New Zealand Law Society - Former accountant charged by SFO with $1 million fraud

Former accountant charged by SFO with $1 million fraud

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Former chartered accountant Christopher George Wright, 62, has appeared in the Auckland District Court charged with theft by a person in a special relationship.

The Serious Fraud Office says it alleges that Mr Wright filed tax returns on behalf of his clients and misappropriated refunds of about $1.01 million.

It says Mr Wright is believed to have defrauded 245 clients over a six-year period from January 2010 to April 2016.

The defendant entered no plea to the representative charge under section 220 of the Crimes Act 1961. He has been remanded on bail to reappear at the Auckland District Court on 4 October.

The SFO is asking anyone who employed Mr Wright as their accountant and who believes he may have stolen their tax returns, to contact it by email:

The SFO says Mr Wright's membership of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants was suspended on 26 April 2016 after a complaint to the Institute.

It says the Professional Conduct Committee subsequently filed charges alleging ‘professional misconduct’ and ‘negligence or incompetence’ that where heard by NZICA’s disciplinary tribunal in December 2016. Mr Wright pleaded ‘guilty by correspondence’ to those charges brought before the disciplinary tribunal.

The disciplinary tribunal removed Mr Wright’s name from the register of NZICA members and imposed costs of $56,853.