How a Queenstowner defrauded the National Sevens of $60,000

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A Wakatipu man has pleaded guilty to defrauding Queenstown’s National Sevens charity tournament of more than $60,000. 

A guilty plea on behalf of Arrowtowner Richie Anderson, formerly the secretary for the tournament’s organising committee Sevens with Altitude, was lodged in Queenstown District Court today (Monday). 

Anderson, 50, admitted deceiving the committee on separate occasions between January 26, 2009 and October 6, 2010 to the tune of $62,431.05.

A summary of facts released to media by Judge Turner details what took place. It notes in the first instance in January, 2009, Anderson requested that a $11,289.40 booking commission refund from Mercure Queenstown Resort be paid directly to him. The amount was to have been paid by cheque directly into the Sevens committee’s account. 

In December, 2009, Anderson, a local real estate agent, used his credit card to pay $120,089.55 to Mercure for player accommodation for January 2010. 

Anderson later invoiced the Sevens committee treasurer for $129,428, depositing a signed cheque for that amount into his own account, the summary says. 

Regarding flights costs for the 2010 tournament, Air New Zealand had emailed Anderson a spreadsheet showing the total travel cost to be $128,270 – he paid this using his credit card. 

Anderson had presented the Sevens committee treasurer with a spreadsheet showing a total charge of $148,942.20 and been reimbursed for that amount in separate payments from June 6 to December 16, 2009. 

An Air NZ spreadsheet for the January 2011 tournament showed travel costs of $108,903. Anderson had presented a spreadsheet to the treasurer showing travel costs of $130,034 – and he was reimbursed this amount between August 5 and October 6, 2010. 

The summary says when spoken to by police, Anderson said regarding the 2010 player accommodation, he kept about $9000 as his commission. Anderson admitted to police that he banked the 2009 commission of $11,289.40 into his own account.
 
Anderson couldn’t explain the Air NZ payment irregularities, the summary says. 

“In explanation for his action, the defendant stated he did the bulk of the organisation for the yearly sevens tournament and that he was repaying money back to the committee,” the summary says. 

It finishes by noting Anderson has made some reparation payments and the outstanding amount is $48,601.59. 

Any money raised by the committee behind the sevens event is donated to Otago Country rugby, Otago rugby and local clubs. 

Anderson had been involved since the sevens was first brought to Queenstown in 2003 and is described in the summary as the main organiser who oversaw the entire event 

Anderson is scheduled to be sentenced in Queenstown District Court on September 10.