21 Apr 2015

Alex Swney pleads guilty to defrauding Heart of City

5:30 pm on 21 April 2015

The sacked head of Auckland's downtown promotion agency Alex Swney has pleaded guilty to a new charge of fraud, involving more than $2.5 million.

Alex Swney leaving court, 21 April.

Alex Swney leaving court. Photo: RNZ / Kate Newton

Mr Swney today appeared at Auckland District Court where he admitted dishonestly creating false invoices over a 10-year period to obtain money from the Heart of the City agency.

The charge was brought by the Serious Fraud Office, with director Julie Read saying Mr Swney dishonestly obtained funds to which he knew he was not entitled.

Mr Swney has already pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges laid by the Inland Revenue Department, involving nearly $1.8 million. He will be sentenced on those charges next week.

Heart of the City current chairman Terry Gould said they were angry at the level of deceit and the scale of the theft.

He said the group was also taking unspecified civil action against Mr Swney, who was sacked from the agency he founded and headed it for nearly 20 years.

Mr Gould said they accepted, however, they had very little chance of recovering the full amount lost.

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