Internal Affairs officials are welcoming the conviction of a former gaming machine society trustee, saying the $364,000 of pokie machine money he stole should have gone to the community.
Alvin Shane Cosgrave, 66, of Auckland, a former trustee of the defunct South Auckland Charitable Trust, changed his plea to guilty in Manukau District Court last week on seven charges of theft. He will be sentenced on September 28.
In September 2007, the Internal Affairs Department decided not to renew the trust's gambling operator's licence because its financial viability was in doubt and Cosgrave should not have been managing day-to-day activities while being a trustee, the court was told.
The trust sold its operation to the Lion Foundation and said it would stop operating in June 2008. In November 2007, aware that its licence was not going to be renewed, the trust entered into an agreement with Cosgrave's company, Integrated Commercial Solutions Ltd (ICS).
The agreement was drawn up, under Cosgrave's instructions, on favourable terms to ICS providing for compensation of $681,584.10 should the trust cease gambling operations.
An Internal Affairs accountant reviewed the trust's financial statements and found that many of the costs paid to Cosgrave and ICS were not actual or reasonable.
Internal Affairs gambling compliance director Debbie Despard welcomed the conviction, saying gaming machine society trustees were responsible for ensuring maximum funds were returned to the community.
"The money involved in this case should have been distributed as grants to the community. The Gambling Act makes it clear that the purpose of gambling is to benefit communities and those involved with running gaming machines in pubs and clubs are entitled only to costs that are actual, reasonable and necessary."
In April last year, a High Court judge ordered Cosgrave and ICS to repay $975,629.39 after Internal Affairs took a civil action.