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Donna Grant sentenced to home detention

A prominent Māori performing arts educator has been sentenced to 12 months’ home detention for defrauding a tertiary education provider and a Crown agency of approximately $1.3 million.

Donna Mariana Grant (61) was sentenced today in the Rotorua High Court on three charges of ‘Dishonestly using documents’ and a single charge of ‘Obtaining by deception’. The charges were brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Mrs Grant used her position in several organisations to fraudulently obtain funding from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and the Tertiary Education Commission.

In setting a starting point of four years’ imprisonment, Justice Lang recognised that the defendant did not use the money for personal benefit. This starting point was then significantly discounted due to several mitigating factors which included that Mrs Grant had demonstrated genuine remorse, she pleaded guilty and during her lifetime, she had made an enormous positive contribution to the community.

The Director of the SFO, Julie Read, said, “Mrs Grant misappropriated public funds to benefit charitable organisations that she was involved in. Although the defendant did not use the funds to benefit herself financially, her offending was criminal and has damaged the reputations of several organisations.”

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