A Queenstown business owner who withheld almost $160,000 in taxes from Inland Revenue has been convicted and fined.
Australian Naomi Ann Wooldridge, 26, was the sole director of Job Shop Employment Solutions – a firm which provided staff for a Queenstown call centre she also ran.
For 11 months, from June 2009 to April 2010, Job Shop failed to pay its employees’ PAYE deductions to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.
The money was used instead to pay creditors and staff wages.
Wooldridge pleaded guilty and was convicted at Queenstown District Court this afternoon. She was fined $17,000 and costs.
Judge Michael Turner says: “The non-payment of PAYE is not a victimless crime.
“The victim is every New Zealand citizen. Effectively, not paying the Commissioner is theft from every New Zealand citizen.”
Wooldridge, sobbing in the dock, had since paid the total balance of $159,645 to the Commissioner, along with the substantial interest and penalties accrued.
The offence carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and $50,000 fine for each charge.
Turner said he regarded Wooldridge’s offending as serious, persistent and deliberate but he accepted she was naïve, taking over the business from her bankrupt father, and was unlikely to ever appear before the courts again.
Defence counsel Nic Soper said Wooldridge was deeply sorry for her actions and had certainly learnt her lesson.
Job Shop provided backpacker and other itinerant workers for cold calling centre Salescorp Marketing Solutions. They no longer operate in Queenstown.
Violent street fighter convicted
An Englishman who landed a roundhouse kick to his victim’s head during a nasty street brawl in Queenstown has been convicted.
Kieron Milan Gligorijevic, 24, of Huff Street, Queenstown, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to injure.
The construction worker was involved in a mass drunken fracas inside and outside McDonald’s, Queenstown CBD, in the early hours of Sunday, March 18.
Gilgorijevic had been punched in the head twice himself by his victim before he retaliated – using his martial arts training to land two punches and a roundhouse kick to the head.
The victim, who had also punched Gilgorijevic’s friend, hit his head on the pavement. It was not clear whether he had been knocked out by the kick or subsequent fall.
Judge Michael Turner says: “It is fortunate there were not more tragic consequences. Many people die as a result of such altercations and you could have been facing manslaughter charges.
“It was not good management on your part but good luck that that outcome didn’t occur. Your conduct could easily have resulted in fatal injuries.”
Turner says even though Gilgorijevic had been hit himself his actions went far beyond what would be considered an appropriate response.
Defence counsel Phena Byrne said her client had not tried to argue self-defence but sought a discharge without conviction because the consequences – not having his work visa renewed – were not proportionate to the gravity of the offending.
The victim suffered concussion and was hospitalised, needing two days off work and two weeks to recover, but there was no lasting damage.
Gilgorijevic was sentenced to 90 hours’ community work at Queenstown District Court this afternoon (Monday).