Waitangi National Trust fraudster sentenced to over three years for stealing $1.2m

The man who stole $1.2 million from the trust which operates the Waitangi Treaty Grounds has been sentenced to three years and eight months behind bars.

Wallace Te Ahuru used the cash to fund a high-flying lifestyle, including a luxury car, first class travel and cosmetic surgery.

The 31-year-old was sentenced in Papakura District Court this afternoon on two charges of obtaining by deception and seven charges of using forged documents.  

Te Ahuru misappropriated about $1.2 million from the Waitangi National Trust while he was employed as its corporate services manager. 

He was responsible for the financial administration of the trust in that role. 

The Serious Fraud Office, which brought the charges, says Te Ahuru is believed to have acted alone in the offending.

The Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Julie Read, said the sentence imposed today reflects the seriousness of the offending, which cost the Waitangi National Trust more than $1 million in cash reserves. 

"Mr Te Ahuru’s offending had a significant impact on his former colleagues, many of whom had treated him like a family member," Ms Read said. 

"His selfish actions have caused them stress and shame, and they must now work to rebuild the finances and reputation of the trust. 

"This case is a timely reminder to all organisations about the importance of having robust internal controls," she said.

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Wallace Tamamotu Te Ahuru was open about where his accent comes from as he apologised for fraud that could see him jailed. Source: 1 NEWS