Dixon pleads guilty in Far North Maori trust fraud case

A former trustee of a trust which manages a large block of forested Maori land has pleaded guilty to defrauding the entity of nearly $1 million in a Serious Fraud Office prosecution.

Margaret Dixon pleaded guilty to three representative charges of theft by person in special relationship under the Crimes Act at the Auckland District Court on May 3.

Ms Dixon’s brother, Stephen Henare, faces six charges of theft by person in special relationship also in relation to his role as a trustee of Parengarenga 3G (P3G) Trust, which manages a 512 hectare forest block in the Tai Tokerau District of the Far North. 

Mr Henare has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is due to appear in the Auckland District Court for a case review hearing on May 23.

Ms Dixon intentionally failed to deal with $934,270 of the trust’s funds in accordance with the P3G Trust Order. With the alleged involvement of Mr Henare, Ms Dixon facilitated the transfer of a significant amount of the trust’s money into various other bank accounts, including personal accounts and family trusts. 

Mr Henare is separately charged with intentionally failing to deal with an additional amount of $149,627 in accordance with the P3G Trust Order - without the involvement of Ms Dixon.  

Ms Dixon is scheduled to reappear in the Auckland District Court for sentencing on July 6.

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