisor, Mr Hobbs let his clients down. This not only impacted directly on them but at a local level it undermines the good faith that people should be able to place in professional services such as chartered accountants.”

Mr Hobbs was a qualified chartered accountant and a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA). Following an NZICA investigation into Hobbs Rose and allegations of client funds being mismanaged, Mr Hobbs’ NZICA membership was cancelled in 2010 and his name removed permanently from the NZICA register of members.

A sentencing date has been set for 15 February 2013.

ENDS

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