18 Sep 2012

Former accounts manager admits stealing from uni

12:20 pm on 18 September 2012

A former accounts manager at the University of Otago has pleaded guilty to stealing $238,846.

Eight charges were laid against Graeme Pettitt for dishonestly accessing the university's accounting system and paying the money out in false invoices.

A police summary of facts says Pettitt made 72 payments over the past eight years to meet a gambling addiction.

The university discovered the fraud in June this year.

The 61-year-old appeared in the Dunedin District Court on Tuesday morning for the first time and pleaded guilty to all charges.

His lawyer says Pettitt is being treated for a gambling addiction, has given up his superannuation fund and put his house on the market to repay the money.

Judge Stephen Coyle acknowledged those actions and an early guilty plea, but rejected an application for bail, saying there is a distinct possibility that Pettitt will be sent to prison.

Pettitt is due to be sentenced on 23 October.