5 Dec 2008

Pair found guilty of $17m Otago DHB fraud

11:19 pm on 5 December 2008

Two men have been found guilty of defrauding the Otago District Health Board of $17 million between 2000 and 2006.

The board's former IT manager Mike Swann received 90% of the money and his friend, Queenstown surveyor Kerry Harford, retained 10%.

The men admit receiving the money, but denied that it was fraud.

After a three-week trial a the High Court in Dunedin, the jury of eight women and four men spent 10 hours deliberating on Friday.

At 10.30pm they returned their verdicts, finding Swann and Harford guilty on each of the three charges they faced.

Justice Stevens convicted the pair and ordered pre-sentence and reparation reports. He remanded them in custody for sentencing on a date yet to be set.

The Crown said Swann and Harford knew they were operating a sham, but the defence argued the pair thought the arrangement was above-board.