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19 Feb 2018 6:41
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  •   Home > News > Law and Order

    Pair charged over Maori trust money

    A brother and sister have been charged with theft after more than $1 million was transferred from a trust managing a block of Maori land in Northland.


    A brother and sister have been charged over an alleged million-dollar fraud relating to a Northland forestry block of Maori land.

    Stephen Henare, 60, and Margaret Dixon, 59, face a total of 11 charges between them of theft by a person in a special relationship.

    The counts related to their roles as trustees for the Parengarenga 3G Trust.

    Henare appeared in the Auckland District Court on Thursday and was remanded on bail. Dixon failed to appear.

    The pair are next due back in court on November 21.

    Parengarenga 3G is a 511.83ha block in Taitokerau District and is managed by the Parengarenga 3G Trust.

    The Serious Fraud Office says the defendants and five others were appointed as trustees, in place of the Maori Trustee, in June 2012.

    Two months later, about $1.1 million, intended primarily for the management of the land and the forest for the benefit of the owners, was transferred from the Maori Trustee to the trust's bank accounts.

    The trust obtained a further $54,480 from the sale of carbon credits.

    The SFO alleges that, between August 2012 and January 2014, a series of unauthorised payments were made from the trust's bank accounts to the defendants, leaving debts due for the care of the forest unpaid.

    By January 2014, there was only $13.41 left of the funds.

    The SFO alleges that Henare, with Dixon's involvement, intentionally failed to deal with $934,270.30 of the trust's funds in accordance with the trust order.

    Significant sums of money were transferred into various other bank accounts, including their personal accounts and those of their respective family trusts.

    The SFO further alleges that Henare, without Dixon's involvement, intentionally failed to deal with an additional $149,627 in accordance with the trust order.


    NZN




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