13 May 2020

Accountant who defrauded 245 clients jailed

1:31 pm on 13 May 2020

A former chartered accountant who stole a million dollars from his clients has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Outside the Auckland District Court on Albert Street.

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Christopher George Wright has been sentenced today in the Auckland District Court, after earlier pleading guilty to a representative charge of theft by a person in a special relationship.

Tax refunds intended for Wright's clients ended up in his accounting practice's trust account, the Serious Fraud Office said.

The 64-year-old Auckland man then 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, the SFO said.

SFO director Julie Read said Wright breached his professional duties and deceived his clients for personal gain.

"His offending was a significant breach of trust and he will now suffer the consequences of his actions," she said.