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Christchurch Venue Manager Admits Stealing $110K in Fake Grant Funds

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A former sports director and gambling venue manager in Christchurch, New Zealand, is facing nearly 40 charges for allegedly stealing more than NZ$180,000 ($109,300) in gambling grants. The case involves a person with the initials M.C., who reportedly stole $182,761 ($111,000) in class 4 grants. The fraudulent activity, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) says, has been ongoing for two years.

Currently, the 59-year-old man is facing 39 charges in total. On Tuesday this week, the man reportedly pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonest use of documents, 11 counts of theft by a person with a special relationship, as well as 26 charges of forgery.

Upon investigation, the prosecution uncovered that the Christchurch man was involved in the creation of fake grant applications on behalf of different recipients. This enabled him to gain access to grant funding. But once funding was secured, the man would transfer the money to his personal account.

To conceal the fraudulent activity, the man allegedly forged documents such as bank records and invoices. Subsequently, those documents were sent to the Air Rescue Service (ARS) in an effort to conceal the fraudulent activity. Although the man did not sign the documents himself, he asked employees, including authorized personnel to put their signatures on the fraudulent statements.

The Abuse Deprived Legitimate Organizations from Grant Funding

The investigation into the man’s fraudulent activity by the DIA uncovered that the crime occurred between 2018 and 2020. In an unelaborate attempt, the person allegedly created grant applications on behalf of different organizations and subsequently obtained the money from those grants for himself.

Vicki Scott, the Internal Affairs’ director for gambling, who was recently interviewed by 1news, revealed that the offense of the 59-year-old is the most serious one for the gambling system. She confirmed that the person was “motivated by greed” and his actions were deliberate.

According to Scott, the gambling manager’s actions deprived “legitimate community organizations of grant funding.” Finally, the expert said that such actions are obviously against the law and undermine the integrity of the gambling system.

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