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Three sentenced following fraud conspiracy convictions

26 August 2011

Three sentenced following fraud conspiracy convictions

Three men have been sentenced in the Auckland District Court today after being found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and attempting to obstruct the course of justice, following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Robert Anthony Briggs (50), the former Principal Officer and General Manager of the Actives Charitable Trust (Actives), was sentenced to four years and ten months imprisonment. Mr Briggs pleaded guilty in June to two charges under the Crimes Act of conspiring to commit an offence for personal financial gain and six charges of corruptly soliciting and accepting commissions under the Secret Commissions Act.

Gerard Thomas Clifford (59), whose interim name suppression was lifted today, was sentenced to four years imprisonment. Mr Clifford was found guilty of two charges under the Crimes Act of conspiring to commit an offence for personal financial gain, for his role in dishonestly obtaining funds from Actives in collusion with Mr Briggs.

Former Member of Parliament Gilbert Colin Myles (65), another former associate of Mr Briggs, was sentenced to four months community detention and 250 hours of community work. Mr Myles was found guilty of attempting to obstruct the course of justice during the course of the SFO investigation.

During the trial, Mr Briggs admitted to corruptly accepting commissions totalling approximately $153,000 from suppliers in connection with gaming machines ordered on Actives’ behalf.

Mr Briggs and Mr Clifford were also found to have operated a dishonest scheme in which $1.2 million of financial grants for equipment was provided by Actives to tennis clubs. Companies owned by Mr Clifford then supplied that equipment to the tennis clubs at over inflated prices, and the funding was then shared between Mr Briggs and Mr Clifford.

SFO Chief Executive Adam Feeley said: “It is imperative that those involved with charitable organisations demonstrate the highest ethical standards. Mr Briggs and Mr Clifford took advantage of their positions and in doing so, deprived the local community of valuable resources.”


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