Kerre McIvor on Alex Swney

Kerre McIvor thinks his excuses for his years of fraudulent offending were pathetic.

Alex Swney seemed a personable enough chap whenever I ran into him at events around Auckland City.

Clearly others saw through him, given his failure to be elected to any of the many public offices he sought, but I found him nice enough.

A little overtly hip, but then he was running Heart of the City, an organisation designed to promote central Auckland and the cool shops and businesses that made their home there. Those trendsetting stores have gone now – scattered to Ponsonby, Britomart and Newmarket – and so too has Swney.

He was sentenced to a five-year, seven-month prison term this week for stealing public money.

His reason? He thought he should have been paid more. (For the record, it’s believed his salary was around $200,000).

He felt he was an unsung hero, whose efforts to promote central Auckland had gone minimally rewarded. He was a bright light, a star, in the biggest city in the country and he wanted the lifestyle that went with his over-inflated sense of self.

And if Heart of the City wasn’t going to pay him enough to fund that lifestyle, then by crikey, he’d take the money himself.

Ratepayers? What did they matter? They were beige, ordinary people who didn’t have vision and big dreams like Swney.   Read more »

Swney gets five years in the pokie for his theft of $4M

Alex Swney is a piece of work. He basically nicked the money because he thought he was underpaid and entitled to more.

Alex Swney stole more than $4 million because he felt he was being underpaid for his work to improve Auckland, a court has heard.

The 57-year-old former Heart of the City boss was jailed for five years seven months in Auckland District Court this morning after pleading guilty to charges laid by the Inland Revenue and Serious Fraud Office covering “sophisticated” offending over more than a decade.

Judge Grant Fraser said the offending involved a “gross breach of trust” and was close to attracting a maximum penalty.

“All your offending involved a high level of premeditation where your actions were planned and deliberate involving . . . a sophisticated web of instruments,” he said.

But the judge refused to impose a minimum period of imprisonment because the jail term was enough in itself to hold him accountable.   Read more »

Are we there yet?

For 25 years we have had politicians, “scientists” and other vested interests all telling us that unless we do something, usually pay more taxes, then the planet is doomed.

Daily Caller lists all the deadlines to DO something to save the planet or else.

1. 2015 is the ‘last effective opportunity’ to stop catastrophic warming
World leaders meeting at the Vatican last week issued a statement saying that 2015 was the “last effective opportunity to negotiate arrangements that keep human-induced warming below 2-degrees [Celsius].”

Pope Francis wants to weigh in on global warming, and is expected to issue an encyclical saying basically the same thing. Francis will likely reiterate that 2015 is the last chance to stop massive warming.

But what he should really say is that the U.N. conference this year is the “last” chance to cut a deal to stem global warming… since last year when the U.N. said basically the same thing about 2014’s climate summit.

2. France’s foreign minister said we only have “500 days” to stop “climate chaos”
When Laurent Fabius met with Secretary of State John Kerry on May 13, 2014 to talk about world issues he said “we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos.”

Ironically at the time of Fabius’ comments, the U.N. had scheduled a climate summit to meet in Paris in December 2015 — some 565 days after his remarks. Looks like the U.N. is 65 days too late to save the world.

3. President Barack Obama is the last chance to stop global warming
When Obama made the campaign promise to “slow the rise of the oceans” some environmentalists may have taken him quite literally.

In 2012, the United Nations Foundation President Tim Wirth told Climatewire that Obama’s second term was “the last window of opportunity” to impose policies to restrict fossil fuel use. Wirth said it’s “the last chance we have to get anything approaching 2 degrees Centigrade,” adding that if “we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place.”

Even before that, then-National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center head James Hansen warned in 2009 that Obama only “has four years to save Earth.” I wonder what they now think about their predictions?   Read more »

Some people really are stupid

I find it hard to fathom how someone can let themselves get dudded and then run off to the media to tell the world that they got dudded by what is an obvious con.

Pensioner Mary Boyle has forgiven Steven Robertson since he repaid $29,000 she had handed over for a gold trading investment.

But she does not think of him fondly.

“I don’t know how on earth he lives with himself,” she said.

Boyle, a retired teacher in her 80s, became involved with Robertson after a brochure landed in her letterbox, followed by a phone call from a company called PTT.

It was a sales pitch for a gold trading scheme called Prosper Through Trading.    Read more »

Dud judge and a piss weak justice system let down victims

It is cases like this that show up the gullibility of our judges, and our dud criminal friendly justice system.

A fraudster who stole $5000 from Facebook customers to repay nearly $20,000 in TradeMe rip-offs claimed she didn’t realise she’d “done it again”.

Harriet Heather Anne Dale, 24, committed another $5000 worth of frauds before she was caught again, and she now faces a total reparation bill of more than $20,000.

Christchurch District Court Judge David Saunders’ assessment was that Dale was “living in La-La Land”, but he granted her a seven-month home detention term in place of a jail sentence.

He noted she had a five-year-old son who was cared for by her parents because she had been unable to cope, and she was again pregnant, and facing a sizeable reparations bill.    Read more »

Massive corporate corruption case threatens to spill over into NZ [UPDATED]

This article is subject to a complaint.  It is left mostly as published, with the indicated deletion in bold.  Additional information follows below this article.

