The third defendant in the gaming machine fraud case known as Operation Chestnut was sentenced to the maximum period of home detention (12 months) in the Wellington High Court today.
Paul Anthony Max (60), of Nelson, had been found guilty on three charges of obtaining by deception and had spent six weeks in custody before sentencing.
His co-defendants were sentenced on 13 July – Michael O’Brien (58) of Blenheim, to 4-1/2 years’ prison on five charges and Kevin Coffey (57) of Hastings, to 12 months’ home detention on one charge.
The long-running inquiry into the manipulation of gambling licences and grants was initiated by the Department of Internal Affairs and prosecuted by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The Police’s Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ) were also involved.
Now that the criminal prosecution for Operation Chestnut has come to an end the Department is assessing the judgement and focusing on the lessons that can be learned from the investigation.
The Department will continue to address harm caused by wilful and significant non-compliance. It notes that the substantial sentences illustrate how seriously the courts view the misappropriation of community funds and the deliberate misleading of a regulator.