Convicted Queenstown fraudster back in court

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The Queenstown man jailed for his part in New Zealand’s then-biggest corporate fraud was back in court today – for allegedly breaching his parole conditons.

Kerry Gray Harford denies two charges of failing to comply with conditions of his sentence under the Parole Act after getting a job in Christchurch and moving from his address allegedly without authorisation of community probation.

The 51-year-old surveyor, who was jailed in December 2008 for defrauding Otago District Health Board for $17 million along with friend Michael Andrew Swann, was released after serving one year and six months at Milton Prison.

Harford’s company Sonnford Solutions invoiced the ODHB 196 times between August 200-August 2006 for money in return for IT goods and services. ODHB employee Swann, the mastermind of the fraud, is still serving his sentence of nine-and-a-half years.

Representing himself in Queenstown District Court today (Monday), Harford told the court that he thought a verbal conversation with his probation officer – after the fact that he’d got a job in Christchurch – would clear him to take up employment.

He argued that his residence hasn’t changed because he still lives at his $800,000 Frankton home at weekends, commuting to Christchurch during the week.

Judge Dominic Flatley told Harford: “It’s not for you to decide where you can and where you can’t live…or what you will or won’t be doing whilst on parole.”

Harford doesn’t have any written proof saying that it was ok for him to get a job before he went ahead and got one – but probation has subsequently approved his situation and he’s allowed to work.

Harford will reappear with his Wellington lawyer for a defended hearing on September 6.