Stephen Henare, 62, has been sentenced to five years and two months' imprisonment on charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office.
The SFO says Mr Henare was sentenced in the High Court in Auckland on five counts of ‘Theft by person in special relationship’ (section 220 of the Crimes Act 1961) and one count of ‘Attempting to pervert the course of justice’ (section 117).
It says Mr Henare used his position as a trustee of Parengarenga 3G Trust (P3G Trust) to strip the entity of approximately $1.08 million. The funds were primarily intended for the management of a 512-hectare block of land that was used by the trust for a commercial forestry venture.
"During the time of his offending, Mr Henare lied to the Māori Land Court about the financial position of the trust. An application to replace him as a trustee was subsequently dismissed. Mr Henare went on use his position to steal the remaining $400,000 of the P3G Trust’s cash," the SFO says.
"Mr Henare was assisted in much of his offending by his sister, Margaret Dixon, who was also a trustee of P3G Trust. Ms Dixon pleaded guilty last year to defrauding the trust. She was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention and ordered to pay $5,000 in reparation."