New Zealand Law Society - Former accountant pleads not guilty to $1 million fraud charges

Former accountant pleads not guilty to $1 million fraud charges

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The Serious Fraud Office says former chartered accountant Christopher George Wright, 62, has pleaded not guilty to charges it has brought.

It alleges that Mr Wright filed tax returns on behalf of his clients and misappropriated refunds of about $1.01 million. The defendant is believed to have defrauded 245 clients over a six year period from January 2010 to April 2016.

Mr Wright is charged with one representative charge under section 220 of the Crimes Act 1961 of ‘Theft by person in special relationship’.

He has been remanded on bail to reappear for a case review hearing at the Auckland District Court on 12 March 2019.

The SFO says that after a complaint made to New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA), Christopher Wright’s membership of the institute was suspended on 26 April 2016.

It says the Professional Conduct Committee subsequently filed charges alleging ‘professional misconduct’ and ‘negligence or incompetence’ that were 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.

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