A massive corporate corruption scandal has erupted in Australia involving Orix and Coca-Cola Amatil and sources say that this has the potential to spill over into New Zealand.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

The chief executive of billion-dollar fleet-management company Orix has been charged with paying corrupt commissions to an employee of beverage giant Coca-Cola Amatil.

In one of the biggest corporate scandals to hit Australia, police will allege Orix boss John Carter, 53, made corrupt payments of $504,000 to Coca-Cola Amatil’s fleet manager in exchange for vehicle leasing contracts.

Police told Fairfax Media they believe the scandal is far wider, possibly involving millions of dollars and years of corruption, and they are urging people to come forward with information.

Mr Carter was taken from his Vaucluse mansion to North Sydney police station at 10am on Thursday and charged with four counts of paying corrupt commissions and one count of money laundering.

The senior Orix manager who allegedly made the payments and the Coca-Cola fleet manager who allegedly accepted the corrupt payments were arrested a week ago.

Police allege Mr Carter was aware of four large deposits paid to the Coca-Cola fleet manager and allegedly advised his senior manager, a 58 year-old Illawong man, on how to make the payments.

The deposits were allegedly made between June 2014 and February 2015 into a secret bank account specifically set up for the scheme.    Read more »

Was registered. Convicted for fraud. Still registered

A Northland school teacher will be allowed to keep teaching despite admitting nearly $45,000 worth of benefit fraud.

Avalina Deonie Cook, 31, had been teaching at Whangarei’s Manaia View School when the school discovered her crime and alerted the Teachers Council.

She was sentenced to six months’ home detention and ordered to repay the money after being convicted of benefit fraud in Whangarei District Court last year.

A Teachers Council Disciplinary Tribunal decision, released today, reveals Ms Cook claimed nearly $45,000 from the unemployment, sickness and domestic purposes benefits, despite working at four childcare centres between 2007 and 2013.

The solo mother told the council she had convinced herself that because she was studying she did not have to tell authorities about her part-time work and she wanted her two sons to take part in sports.

She admitted she had broken the law but said it never affected her teaching. Read more »

It’s easy to beat cancer when you never had it in the first place

Some people are just pure evil, ratbags from start to finish.

They go through life living a fantasy and suing people who tell the truth about them…one of those people is currently before the courts and she will be named sooner rather than later after being arrested at Auckland airport.

But in Australia there is another who has done the same thing and hoodwinked thousands with her cancer survivor story…but it is easy to survive cancer when you never had it in the first place.

Elle called her ‘The most inspiring woman you’ve met this year’. She also won Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Female award for social media.


Single mother Belle Gibson supposedly beat a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer, shunning conventional medicine and focussing on a healthy diet. She then published a book and developed an app that told her story and showed others how to be healthy.

The story of her health battle is one that we now know was at best embellished and at worst was an outright lie.

Elle and Cosmo have written insider accounts of their experience with the young Brisbane mother… both admit to being thoroughly duped.

Cosmopolitan was right about one thing; Belle Gibson certainly is fearless.

Gibson has a top-rating health app that was set to be a default app on Apple’s new watch.

Its success and the empire she has built comes from her incredible story of triumph over adversity, of sickness into self-empowered health.

“She’s fun and fearless ‘cos: she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, but instead of giving in, it became the impetus for her dedication to health and wellbeing,” Cosmo wrote about their 2014 Fearless nominee. “Oh, and her app was named runner-up for the Best iPhone App of 2013 by Apple. Not bad, hey?”

Not bad at all. Except, as Fairfax revealed, Gibson failed to donate $300,000 of the money promised to charity from the sales of her health app, The Whole Pantry.

Claims then emerged that Gibson lied about ever having suffered from cancer.    Read more »

Sepuloni admits to defrauding the taxpayer


Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni’s mother has admitted to benefit fraud charges in the New Plymouth District Court today.

Beverley Anne Sepuloni appeared along with her partner Michael Charles Rangi and was charged with fraud worth almost $100,000, the New Zealand Herald reports.

Sepuloni faced 19 counts of fraud totalling $33, 856 while Rangi was charged with 4 counts totalling $62,351. Read more »

I’m sorry, I was wrong, I take it all back

It is not often that I am wrong, but when I am I will apologise.

I said that Andrew Little shouldn’t have stood Carmel Sepuloni down, I was wrong.

The reason I have changed my point of view is this:

1091 (2015). Carmel Sepuloni to the Associate Minister for Social Development (23 Feb 2015): What is the process that the Ministry uses for establishing whether suspected benefit fraud relating to a client having a partner despite saying they live alone, has taken place?

Hon Jo Goodhew (Associate Minister for Social Development) replied: Reply due: 03 Mar 2015

It would appear that Lindsay Mitchell was right in pointing out that Carmel Sepuloni has a history of interfering.

On one hand I can agree with the Whale that Carmel Sepuloni should not be punished for the (alleged) sins of her mother. Andrew Little has stood her down from the welfare portfolio because her mother is facing numerous benefit fraud charges, citing a “conflict of interests”.

On the other, Sepuloni has a history of getting directly involved with WINZ staff and interfering in their decisions.

In her own words, after intervening to get a benefit reinstated when someone volunteering in her office missed a WINZ seminar thereby breaking the rules of entitlement

Read more »