Former Director sentenced following SFO investigation

Published

Former Director sentenced following SFO investigation

John William Jackson (62) was sentenced to two years and five months imprisonment in the North Shore District Court yesterday, after pleading guilty to charges of accessing a computer for dishonest purposes. The charges were brought following an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Mr Jackson was a director and shareholder of air conditioning company Aire Res-Comm Limited (ARC). He pleaded guilty in January 2011 to six charges under the Crimes Act of accessing a computer for dishonest purpose, although he disputed the quantum of the alleged offending.

Mr Jackson was found to have diverted over $571,340.67 of company money on multiple occasions between 2006 and 2009, by using Internet banking to bank accounts linked to him and his family. He misrepresented these transactions in company documents as payments to creditors.

The SFO opened its investigation into Mr Jackson in November 2009 and laid charges in December 2010.

ENDS

For further information

Andrea Linton
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Note to editors

Background to investigation

John William Jackson is a 62 year-old South African national. He came to New Zealand in August 2000.

In or around 2002, Mr Jackson agreed to form an air-conditioning installation company called Aire Res-Comm Limited (ARC) with two business partners. Mr Jackson became a director of ARC on 3 June 2003, and became a third shareholder in July 2004.

Mr 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, Mr 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 two months.

Using this access to the ARC bank accounts, on multiple occasions between June 2006 and August 2009, Mr Jackson misappropriated an aggregate of $571,340.67 from ARC. He did this by transferring sums of money via the Internet banking system to bank accounts associated with him and his family, and described these payments in the Internet banking transfer and in the MYOB accounting software system as being payments to creditors.

Crimes Act offences

Section 249: Accessing computer system for dishonest purpose
(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven 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 five 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

Role of the SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (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 operates three investigative teams:

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


The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part I 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 II 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 Annual Report 2011 summarises its performance for the past year. The Statement of Intent 2011-2014 sets out the SFO's three year strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at: www.sfo.govt.nz