Swann case: ODHB/SDHB and friends

The following are worth a querulous read —especially, the comments added by Anonymous in reply to Andrew Kelly with regards to persons past and present at the DHB (District Health Board) in governance and upper management, who it appears have never been properly investigated.

And while some stolen monies have been recovered lately via trust accounts, surely Iain Fyfe has more to say; and Peter Ibbotson, something for the first time… he’s yet to be interrogated by SFO and NZ Police. Both men, with thumbscrews applied.

Blog: Andrew Kelly – Author Blog
Sunday, 4 August 2013
Chapter 2: False Invoice Fraud – Michael Swann and Kerry Harford
My interest in fraud here in New Zealand dates back to September 2010 when I watched (in disbelief) a news item on Michael Swann’s six-year long, $16.9 million false invoice fraud. The end result of which is the (now rewritten) six chapters of “Anatomy of Fraud” you’ll find on this Blog. I must say a special thanks to my patient reviewer: Mark Piper. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.
Read more


Society for the Promotion of Community Standards (SPCS)
Michael Swann, Checketts McKay Law, Fraud and Otago DHB’s missing $6 Million: Report
Thursday, 11 November 2010
[excerpts] Checketts McKay Law, Barristers and Solicitors – based in Central Otago, with offices in Wanaka, Cromwell and [Alexandra] […] has five principals, including a Mr Iain Grant Fyfe, who in 1997 was a founding applicant and shareholder in Computer South Limited” […] Mr Iain Grant Fyfe, one of five partners in Checketts McKay Law, held 33 of the total of 100 ordinary shares in Computer South Ltd from 20 March 1997 until 22 September 2006. His share was transferred to the company’s director, Peter Bruce Ibbotson, a plumber, just days before Swann was suspended from his job at ODHB after it had commenced an inquiry into his financial affairs while on the Board. The share transfer was effected on line by Kathleen Bennett of Checketts McKay (Wanaka). […] Iain Fyfe, principal of Checketts McKay has been identified by the SFO as a co-owner of tainted property purchased with the proceeds of crime and involved in a trust that owned other tainted properties (purchased using the proceeds of crime). […] Checketts McKay and Iain Fyfe were listed as respondents in Proceeds of Crimes Act proceedings against Swann by the Solicitor-general who successfully sought restraining orders against a number of assets including Central Otago “tainted properties”. […] It would appear that forensic investigations into the financial/accounting records of the various trusts set up by Checketts McKay law firm to ‘hide’ Swann’s properties, some involving [Anna Devereux] and/or Ibbotson and/or Fyfe, may well provide answers for the police as to the whereabouts of much of the money.
Read more

[via SPCS] The main companies involved in the Michael Swann/Kerry Hartford fraud case:

Sonnford Solutions Ltd (formed 7 Nov 2001) owned by Kerry Harford. Sent invoices to ODHB for computer risk mitigation services. Received 10% of monies. Paid tax and employees.

Computer South Ltd (incorporated 20 March 1997), operated by Michael Swann. Inaugural shareholders wife Anna Devereux, Devereux Family Trust, lawyer Grant Fyfe and Peter Ibbotson. No employees or tax returns. Received 90% of monies.

ODT 14.11.13 Thomson still out in cold
ODT 12.3.09 ‘Astonishing greed’ sunk Swann
ODT 6.12.08 Events in Swann case played out from 1996 [timeline]

Related Post and Comments:
15.7.13 Leave Otago white collar criminals ALONE, and other unfairness

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Economics, Events, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics

43 responses to “Swann case: ODHB/SDHB and friends

  1. Anonymous

    Invoice fraud… invoice fraud… invoice fraud… as in massive hourly rates? Increasingly large invoice totals? Little or vague detail? Produced by questionable entities? Accepted by multiple departments? Checks dismissed? Concerns ignored? Accountability not sought? … there is something disturbingly familiar about this story.

  2. Jock strap

    Anon. It sounds familiar, just like our great white elephant all over again.

