Jail imposed for cheating foreign workers

Court House-Sept-2013-07A man who ripped off foreign workers seeking jobs through a Christchurch agency and then gambled the money away has been jailed for 20 months.

Craig Lawerence Dunn, 40, has been told to pay reparations totalling $18,354 in instalments beginning three months after his prison release.

Most of the reparations will go to the agency where he was a recruitment consultant, Canstaff, which has already repaid the 17 temporary workers Dunn ripped off.

Most of the victims were foreign nationals who had recently arrived in New Zealand on working holiday visas. Dunn took cash payments from them for immigration and for visa fees, and for work-related courses he said were necessary to secure employment. He did not enrol them in any courses and they did not get work through Canstaff.

Dunn admitted 17 charges of obtaining money by deception, and two of dishonestly using documents.

Defence counsel Glenn Dixon said Dunn had an offer of work as a landscaper and offered to pay reparations at $200 a week. He had attended 20 sessions at a problem gambling counselling course.

But Judge Brian Callaghan noted that Dunn had received a sentence of intensive supervision and community detention in 2010 on 11 charges of theft by a person in a special relationship. Reparation from that offending was paid.

He said: “This seems to be a repetition largely brought on, I suspect, by a relationship breakdown, and probably gambling and substance abuse.”

“Canstaff has suffered greatly, as one can appreciate, because its reputation has been sullied by this type of behaviour by you,” said the judge.

He noted that the company had repaid the workers who were Dunn’s victims.

When interviewed by police, Dunn said he lied to the workers about the purpose of the payments and had taken them for himself. He said he had gambled the money.

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