Priest gets prison for defrauding $149,000
Wed, 27 Feb 2013 3:44p.m.
By Thomas Mead
A former Catholic priest has been jailed for two years and three months for defrauding around $149,000 from two Christchurch churches.
John Fitzmaurice appeared in the Christchurch District Court this afternoon for sentencing, after pleading guilty last December to six charges of dishonesty using documents or obtaining by deception.
The 57-year-old took money from the parish accounts of Christchurch’s Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and Sacred Heart parish.
In sentencing today, the judge highlighted the fact Fitzmaurice's offending had happened over a long period of time and gave him a lengthy sentence.
If he had been sentenced to less than two years, Fitzmaurice would have been able to apply for home detention instead of jail.
He has been suspended as a priest since September 2012.
Fitzmaurice had served as a part of the Catholic Church for more than 30 years before the suspension.
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27/02/2013 11:42:40 p.m.
There are, at any one time, thousands of people in NZ with a full blown gambling problem related to pokies. Each of these people will directly affect others: children, parents, spouses, employers, friends, lovers, colleagues and customers. 1 in every 4 people who play the pokie machines on a regular basie will become addicted. These are not flwaed individuals but victims to these insidious machines.The effects of a gambling problem include physical and mental illness; financial ruin, the loss of family and corporate assets, and bankruptcy; relationship difficulties, family breakdown and divorce; crime, including fraud, theft, violence and deception; and suicide, self-harm, and the neglect and abuse of children.Pokies venues are disproportionately concentrated in already disadvantaged areas, thus compounding their effects. They actively diminish social capital and opportunity and appear to have a powerful effect on the intergenerational transmission of disadvantaged. They keep poor people poor, and redistribute resources regressively.The pokies lobby is fond of saying that they don't want any problem gamblers in their venues. Yet they derive around 40 per cent of their revenue from those with such a problem, and another 20 per cent from those on the path to one. Their preferred 'solution' to problem gambling is more counselling. Unfortunately, although counselling can be very effective for those who use it, the vast majority of problem gamblers (probably 90 per cent or more) never access such services.And, even more unfortunately, by the time gamblers do go to counsellors, the damage has been done: the family broken up, the kids traumatised, the money gone, the house sold, the job lost, the depression fully formed, health ruined, and in far too many cases a family member lost.How many broken homes, suicides, neglected kids and ruined lives are enough to convince them, and our political leaders, that it's time we sorted this out?
27/02/2013 10:02:58 p.m.
I think it is time the NZ government recognised the evil destructive nature of these machines. I believe the proceeds gained from illegal funds fed into these machines should be repaid by the government - the government and other sports agencies etc are profittering from the proceeds of illegal money and benefiting from human weakness and misery of the peoply addicted to these hideious machines.These machines rob addicted people of their money, dignity, sanity -not to mention precious time with family and friends.
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