  3. Russell Garbutt

    Interesting. I wrote a piece for the ODT that was not published about Checketts McKay Law just recently that asked just why it was that only now this law firm suddenly remembered that it was involved with Trusts connected or controlled by Swann.

    This whole piece and its additional comments by Andrew Kelly is rivetting stuff and deserving of further investigation.

    I do not believe for one millisecond that the wives of these scum, Swann and Harford, didn’t know exactly what was going on. Look at Harford. Nothing more than a simple surveyor operating in Qtown, then all of a sudden he has an extra $300k a year to play with – more houses etc. All the trappings of sudden income and no questions? BULLSHIT!! And as for Annie Devereaux? Even more BULLSHIT!! What was their active involvement? Well, are they mentioned as Directors or Shareholders in any of these companies? Damn right they were. And not mentioned are the Accountants that set up these sham companies to make this all happen. What did they know?

    There is much more to be revealed in this mess and the roles that Ewan Soper, Richard Thomson and others require more clarification. The amazing fact remains that this was not a complex, clever fraud – it was, as has been pointed out – really simple and was repeated nearly 200 times. Swann and Harford both deserved much higher sentences than they got and of course, as we all know, Swann’s early release was entirely unjustified when compared to that Auckland fraudster who got away with about a fifth of what Swann got away with and yet got the same sentence.

    This whole blog needs a much wider circulation, and this Central Otago Law firm has much to contribute I think.

  4. Anonymous

    Why did Anngow Motor Company change its name to A Motor Company?
    Where is Old Man Devereux’s vintage car collection? Did it go with him to the Gold Coast?
    What relationship does Peter Bruce Ibbotson of Alexandra have with Russell Ibbotson of Alexandra, who was struck off last year? http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/217061/accountant-struck-rules-breach
    Was Lindsey Dey ever deposed in the case?

  5. Russell Garbutt

    Interesting Directors in Placer Investments. Wonder what this company does?
    Is Annie Devereux’s father Tony Devereux?

    {via NZ Companies Office -Eds. PLACER INVESTMENTS LIMITED (3556972) Registered
    (5) Directors: Phillip John AMENDE , Lindsay Ferguson DEY , Malcolm FARRY , Warwick Burnell FORTUNE , Darcy Marc SCHACK
    Shareholdings in (5) Allocations: [names only here] Phillip John AMENDE , Alistair Sinclair DYER , Warwick Burnell FORTUNE , Darcy Marc SCHACK}

  6. Our DCC Finance Committee chair is in very good hands. Teflon Richard, could it have any relationship to the fact that he was chairman of the South Dunedin Labour Party at and during the time of Benson-Pope’s demise? Then Minister of Health Pete Hodgson appears to have had some memory lapses around the time of the Swann debacle as well. Oh dear, the possibilities are immense. I always forget whether it was Robbie Burns or Walter Scott who penned the fabulous phrase “Oh what tangled webs we weave when once we practice to deceive.” It still holds good today. We live in a pseudo decently corrupt world.

    {Note correction at https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/swann-case-odhbsdhb-and-friends/#comment-43329 -Eds}

    • Here’s some pseudo, Calvin.

      ODT 12.3.09
      One of Swann’s friends said he was something of a “gentle giant” who “developed a sense that he had to provide for his friends”, and his friends would not desert him. “I don’t know of anyone who’s abandoned him amongst his friends. Not one.” Asked why not, he said: “It’s complex . . . It could well be that what he was doing for that hospital . . . He still ran it [the computer system] . . . as cheap as any other hospital around, even with that money that he flogged – is alleged to have flogged. There was a whole lot said in the trial that never made it into the paper. The friends know all that; therefore, they haven’t abandoned him.”

      • anon

        Elizabeth, these same respectable Swann friends were very worried their names and connections would come out in the trial/media.

        • Well, if they aren’t graced with name suppression orders then we’re free to discuss who they might be. Mentioning friends’ names is no crime, it’s not like we’d accuse them of anything. Association is such a likeable thing.

