Property consultant Stephen Gubb jailed for defrauding government body

Published

A property consultant who sold real estate in a business park near Christchurch has been sentenced to two years and nine months' imprisonment on 14 charges of obtaining by deception brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

As an employee of Hughes Developments, Stephen Gubb sold land, leases, and design and build packages for Izone - a Selwyn District Council business hub development located in Rolleston.

Mr Gubb fraudulently obtained 13 commission payments of more than $300,000 from the Selwyn District Council between March 2007 and July 2015. Nearly $150,000 of these payments were eventually transferred into a bank account controlled by Mr Gubb and his co-defendant.  

The SFO alleges that Mr Gubb’s co-defendant, who has name suppression, was complicit in obtaining the commission payments.

Mr Gubb also obtained $10,500 by submitting an invoice to the Selwyn District Council for services that were not provided.

Mr Gubb has previously been prosecuted by the SFO on fraud charges involving about $1.18 million. He was convicted and sentenced to four years' imprisonment on these charges in December 2003.  

SFO Director, Julie Read said, “The sentence reflects the seriousness of offending which was not only deliberate, planned and long running, but a repetition of previous offending. Stephen Gubb defrauded a government body of $300,829, took advantage of his position and betrayed the trust his employer had placed in him. Mr Gubb was given an opportunity to rebuild his life following his previous fraud convictions but instead chose to offend again.”

ENDS

For further media information

Henry Acland
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Note to editors

Background information

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

Hughes Developments’ responsibilities included managing the sales of lots of land, the design and development work, and to manage small amounts of repairs and maintenance at Izone, which is a Selwyn District Council business hub development located in Rolleston.

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.

241 Punishment of obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception

Every one who is guilty of obtaining by deception or causing loss by deception is liable as follows:

(a) if the loss caused or the value of what is obtained or sought to be obtained exceeds $1,000, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years:

(b) if the loss caused or the value of what is obtained or sought to be obtained exceeds $500 but does not exceed $1,000, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year:

(c) if the loss caused or the value of what is obtained or sought to be obtained does not exceed $500, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months.

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