New Zealand Law Society - Ex-administrator admits $225,000 fraud of army charity

Ex-administrator admits $225,000 fraud of army charity

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A former Defence Force employee has pleaded guilty to stealing non-public funds administered by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) while she was employed by the organisation.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) says Paniparewhakaro Elizabeth Rangiuia (60) embezzled about $225,000 over seven years from accounts holding money raised by NZDF members for the health, wellbeing and retention of army personnel. The Army Non-Public Funds are a registered charity under the Charities Act 2005.

Ms Rangiuia pleaded guilty to one representative charge of ‘Theft by person in a special relationship’ and one charge of ‘False accounting’ brought by the SFO. It says Ms Rangiuia gambled much of the money she stole.

“Ms Rangiuia was solely responsible for administering these charitable funds at Waiouru. The defendant abused her position of trust to steal a significant amount of funds raised by army personnel,” says the Director of the SFO, Julie Read.

Ms Rangiuia was remanded on bail to reappear in the Palmerston North District Court for sentencing on 24 June.