Property consultant pleads guilty to defrauding government body

Published

A former property consultant has admitted defrauding the Selwyn District Council in a Serious Fraud Office prosecution.

The SFO alleges that Stephen Rolf Gubb and his co-defendant worked together to secure payment of commission for the sale of land from the district council.

Mr Gubb has been remanded in custody after pleading guilty to 14 Crimes Act charges of ‘Obtaining by deception’ in the Christchurch District Court today.

Mr Gubb fraudulently obtained 13 commission payments of about $300,000 from the Selwyn District Council between March 2007 and July 2015. He has also admitted to creating a false invoice to obtain $10,500.

Mr Gubb was employed by Hughes Developments as a property consultant. He sold land, leases, and design and build packages for a Selwyn District Council business hub development called Izone.

Mr Gubb is scheduled to appear at the Christchurch District Court on 23 May 2018 for sentencing.

ENDS

For further media information

Henry Acland
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Note to editors

Background information

Hughes Developments Limited's responsibilities include managing the sales of lots of land, the design and development work and to manage small amounts of repairs and maintenance.

Stephen Rolf Gubb (62) was employed by Hughes Developments as a property consultant. His primary role was to sell Izone land, leases, and design and build packages.

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.

 

About the SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act.

The SFO is the lead law enforcement agency for investigating and prosecuting serious or complex financial crime, including bribery and corruption.

The presence of an agency dedicated to white collar crime is integral to New Zealand’s reputation for transparency, integrity, fair-mindedness and low levels of corruption.

This work contributes to a productive and prosperous New Zealand and the SFO’s collaborative efforts with international partners also reduce the serious harm that corrupt business practices do to the global economy.

The SFO has two operational teams: the Evaluation and Intelligence team and the Investigations team.

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.

The SFO’s Annual Report 2017 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2014-2018 sets out the SFO’s strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at www.sfo.govt.nz

The SFO Twitter feed is @FraudSeriousNZ