  7. Russell Garbutt

    A lot of “respectable” people enjoyed the hospitality of Swann over the years, and I’m sure would not like to be reminded of that now, or at the time of his trial. Apart from anything it would reveal their stupidity in some cases, their complicity in others, and in others it would reveal just how the proceeds of crime are “processed”.

  8. COD : Respectable; deserving respect from. Not inconsiderable in amount etc. So pick your category, I’ve picked mine.

  9. I have an apology to make. I have been contacted by Richard Thomson declaring that he has never been a member of the South Dunedin Labour party. For that I offer my apology and accept that it should have read the Labour Party, generic. This because when remonstrating over his dismissal from the chairmanship of the then ODHB, he stated he believed the real reason why he was demoted was because he was a member of the Labour Party. Which of course is a nonsense because the ‘infamous fraud’ went on largely during his tenure, and if the ship was run efficiently, the captain would have known early on in the piece of the strange happenings like a Lamborghini being parked in the IT manager’s park.

    {Link added. -Eds}

  10. Mr Cave, how did you come by this vessel and how are you helping Michael Swann hide his assets and or with his accommodation needs?

  11. Date and place of auction yet to be confirmed.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 2 May 2014
    Ex-Swann vintage Rolls-Royce to be auctioned
    By Hamish McNeilly
    A Rolls-Royce found stashed in a container and linked to convicted fraudster Michael Swann is set to go under the hammer. […] The vehicle, along with a KTM dirt bike and $92,475.42 were ”now available to pay towards the pecuniary penalty order previously made by the court”, a [MBIE] spokeswoman said.
    Read more

  12. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 1 Jul 2014
    Further car linked to fraudster Swann found
    By Hamish McNeilly
    A classic car connected to convicted fraudster Michael Swann has been found abandoned in a Christchurch street. The red E-Type Jaguar was recovered from an undisclosed street by police last month. […] Police were not in a position to comment further on the car as a case was before the court.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      There comes a time when the pleasure of “owning” stolen luxuries has to be balanced against a rise in temperature caused by local warming. The hot breath of the law comes closer and closer. Time has come when a prudent chap dons disposable gloves to give the precious vehicle a thorough clean inside and out before leaving it in a public place, preferably some distance from one’s home address and one’s storage lockup.

  13. Peter

    Perhaps a check list of all those wealthy men in town, who own a fleet of cars, is required. It seems symptomatic of a propensity to indulge in dodgy dealings.
    The motto of the story is ‘don’t hide your wealth behind a bushel’. Flaunt your cars for all your buddies to admire. Otherwise what is the point in owning them?

  14. Elizabeth

    Swann’s friends live all over the place, not just in Dunedin and Christchurch. Still a lot of assets to be recovered from the ‘friends’ about.

  15. Hype O'Thermia

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/313354/loss-swann-car-likely: After the Rolls-Royce was discovered, he told detectives, ”What happened, it happened while I was inside, and it wasn’t anything to do with me.”

    Nothing to do with – eh? Owned by. Not owned-up to. Wasn’t there some little old legal obligation on him, and isn’t later revelation of misdeeds the kind of thing that gets the average common crim on parole dragged back behind the big walls with bigger fences?

  16. Anonymous

    So, are all the long-term container leases coming up for renewal…?

  17. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Fri, 29 Aug 2014
    Swann Roller sells at auction
    A Rolls-Royce formerly belonging to a fraudster Michael Swann was auctioned for $83,000 yesterday. Swann stole $16.8 million from the Otago District Health Board, spending his ill-gotten gains on flash cars and properties.
    Read more

  18. Elizabeth

    Dunedin nowadays, never rains but it pours.

