Former Defence Force employee sentenced for fraud

Former Defence Force employee sentenced for fraud

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Auckland, June 28, 2020

A former Defence Force administrator has been sentenced to 12 months home detention and 250 hours of community work for stealing funds managed 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 funds raised by NZDF members for the health, wellbeing and retention of army personnel.

Ms Rangiuia was sentenced on June 24, 2020 in the Palmerston North District Court.

She had pleaded guilty previously to one representative charge of ‘Theft by person in a special relationship’ and one representative charge of ‘False accounting’ brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

SFO Chief Executive Julie Read said that Ms Rangiuia abused her position of trust to steal a significant amount of charitable funds while she was employed at Waiouru.

“The defendant stole the funds which were raised by army personnel for her own benefit, spending most of the money on gambling. This was not spur of the moment offending but a course of conduct which continued over years,” she said.

Army Non-Public Funds

Ms Rangiuia 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.

Non-public funds are raised by army personnel through fundraising 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.

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