The former head of a Pacific Islands violence prevention charity has been fined $3000 for fraud.
Betty Sio, who led the Pacific Island Safety and Prevention Project was found guilty of fraud by the Serious Fraud Office in March this year.
Known as the Project, the charity provided prevention, education, counselling and development services to the Pacific Island community in Auckland.
Ms Sio helped to establish the charity and was Chief Executive from 2009 until 2015.
By 2014 it was receiving around $2.5 million in Government funding per year to provide domestic violence prevention services.
Ms Sio and former operations manager Tapualii Raewyn Uitime were largely responsible for managing the use of this funding.
According to the SFO, between them they stole around $260,000 by creating fake invoices from suppliers and authorising cash cheques to pay them. They cashed most of these cheques themselves and used the money for their own benefit.
In a reserved decision issued in March 2023, Betty Sio was found guilty on two charges of dishonestly using a document following a judge-alone trial in the Manukau District Court in January.
“Instead of using the funding given to the charity to make a difference to the lives of her community, Ms Sio abused her position of trust and responsibility to steal $44,000. She also turned a blind eye to Ms Uitime, who stole around $216,000,” says SFO Director Karen Chang.
Ms Chang stated in March that “the prolonged offending over the course of years, ultimately contributed to the closure of an organisation which had been recognised as providing a valuable and important service.”