30 Jan 2010

Meads shocked at IHC fraud

8:55 am on 30 January 2010

Legendary All Black Sir Colin Meads says he will continue to support IHC, despite the fraud carried out by a former key staff member of the organisation.

Lynn Fiebig, 56, who worked for IHC, appeared in the Wellington District Court on Friday where she admitted defrauding it of nearly $600,000.

Sir Colin was enlisted by Fiebig to be the face of a fundraising scheme for the organisation which provides support for intellectually disabled people and their families.

He says the offending came as a huge shock but is relieved Fiebig spared the organisation further pain by pleading guilty.

"She'll come up for sentencing ... that's in other people's hands, and we'll just get on with doing what we've done in the past."

Some IHC caregivers have told Radio New Zealand they're angry the offending went undetected for so long.

Bogus companies

Between October 2006 and May 2009, Fiebig created 74 invoices from three bogus companies, making $590,029.80 from her fraudulent activities.

In court on Friday, Fiebig has admitted 72 charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage.

Judge Paul Barber entered convictions on all charges and remanded Fiebig on bail to the five-star lodge she and her partner run in Ohakune. She will be sentenced on 26 March.

The charge sheets dating from mid-2006 until mid-2009 show Fiebig used invoices from various companies to gain thousands of dollars at a time.

IHC chief executive Ralph Jones says though that amount is small compared with the annual turnover, it is still significant at a time when the organisation is cash-strapped.

Mr Jones says IHC does a superb job of helping those with intellectual disabilities and hopes people stay focused on that.

IHC will be seeking full reparation through the court.