    ### radionz.co.nz Updated at 6:23 pm today
    RNZ News
    DHB takes dispute to Serious Fraud Office
    A long-running dispute between the Southern District Health Board and doctors’ group, South Link Health, is now in the hands of the Serious Fraud Office.
    Read more


    ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:44 01/09/2014
    SFO to investigate GP group spending
    By Wilma McCorkindale
    The Southern District Health Board has called in the Serious Fraud Office to investigate whether or not it has been defrauded of millions of dollars by a GP organisation. Board chairman Joe Butterfield and chief executive Carole Heatly issued a joint statement saying the move followed advice from forensic investigation firm Beattie Varley into South Link Health expenditure. The spent funds have been at the centre of a long-running dispute with South Link Health since 2002. The dispute is about whether South Link Health had permission from the DHB to spend $5.3 million in public funds saved on general practitioner contracts. The organisation maintains it spent the savings on clinical services. The board denies it gave the permission for the savings to be spent.
    Read more

  19. Elizabeth

    The next day staff saw an x-ray revealing the patient had had a very serious but treatable complication of a collapsed lung.

    ### radionz.co.nz Updated 17 minutes ago
    RNZ News
    Southern DHB faulted over care of man
    Doctors at Dunedin Hospital stopped treating an elderly man without looking at a chest x-ray that explained why he was so ill. Health and Disability Commissioner, Anthony Hill said it was not until after the man died that anyone studied the x-ray.
    Read more

  20. Elizabeth

    The board would not say how much money was in dispute, but it may be up to $15 million, if interest is included.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Sep 2014
    Health board refers SLH dispute to SFO
    By Elspeth McLean and Eileen Goodwin
    The Southern District Health Board’s long-running multimillion-dollar dispute with South Link Health has been referred to the Serious Fraud Office, the board announced yesterday. The referral follows advice from Auckland forensic investigation firm Beattie Varley Ltd, hired by the board in February to look into the matter.
    Read more

    And yet Cr Richard Thomson, perhaps is slow coming forth with concern held “all along” that the Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust has not been properly investigated. As the chair of the DCC Finance Committee he should quite possibly share the community’s “sense of incredulity” about the city council’s failure to thoroughly investigate.

    But we all know that what it really takes is a full independent forensic audit.

  21. Elizabeth

    More ministerial inaction from the National-led government.

    The Ministry of Health was asked to investigate the multimillion-dollar Southern health funds dispute in December 2010.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 6 Sep 2014
    Ryall dismisses criticism over South Link dispute
    By Elspeth McLean
    ”Electioneering nonsense” is how Health Minister Tony Ryall describes a call for scrutiny of his actions over the South Link Health funds dispute.
    Green Party health spokesman Kevin Hague said Mr Ryall’s handling of the issue should be included in a Royal commission of inquiry into Cabinet ministers’ behaviour. The inquiry should consider ”why Southern DHB didn’t act sooner and the Ministry [of Health] barely acted at all”. Last week, following advice from forensic investigators hired by the DHB in February, the Southern board referred the dispute to the Serious Fraud Office.
    Read more

  22. Hype O'Thermia

    “…the Southern board referred the dispute to the Serious Fraud Office.” Yeah, and there will be a sharp ministerial stick poked so that action commences in 2 days, or are ministerial sticks reserved for favoured bloggers asking pre-crafted “Official Information” questions?

    Perhaps Official Disinformation takes longer to prepare?

  23. Elizabeth

    “I feel there has been a bit of a witch-hunt [and] whether he deserves it is irrelevant.” –Harold Cave, Swann supporter

    ### ODT Online Fri, 27 Mar 2015
    Michael Swann moves on from job
    By Vaughan Elder
    Convicted fraudster Michael Swann has left a job given to him by a supporter on his release from prison. Mr Swann had been working as an engineer for Harold Cave since he was released on parole to live and work in Christchurch in July 2013.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Witch-hunt, is it?
      It says a certain something about a chap when he believes other people shouldn’t mind too much about their tax money that their government allocated to their health provider to provide health services for them and their families and fellow members of the community being stolen by one person for his own selfish use.
      “Hey, that was so yesterday, let it go!”
      “Harold old bean, I think you’d find we’d let it go a lot faster if Swann let go of his ill-gotten gains, including those that are being kept safely away from the eyes of the coppers by certain of his very, very, very good friends. Seeing them returned whence they were tea-leafed would induce rapid loss of interest in your chum’s doings. Not saying that if any of us had occasion to shake his hand we wouldn’t count our fingers carefully before letting him our of sight, mind you.”

