27 Feb 2014

Gambling trust man's sentence 'not much of a deterrent'

1:46 pm on 27 February 2014

The Problem Gambling Foundation says a sentence given to a gambling trust administrator for misusing almost $2 million is extremely light and won't be a deterrent.

Daniel Joseph Clifford, who's 58, has been sentenced in the Manukau District Court to nine months' home detention and 200 hours' community work after pleading guilty to a representative charge of dishonestly using a document.

The Department of Internal Affairs says he failed to return money to the community, and paid $1.72 million to a company of which he was the sole director.

The foundation's chief executive, Graeme Ramsey, says there are problems within gambling trusts and there aren't enough prosecutions in cases where fraudulence is involved.

"What worries me here," he says, "is that the extremely light sentence that has been given is not going to be much of a deterrent for people continuing to rort the sector."

The department says the court could not order reparation, as the trust Clifford was involved in has been wound up, but he will pay four charities $5000 each.

A South Auckland community leader, Mua Strickson-Pua, says groups have been betrayed by Clifford and trust has been broken, because money intended for charities to help low-income families was taken from them.

Reverend Pua says gambling is breaking families and is a critical issue in the Pasifika community.