New Zealand Police v Gopal [2020] NZDC 21778

Published 20 July 2021

Sentencing — obtaining by deception — Proctor v Police [2016] NZHC 2656 — Serious Fraud Office v Hall [2017] NZDC 12349, [2017] DCR 827. The defendant appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to one charge of obtaining by deception. Over roughly a two-year period the defendant had made payments to himself totaling $242,122.92. He had done this through his previous job as an insurance claims assessor, by reopening closed client files and making payments to himself. The defendant showed remorse and had pleaded guilty at an early stage. He was receiving counseling with a local priest, and had repaid $100,000 to his previous employer. In looking to similar cases, the Judge set a starting point of two and a half years' imprisonment. Discounts were given for remorse, early guilty plea, reparation already paid and involvement in restorative justice, bringing the sentence down to 18 months. Given the defendant's family situation and flexibility of his current employer, the Judge considered it appropriate to convert it to a sentence of home detention. The defendant was also ordered to repay a further $100,000 in reparation. Judgment Date: 22 October 2020.