    • Peter

      Sounds like a kind of guy Dave Cull would get along with. Move on etc etc.

  24. Hype O'Thermia

    Right Peter. “Don’t relitigate the past” a.k.a. avoid learning anything from past SNAFUs, the Dave’n’Harold way to play the Glad Game.
    [“Oh, yes; the game was to just find something about everything to be glad about—no matter what ’twas” ― Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna]

  25. Elizabeth

    Would Mr Cassels or Mr Cove scrub pure white? What Swann cost vulnerable Southern people in healthcare, fully escapes the shithead rich further north. These, Swann’s so-called friends/employers, deserve the same nine-and-a-half years’ jail he got.

    ### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 17:59, June 12 2016
    Notorious fraudster Michael Swann deserves second chance – employer
    By Blair Ensor
    Infamous fraudster Michael Swann has landed on his feet after leaving prison, managing projects for wealthy businessmen in Christchurch and Auckland, including the fitout of super yachts, and supervising ex-cons. The white collar criminal, who is still being pursued for millions of dollars by the Government, has been described by one of his employers – successful property developer and entrepreneur Alasdair Cassels – as a talented man who deserves a second chance.

    “He’s got a remarkable skill set, proven in the past to be dishonest, but as long as I’m aware of that and don’t get into a situation where he could offend . . . that’s good for me, it’s good for him and it’s good for society,” Cassels said. “He’s a valuable asset.”

    Swann, 64, and his associate, Kerry Harford, were found guilty in 2008 of defrauding the then Otago District Health Board (DHB) of about $16.9 million by invoicing the board for bogus computer-related services. Swann, the board’s information technology manager when he committed the crime, was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years’ jail, with a non-parole period of four-and-a-half years. He was released on parole in 2013 and lived with Cassels in his Banks Peninsula mansion while carrying out engineering and biotech work for health supplement company Bio-Mer, owned by Joe Cave.
    Read more

  26. Calvin Oaten

    ‘Crocodile tears’. ‘Elephants never forget’. But walruses do as long as they can keep attached to the gravy trains of the SDHB commission, the DCHB building appraisal unit and the DCC committee chairs.

  27. Elizabeth

    Sun, 12 Jun 2016
    ODT: DHBs still lacking asset management
    The Auditor-general has expressed concern about a lack of progress in improving asset management at district health boards. In a report released this week, Lyn Provost said the sector was focused on short-term results, and little had changed since a 2009 report recommended improvement.


    Auditor-General’s overview
    District health boards’ response to asset management requirements since 2009.

    All of us will have contact with the services of a district health board (DHB) at some time in our lives, many of us at numerous times throughout our lives. We depend on health services and expect them to be available to us when and where we need them.

    Physical assets (such as hospital buildings and clinical equipment) are integral to the health services DHBs deliver. Sound management of DHBs’ physical assets is critical to New Zealand’s future, as well as to each of us individually. In 2015, DHBs had $5.7 billion invested in physical assets and were planning more than $6 billion of capital expenditure during the next 10 years.

    We first reported on DHB asset management in 2009/10. DHBs produced asset management plans in 2009 in response to the Ministry of Health’s requirements for DHBs to document their approach to asset management in asset management plans. In Managing public assets (2013), we looked at asset management practices in 340 public entities. Health assets had some of the lowest condition ratings of all public sector assets. Therefore, we decided that it was important to keep a focus on DHBs’ asset management.
    Read more + Full report (58 pages) and Summary

  28. Gurglars

    The Bank balances of the Commissioners and the CEO.

    Led by inedible PAP.

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