Guilty plea after SFO investigation into employee theft

Published

Guilty plea after SFO investigation into employee theft

John William Jackson, a 61 year old South African national, today appeared in the Gore District Court and pleaded guilty to six charges of accessing a computer for dishonest purpose, laid by the SFO in December last year.

Mr Jackson was employed as a director of Aire Res-Comm Limited, an air conditioning company, and used the company’s computer system to divert company money for his own benefit on 84 occasions over a three year period.  The total amount taken during this time was $604,779.87.

Mr Jackson was remanded on bail until a sentencing date on 31 March 2011.

For further information

Nick Paterson
General Manager, Fraud and Corruption
Serious Fraud Office
Phone: 021 675647

Note to editors

Case summary

John William Jackson is a 61 year old South African national.  He came to New Zealand with his son, Jonathan, in August 2000.  His employment in New Zealand has been in the air-conditioning sector.

In or around 2002 Jackson agreed to form a company, Aire Res-Comm Limited (“ARC”) with Mr and Mrs Chambers.  Since the inception of ARC it was intended that Jackson be a shareholder and director.  However there was some delay in this being put in place due to the Chambers’ belief that there were complications in Jackson being a director/shareholder while not a New Zealand citizen. Jackson became a director of ARC on 3 June 2003, and became a 1/3 shareholder in July 2004.

Jackson’s role in the company involved him designing air conditioning systems, obtaining consents from the regional council, pricing and securing contracts and outsourcing labour and supplies on the contracts.

In 2005, Jackson took over the work of another staff member when she went on holiday for two months.  This role required him to have internet access to the ARC bank accounts to enable him to pay the company’s creditors.  He continued in this role following the initial three months.

Using this access to the ARC bank accounts, on 84 occasions between June 2006 and August 2009, Jackson misappropriated an aggregate of $604,779.87 from ARC.  He did this by transferring sums of money via the internet banking system to bank accounts associated with him and his family. He misdescribed these payments in the internet banking transfer and in the MYOB accounting software system as being payments to creditors.

Role of the SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.

The SFO operates three investigative teams:

  • Fraud Detection & Intelligence;
  • Financial Markets & Corporate Fraud; and
  • Fraud & Corruption.

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…”

The SFO’s Statement of Intent 2010-2012 sets out the SFO’s three year strategic goals and performance standards.  It is available online at: www.sfo.govt.nz

Crimes Act Offenses

Section 249: Accessing computer system for dishonest purpose
(1)  Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, directly or indirectly, accesses any computer system and thereby, dishonestly or by deception, and without claim of right,—

(a) obtains any property, privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration; or

(b) causes loss to any other person.

(2) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years who, directly or indirectly, accesses any computer system with intent, dishonestly or by deception, and without claim of right,—

(a) to obtain any property, privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration; or

(b) to cause loss to any other person