7 Dec 2010

Hamilton school official pleads guilty to fraud

4:19 pm on 7 December 2010

A former executive officer of Fraser High School in Hamilton has pleaded guilty to six fraud charges.

James Branton was charged with two counts of false accounting and four of using a document for pecuniary advantage.

On pleading guilty in Hamilton District Court on Tuesday, Mr Branton told the community magistrate that no pecuniary advantage came his way.

The charges relate to public money allegedly being used for private purposes, including work at the home and holiday home of the principal.

In five of the six counts, Mr Branton is jointly charged with the school's former principal Martin Elliott.

Mr Elliott faces a total of 63 fraud-related charges and one of money laundering. He will appear in court in January for a post committal hearing before a trial later next year.

Mr Branton will be sentenced on 21 January.

Branton's lawyer says his client didn't gain financially. Speaking outside court, Stephen Williams said his client had co-operated fully with police.

Mr Williams says the investigation has been long and complex.