By GUY WILLIAMS
An ex-Queenstown property manager who swindled two women of more than $230,000 has avoided jail.
Matthew James Moller Christensen, 30, was employed in 2014 by Julie Jack to manage apartments at the Mantra Marina — now the Marina Apartments — the Oak Shores and Oaks Club complexes in Frankton Road.
In early 2016, without her knowledge, he entered a contract with Carole Greenwell to manage two Oaks Shore apartments she owned, and which were the highest-performing units across the complexes.
Between March 23, 2016 and May 22, 2018, the two apartments earned a total of $191,020.46 after commission and expenses were deducted, with the money being paid into a bank account set up to receive income from all the apartments.
However, Christensen was then transferring it into his personal bank account in a series of deposits.
In 2018, Jack learned of Christensen’s contract with Greenwell, and the two women began sharing information.
Their investigation revealed that of the $191,020.46 he had stolen from Jack, he had on-paid $152,641.98 to Greenwell.From that latter sum, he retained a total of $41,458.34 in commission — despite commission having already been deducted — thereby stealing that amount from Greenwell.
He was duly fired by Jack.
In November, Christensen admitted two charges of theft by a person in a special relationship after accepting a sentence indication of 15 months’ prison on the understanding it would likely be converted to home detention if a pre-sentence report was favourable.
The defendant, who now lives in Auckland, appeared in Queenstown’s court by video link this week for sentencing by Judge Russell Walker.
Walker said the report found his offending was the result of ‘‘poor problem-solving and a sense of entitlement’’.
While he had no previous criminal history, and accepted his actions were wrong, he’d shown a ‘‘self-serving’’ attitude by refusing to provide more information about the offending.
He must serve seven months’ home detention at an Auckland address, and pay $41,458.34 in reparation to Greenwell.
The judge ordered $15,000 of that be paid immediately and the rest drip-fed in $1000-per-month instalments.
Walker also imposed post-etention conditions for six months.
Rules around that included a requirement not to engage in any employment, business or voluntary work without permission from the probation service.
Jack is the daughter of Ross Wensley, a prolific apartment developer in the resort for about 15 years from the mid-1990s.
His company Wensley Developments came unstuck developing the Marina Apartments and was placed in liquidation in 2009.