Jonathan Kirkpatrick, the former dean of Dunedin’s St Paul’s Cathedral and former partner of ex-Labour MP Tim Barnett, who was recently convicted for fraud, was sentenced today in the Auckland District Court to three years and two months jail.
Fairfax Media report:
A former manager at the Auckland University of Technology stole over $600,000 from his employer and frittered it away on a lavish lifestyle, flash cars and holidays, a court has heard.
Today his extravagance caught up with him.
Jonathan Kirkpatrick, 53, was sentenced to three years, two months’ imprisonment for the fraud in the Auckland District Court today for stealing $666,000 from AUT between 2002 and May this year.
Crown lawyer Rachael Reed said over eight and a half years, Kirkpatrick used over 82 invoices paid out to companies he set up to steal the hefty sum.
He was authorised in his role, as CEO of AUT’s business innovation centre, to issue invoices of up to $15,000 without supervision.
Reed said Kirkpatrick spent the money on top of his salary, which was $90,000 when he began at AUT in 2002 and rose to $150,000 by the time he resigned in July.
“This is a man who should have no need to steal but who obviously had taste beyond his salaried means,” she said.
Judge AA Sinclair said Kirkpatrick’s offending was motivated by greed.
The court heard that Kirkpatrick had no major investments or possessions to show for his fraud.
He was ordered to pay $20,000 reparations to the university, which he received from the sale of his house.
Kirkpatrick’s lawyer, Russell Fairbrother, argued the fraud was not premeditated, and the impulse to write out the invoices became an “impulsive itch” he needed to scratch.
“It started out with writing the first invoice and then it became a compulsion.”
Kirkpatrick’s offending was detected by AUT when he was on holiday in Thailand.
He left a bank statement for one of the fraudulent companies on his desk.
The court heard Kirkpatrick’s companies paid GST and income tax on much of the money.
Judge Sinclair noted it was an unusual situation that some of the spoils of the fraud actually went to the taxpayer.
Russell said Kirkpatrick was incredibly remorseful for his crimes, and if he could do two things it would be turning back the clock to before he wrote the first invoice, and paying AUT back.
He said Kirkpatrick is undergoing counselling to try and come to terms with his “demons” and address emotional issues that led to his offending.
The judge acknowledged Kirkpatrick’s co-operation with the police and AUT’s investigations.
The fraud ended up costing over $1 million, with AUT required to pay $208,000, and their insurance company the balance of $791,000.
Following the sentencing, AUT said large organisations cannot operate without placing trust in senior staff.
“Mr Kirkpatrick’s offending has had a profound impact on the people with whom he worked at AUT. All have experienced a deep sense of betrayal at his prolonged deception.”
AUT defended its practices.
“AUT’s financial systems and processes are well structured and regularly audited under the direction of the Auditor General and as part of standard business practice by our internal audit team.”
The university said it can now put the theft behind it.
Reporter: Victoria Robinson
See: Alleged fraudster Jonathan Kirkpatrick talks to media outside Auckland District Court.
Published 28 February 2013