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Accountant jailed for defrauding clients of $1 million

A former chartered accountant has been sentenced to three years and nine months’ imprisonment for stealing approximately $1.01 million from his clients.

Christopher George Wright (64) misappropriated refunds from his clients on whose behalf he filed tax returns and received refunds.

The tax refunds intended for Mr Wright’s clients were deposited in his accounting practice’s trust account. The Auckland man spent the refunds on gambling, friends and family, school fees and loan repayments. He defrauded about 245 clients over a six-year period from January 2010 to April 2016.

Mr Wright was sentenced today at the Auckland District Court. He had pleaded guilty previously to one representative charge of ‘Theft by person in special relationship’ brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

The Director of the SFO, Julie Read, said, “The sentence reflects the seriousness of offending which was premeditated, repetitive and long running. Mr Wright breached his professional duties and deceived his clients for personal gain of more than $1 million. His offending was a significant breach of trust and he will now suffer the consequences of his actions. The prosecution of such matters is an important aspect of protecting New Zealand’s reputation as a safe place to invest and do business.”

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