Employee charged for deception in Middle East

Published

A former employee of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (F&P Healthcare) has appeared in the Auckland District Court today on corruption related charges.

Simon William Hall (49) faces one Crimes Act charge of ‘Obtaining by deception’ and two charges under Section 8 of the Secret Commissions Act laid by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Mr Hall has pleaded guilty to all charges.

Mr Hall committed offences while in his role as an Area Manager based in Auckland and dealing with companies in the Middle Eastern market. The charges relate to payments received by Mr Hall for approving a Saudi Arabian company as a distributor of F&P Healthcare products and a single payment from a Jordanian company to also become a distributor. F&P Healthcare had no knowledge that Mr Hall received these payments. In addition to these offences, Mr Hall made false representations to F&P Healthcare regarding commission payments for installations of products that never took place.

It is understood that Mr Hall received approximately $213,000 in payments.

SFO Director, Julie Read said, “The acceptance of rewards outside of an employment contract which prohibits receipt of any commission or payment, is a fraudulent act and unacceptable in New Zealand business whether it is on our shores or being conducted overseas.”

Mr Hall will appear for sentencing in the Auckland District Court on 9 June 2017.

ENDS

For further media information

Andrea Linton
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Note to editors

Background to investigation

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of products and systems for the use in respiratory care, acute care and the treatment of sleep apnoea. 

Simon Hall was employed by F&P Healthcare in February 2002 and was dismissed in December 2014. Shortly after, F&P Healthcare referred allegations regarding Mr Hall, to the Serious Fraud Office.

Crimes Act offences

Section 240 Obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception
(1) Every one is guilty of obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception who, by any deception and without claim of right,-
(a) obtains ownership or possession of, or control over, any property, or any privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration, directly or indirectly; or
(b) in incurring any debt or liability, obtains credit; or
(c) induces or causes any other person to deliver over, execute, make, accept, endorse, destroy, or alter any document or thing capable of being used to derive a pecuniary advantage; or
(d) causes loss to any other person.

(1A) Every person is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years who, without reasonable excuse, sells, transfers, or otherwise makes available any document or thing capable of being used to derive a pecuniary advantage knowing that, by deception and without claim of right, the document or thing was, or was caused to be, delivered, executed, made, accepted, endorsed, or altered.

(2) In this section, deception means-
(a) a false representation, whether oral, documentary, or by conduct, where the person making the representation intends to deceive any other person and-
(i) knows that it is false in a material particular; or
(ii) is reckless as to whether it is false in a material particular; or
(b) an omission to disclose a material particular, with intent to deceive any person, in circumstances where there is a duty to disclose it; or
(c) a fraudulent device, trick, or stratagem used with intent to deceive any person.

Secret Commissions Act offences

Section 8 Receiving secret reward for procuring contracts an offence
(1) Every person is guilty of an offence who advises any person to enter into a contract with a third person and receives or agrees to receive from that third person, without the knowledge and consent of the person so advised, any gift or consideration as an inducement or reward for the giving of that advice or the procuring of that contract, unless the person giving that advice himself acts as the agent of the third person in entering into the contract, or is to the knowledge of the person so advised the agent of that third person.

(2) For the purposes of this section a person shall be deemed to advise another person to enter into a contract if he makes to that other person any statement or suggestion with intent to induce him to enter into the contract.

About the SFO

The 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's role is the detection, investigation and prosecution of serious or complex financial crime. The SFO's focus is on investigating and prosecuting criminal cases that will have a real effect on:

  • business and investor confidence in our financial markets and economy
  • public confidence in our justice system and public service
  • New Zealand's international business reputation.

The SFO operates three operational teams; the Evaluation and Intelligence team along with two investigative teams.

The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part 1 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 2 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..."

In considering whether a matter involves serious or complex fraud, the Director may, among other things, have regard to:

  • the suspected nature and consequences of the fraud and/or;
  • the suspected scale of the fraud and/or;
  • the legal, factual and evidential complexity of the matter and/or;
  • any relevant public interest considerations.

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