Four men and an incorporated society have been found guilty of 21 charges related to the misuse of funding from gambling grants derived from pokie machines.
Rakesh Chand, Pradeep Chand, Richard Kumar and Vijendra Prasad were found guilty in the Manukau District Court yesterday.
They had obtained grants on behalf of Shree Sanatan Dharam Prathindhi Sabha Manukau Branch Incorporated and Tavua Cultural and Sports Club Incorporated, Internal Affairs said in a statement.
The charges relate to 11 separate grants where the Department of Internal Affairs’ Gambling Group identified the defendants had submitted false quotes in order to obtain grant funding and failed to spend grant funding on authorised purposes.
They also failed to return grant funding not spent on authorised purposes and failed to properly account for the way grant funding was spent, including submitting false invoices and receipts.
"We aim to ensure the community gets the maximum benefit from gambling by detecting and deterring fraudulent activity in gambling-related fundraising," Chris Thornborough, the Department’s Director of Gambling, said.
"These convictions show that our team of regulators, investigators, and solicitors can, and will, catch and prosecute individuals who fail to comply with rules around community grants, or attempt to falsify records as these grant recipients did," Mr Thornborough said.
Rakesh and Pradeep Chand were found guilty of obstruction offences after asking individuals they knew would be questioned in the Department’s investigation to lie.
The defendants have been remanded on bail to sentencing on 14 March at the Manukau District Court.