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College staff member dupes it of $375k

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/06/2016

The former executive officer of Upper Hutt College has admitted fraudulently billing his own school for $375,000.

Donald John Hancox appeared in Wellington District Court on Tuesday facing 10 charges of obtaining by deception. He pleaded guilty to all 10 and his name suppression lapsed.

The 68-year-old controlled the finances of Upper Hutt College from 1994 until his retirement in 2014.

According to the Serious Fraud Office, which brought the charges, from 2007 when the college was carrying out building work, Hancox created and submitted false invoices for goods and services from various entities.

He then directed payments to his own bank accounts. The offending involved 77 invoices and totalled about $375,000.

SFO director Julie Read says Hancox was away when a contractor voiced concerns about an unpaid invoice, sparking a financial probe.

"A common flaw when someone who has control over the approval and payment of invoices and has been committing fraud is that gaps can appear in their system when they are not around."

Hancox will be sentenced in Hutt Valley District Court on July 13.

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