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Former accountant awaits verdict

Former director of Hobbs Rose Limited (Hobbs Rose), Gary Malcolm Hobbs (45), was found guilty by a jury in the Hamilton District Court last month, facing 14 criminal charges brought against him by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in November 2011.

The charges of theft by a person in a special relationship against Mr Hobbs, related to funds totalling over $320,000.

He will be sentenced on February 15, 2013.

At the time of the theft, Mr Hobbs was a director of Hobbs Rose, an accountancy firm based in Te Awamutu.

The SFO investigation concluded that Mr Hobbs stole funds from two of his clients’ bank accounts and used those funds in part for the benefit of his own accountancy firm and for another company (South American Tobacco Group NZ Limited), of which he was a Director.

The complaints

In September 2010, the SFO received a referral relating to complaints made by clients of Hobbs Rose Limited alleging that Mr Hobbs had misappropriated funds they had invested with South American Tobacco Group NZ Limited.

Some clients had also alleged that Mr Hobbs had withdrawn funds from their bank accounts without their knowledge or authorisation.

SFO Acting Chief Executive Simon McArley underlined the importance that his Office had placed on this prosecution,

“As a trusted advisor, Mr Hobbs let his clients down. This not only impacted directly on them but at a local level, it undermines the good faith that people should be able to place in professional services such as chartered accountants.”

Mr Hobbs was a qualified chartered accountant and a member of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA).

Following an NZICA investigation into Hobbs Rose and allegations of client funds being mismanaged, Mr Hobbs’ NZICA membership was cancelled in 2010 and his name removed permanently from the NZICA register of members.

Serious Fraud Office Press Release

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