Former Defence official admits $225,000 fraud

 

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Auckland, May 20, 2020

A former defence force employee has pleaded guilty to stealing non-public funds administered by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) while she was employed by the organisation.

Paniparewhakaro Elizabeth Rangiuia (60) embezzled approximately $225,000 over seven years from accounts-holding money raised by NZDF members for the health, wellbeing and retention of army personnel.

The Army Non-Public Funds are a registered charity under the Charities Act 2005.

Ms Rangiuia pleaded guilty today (May 20, 2020) to one representative charge of ‘Theft by person in a special relationship’ and one charge of ‘False accounting’ brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

The 60-year-old woman was employed by NZDF from 1987 until her dismissal in September 2018.

She worked as a financial administrator of club‐related non‐public funds at Waiouru Military Training Facility from 2009.

About Non-public Funds

Non-public funds are raised by army personnel through fund raising and other activities, as well as direct deposits by personnel.

The funds are intended to be spent on services and amenities for the health, wellbeing and retention of army personnel. The funds are administered via multiple bank accounts and represent money from multiple clubs funded by army personnel money as opposed to public taxpayers’ money. The Army Non-Public Funds are a registered charity under the Charities Act 2005.

Position abused

Ms Rangiuia gambled much of the money she stole.

SFO Chief Executive Julie Read said, “Ms Rangiuia was solely responsible for administering these charitable funds at Waiouru. The defendant abused her position of trust to steal a significant amount of funds raised by army personnel.”

The defendant was remanded on bail to reappear in the Palmerston North District Court for sentencing on June 24, 2020.

Source: Serious Fraud Office

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