3 Oct 2013

Council worker jailed for fake invoices

8:41 pm on 3 October 2013

A former North Shore City Council employee has been jailed for his part in a scam that involved thefts of more than $600,000 dollars of ratepayers' money.

Hermant Kumar Maharaj, a civil engineer who worked for the now defunct council, signed off on fake invoices for road and berm maintenance which was never carried out.

Maharaj was sentenced to two years and 10 months in jail when he appeared in the Auckland District Court on Thursday.

He was also convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice by creating a false diary and receipt book.

Co-offender Suresh Din submitted the invoices for the work, which was either never carried out or was worth far less than what he charged.

Din was sentenced to 10 months home detention.

Judge Brooke Gibson took time off both men's sentences because they have each paid $70,000 in reparation.

Council hopeful of recovering funds

Auckland Council is hopeful ratepayers will not be out of pocket over the fraud.

Lawyer for the council James Hassall says the pair's assets, including their homes, have been frozen, and it's hoped to recover the cost of the investigation and the prosecution, as well as the stolen money.