Sentenced for pokie grant fraud

Press Release – Department Of Internal Affairs

A company director who falsified applications for grants from a gaming machine society has been sentenced to six months community detention and 400 hours community work. He also has to repay more than $47,000 to the society for return to the community.Media release

30 September 2015

Sentenced for pokie grant fraud

A company director who falsified applications for grants from a gaming machine society has been sentenced to six months community detention and 400 hours community work. He also has to repay more than $47,000 to the society for return to the community.

Jeffrey Michael Horne, 55, company director, pleaded guilty to a representative charge of dishonestly using a document to obtain grants from gaming machine society First Sovereign Trust.

Between November 2004 and October 2009 FST granted $667,309.30 to Water Rescue New Zealand, an incorporated society formed by Mr Horne to assist with jet boat marathons and other associated events.

Crown prosecutor, Heather McKenzie, told the court Mr Horne falsely signed grant applications as another Water Rescue member, created false resolutions and minutes, signed them in the name of the president, and altered quotations and invoices.

“This enabled the defendant to obtain grant funding for Water Rescue and his associates that would otherwise have been available for distribution to authorised purposes in the community,” Dr McKenzie said.

Mr Horne personally benefitted through payments totalling $47,246.80 to his personal account, his IT company and to suppliers for the construction of a jet boat used by him for an expedition in India. His associates directly benefitted from eight grants totalling almost $228,000 for the construction and maintenance of racing boats and payments from Mr Horne. In July 2012 Mr Horne arranged for Water Rescue’s assets to be transferred to Maketu Coast Guard.

The court ordered Mr Horne to repay the $47,000 to First Sovereign Trust for return to the community.

Internal Affairs’ Regulatory Investigations Manager, Gareth Bostock, welcomed the conviction.

“It is fundamental to the integrity of the pokie grants process that documents supplied to gambling trusts are true and correct,” he said.

“We want to ensure that community groups have fair access to gambling-generated funds and will take action when attempts to capture funding are detected. Rorting the system means that legitimate community causes miss out.”
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