Client manager for estate firm admits theft

Court House-doorwayA client manager for an estate management firm used unattended computers at his office to transfer $66,634 to his own accounts, the Christchurch District Court was told.

Robert Thomas Clark, 44, pleaded guilty to the charge of theft by a person in a special relationship, while he was employed by Perpetual Guardian at its Christchurch office.

Judge David Saunders said the court would be concerned about the level of the offending and the breach of trust, when he remanded Clark on bail for sentencing on February17.

He referred the case for a possible restorative justice meeting between Clark and his former employer, and for a pre-sentence report.

The report will cover Clark’s suitability for a home detention sentence, and the issue of reparation. Clark told the judge there was now a reparation agreement in place with Perpetual Guardian.

During his remand, Clark has been told he must surrender his passport and not apply for travel documents.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Paul Scott said Clark was employed as a client manager from November 2015. He managed a portfolio of clients doing tasks including collection of income, payment of invoices for goods and services, management of investments, and preparation of annual accounts and tax returns.

On April 20, a suspicious transaction was identified by an employee, and an investigation showed 39 unapproved transactions from January 8 to March 15, totalling $66,634.

Clark misappropriated funds by performing transactions from client accounts, into his bank accounts, a finance company account, and a Telecom account in his own name.

“He processed the transactions and approved them using unattended employee computers within the office,” said Sergeant Scott.

His employment was terminated on May 3 after a meeting with his employer.

Clark has previously appeared in court, the police said.

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