20 Sep 2017

Convicted ADHB fraudster sentenced to community work

3:10 pm on 20 September 2017

A former DHB manager who stole money and billed for security at his daughter's birthday party has been sentenced to community service and a curfew.

Stephen John Paterson appeared at Auckland District Court today for sentencing after being found guilty of theft, causing loss by deception and 33 charges of dishonestly using documents.

Paterson approved $55,000 overtime for a security guard friend of his, despite the security work not being done.

He was also found guilty of organising the scraping of old hospital beds for over $700 and depositing the money in a social fund.

Paterson also hired security and a linen company to work at his daughter's birthday party, charging the board the $1800 cost.

Paterson's lawyer Annabel Maxwell-Smith said her client had been out of work since the offending was detected in 2012.

She said since then Paterson's wife had died of cancer and he had been unable to get another job.

Ms Maxwell-Scott said the motivation for the offending appeared to be to give his colleagues "a leg-up".

She said Paterson's father and aunt are Justices of the Peace and his father is on the trust boards of three DHBs. The matter had been a fall from grace for her client.

In sentencing, Judge Mary Beth Sharp acknowledged the case was highly unusual because Paterson did not personally benefit from the offending that happened over three years.

"What I did observe at trial was that Mr Paterson appeared to be quite cock-sure and arrogant about his position, responsibilities and obligations. It seemed to me, having worked his way up in the hospital from orderly to senior administrator, he had become reckless as to his need to be diligent and extremely cautious spending public money."

Judge Sharp added a curfew to the sentence to send a message that mis-spending public money would not be tolerated.

The judge also noted that Paterson had been cleared of other charges but said the money he misappropriated should have gone to providing health care for the Auckland public.

As well as the 200 hours of community work and the curfew, the judge also ordered him to pay back the $1800 to the ADHB for the security work at his daughter's birthday.

Vasu Munsamy, a security manager who benefited from Paterson's offending, will be sentenced at a later date.

The company Munsamy worked for, First Security, has reached a $75,000 settlement with the health board to cover Munsamy and another security guard's overtime payments.