6 Aug 2010

Man jailed for stealing treatment centre money

8:33 pm on 6 August 2010

A man who ran a successful addiction treatment facility has been jailed for stealing health funding to fuel his own gambling habit.

Rodney Mason, of Christchurch, was jailed for three years and four months on Friday for the theft that saw the closure of the Vincentian Recovery Centre.

Mason, 57, took money the Canterbury District Health Board thought was paying for an addiction treatment programme and also stole money out of the centre's bank accounts by forging his former wife's signature.

The Christchurch District Court was told Mason funnelled over $300,000 through two TAB betting accounts from 2006 to 2008, at which time his salary totalled $130,000.

The fraud was picked up by a random Ministry of Health audit.

The DHB was left more than $600,000 out of pocket. Some of that has been repaid through the sale of the centre's property but the DHB is still owed over $400,000.

In court, the judge told Mason his offending meant 37 vulnerable people missed out on six-month-long residential treatment programmes.