Datasouth's former MD accused of $103 million fraud

The SFO alleges that Bennett orchestrated a $103 million fraud involving a Ponzi-style scheme and false accounting

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has officially laid charges against former Datasouth managing director, Gavin Bennett. The SFO alleges that Bennett orchestrated a $103 million fraud involving a Ponzi-style scheme and false accounting. The former MD now faces six representative charges under the Crimes Act, relating to approximately 900 separate incidents of alleged misuse of a document, along with two charges of false accounting. Bennett allegedly created false documents relating to a lease of IT equipment to fraudulently obtain funds from South Canterbury Finance totalling approximately $65 million, between April 2005 and March 2011.

He is also accused of falsifying entries in Datasouth Finance financial statements by an estimated $38 million in order to retain the ongoing finance facility. According to the SFO, he also used a large sum for his own personal benefit. Ultimately, the resulting financial loss to South Canterbury Finance was an estimated $26 million, the SFO says.

“The findings of our investigation allege a very sustained and large-scale fraud that not only had a very significant financial impact on South Canterbury Finance, but also, ultimately, on the staff of Datasouth,” says Adam Feeley, chief executive of the SFO.

Datasouth went into liquidation on March 31 this year and the SFO announced the launch of an investigation shortly after. The liquidation left 42 staff unemployed.

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Tags fraudliquidationdatasouthgavin bennettserious fraud office

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