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Former Lion Foundation CEO gets 12 months home detention

Former Lion Foundation CEO sentenced to 12 months home detention on SFO charges

David John Conroy, former Chief Executive of the Lion Foundation was today sentenced to 12 months home detention and 300 hours community work.

The sentence comes after Mr Conroy was found guilty of one count of false accounting and two counts of false accounting by an employee after a two week jury trial held in the Auckland District Court before Judge Gibson in February this year.

Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Director, Adam Feeley, said that the case highlighted that major frauds often rely on persons in professional roles to aid the principal offender.

"Mr Conroy effectively hid someone else's offending, and the fact that he made no direct personal gain from this does not in any way excuse his offending."

Mr Feeley added that the willingness of some professionals to acquiesce to the instructions of their clients or superiors was a significant factor in aiding fraud.

"Organisations have the right to expect employees, particularly professionals, to carry out their duties honestly and to challenge the unlawful conduct of others."

Mr Feeley said that the SFO welcomed calls from any person who wished to act as a "whistleblower" on fraud.

"Members of the public can be assured that we treat such calls with absolute confidence and that there will be swift action where fraud is identified."

The charges were laid by the SFO and related to three journal entries made between 2002 and 2004 in the Lion Foundation accounts, which had the effect of writing off almost $520,000.00 from a debt balance owed by the Strathern Inn in Invercargill.

Mr Conroy made the journal entries without the knowledge or approval of the Board in order to hide the true amount owed to the Foundation by the Strathern Inn.

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