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Ex-casino manager sentenced almost 8 years in jail for $2.5m fraud

Tags: New Zealand, Sky City Casino.
Posted on 12 September 2017 by "T".

The woman who defrauded Sky City Casino in Hamilton of almost $2.5 million over the course of 5 years has been sentenced to 7 years and 8 months behind bars. Tessa Grant, age 41, had recently pleaded guilty to 10 theft and fraud charges throughout the years 2008 up to 2015.

On Monday, she was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court, New Zealand. She was initially charged with stealing a total of $796,000 from the Waikato Diocesan School where she was appointed the commercial manager.

Later on, additional charges were laid in association with her position as finance manager and then general manager at the Sky City Casino in Hamilton where she stole $1.98 million. Sky City Casino only launched an investigation after they learned Tessa Grant was charged with stealing from the school's funds.

At the court, it was revealed that Tessa spent the money on her lavish lifestyle, featuring equestrian sport, which included spending the stolen money to buy a property for a horse arena, a horse transportation truck, and also $300,000+ to an unspecified member of the New Zealand high-performance equestrian team.

Tessa acquired the money from Sky City Casino by utilizing its cheques, draining their account reaching to $1.98 million.

How was her selfish secret finally discovered? A plane trip that the school principal actually didn't take. Surprisingly, they discovered a return flight receipt for $1492. More surprisingly, it's only chump change compared to what they found out next. In April 2015, the Waikato Diocesan School for Girls principal Vicky McLennan and her husband had a scheduled flight to Christchurch, but it turns out that it was Tessa Grant and her husband who took that flight instead. Obviously, the expenses were charged to the school.

The money stolen from Waikato Diocesan School was now paid back with interest and legal costs; however, Sky City Casino is still trying to take back their money via civil court proceedings. Spokesperson of Sky City Casino Erica Jenkin said that so far, the company had spent $500,000 in the investigation of the case.

Chairperson Lynette Pearks of Waikato Diocesan said the school has moved on from its ordeal with Tessa Grant and is in good heart. She said the school has closed the case at the end of 2015 when it obtained full reparation.
According to Crown Prosecutor Ross Douch, Tessa Grant's overriding motivation was merely for personal satisfaction, and aside from the fact that she got caught, she was not in any way remorseful at all for what she had done.

Guyon Foley, Tessa Grant's attorney, said before the court that his client was extremely remorseful and made efforts to make things right. Tessa started stealing money to support a family member, but in the end ‘the perceived need became greed'. "It's unfortunate for her and for SkyCity that her offending ran unchecked for so long."

However, Judge Philip Connell told Tessa Grant that he sees no sincere expression of any evident remorse from her. Regarding Tessa making a full reparation to the school, he said, "You don't get credit for paying back what you shouldn't have had in the first place."

According to court documents, the discovered top payments were:

Petty cash total withdrawals (several cheques), $295,294.50

Classic Horse Coaches Ltd, $281,250
Farmlands Trading Society, $264,418.01

Elizabeth Brown, $232,900.72

Landscape Design Studio, $181,915

GM Ralph Ltd, $135,632.65

Sterling Warmbloods Ltd, $126,500

Vincent Reid, $111,329.94

Jason Bugg, $108,206.90

Michael Bensemen, $75,391.80
Carpet One South Waikato, $66,419.25
Total Holdings Ltd, $61,740
Wackrow Joinery, $44,591.03

The Narrows Landing, $26,222.50
Michelle Grant (a relative), $5000



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16 comments on "Ex-casino manager sentenced almost 8 years in jail for $2.5m fraud"

 pochui12/09/2017 20:14:19 GMT
quite an interesting story I must admit, this lady had a wicked imagination and quite a fruitful execution. sure like to any other nice thief the end of story had to come sooner or later and the end of story meant almost 8 years in jail to her.
 Mober12/09/2017 22:52:22 GMT
Once more we can see the difference from sentence to sentence.
On this one, only eight years, while the couple is facing fifteen years in jail,
for like a fraction of the money.
They have also included some of the payments in the article Smile
 bowie198413/09/2017 01:24:25 GMT
One would think they could have oversee her activity right away because companies should be more rigorous with their finances anyway but she must done something right because they did not catch her 'til years into the scheme.
 shokaku13/09/2017 05:53:52 GMT
All the effort the casinos make to tackle card counters and other advantage players, but usually the real attacks come from within the casino staff itself. And the higher up those people are, the bigger the amount of money is they can steal.
 doubletop77713/09/2017 07:17:17 GMT
i am glad this woman was caught and has been sentenced accordingly for her crimes. I am against theft of any kind and, even though it sounds exciting, crime doesnt pay
 CALICUL13/09/2017 07:37:42 GMT
A correct punishment from the judge. If she received 15 years of jail as in the case of that couple(from another news posted here) it was not good for her. If the punishment was less than 8 years old and it was not good because encourage many people to copy their example. 2.500.000 dollars there are a lot of money and if you know that you take a 4-5 year sentence then steal. I would do the same as steal but that casino would never recover that money from me.
 Tony_MON7ANA14/09/2017 15:41:08 GMT
Entering a guilty plea to the criminal charges is probably a wise move in this case. If she went to trial and lost, she would very likely face harsher sentence. Much stiffer than the 92-month sentence.
 bowie198414/09/2017 15:46:21 GMT
Posted by Tony_MON7ANA:
Entering a guilty plea to the criminal charges is probably a wise move in this case. If she went to trial and lost, she would very likely face harsher sentence.

She probably would have hard time pleading innocent with all these direct evidence pointing towards her anyway.
 Tony_MON7ANA15/09/2017 14:10:31 GMT
The incriminating evidence against Tessa Grant is overwhelming and seemingly irrefutable.
I didn't know that Grant's guilty pleas were worth only 10 months off the total sentence until I read the article below.

$189,000 salary wasn't enough for 'entitled' SkyCity fraudster Tessa Grant
 Gerimantas15/09/2017 18:19:03 GMT
2.5 millions of dollars is a lot of money to steal and I think if you stral then steal a lot of money because then you can use best lawyers and maybe get some easy punishment or find a way to hide some of the money and after some years come back and kive like a rich man
 Mober15/09/2017 18:49:54 GMT
Only a lot?
They are stealing less from banks Smile
Or even you can win a jackpot in a game like lotto, with less money than that.
At least the business was stealing from was a casino, so it wont be that hard,
to generate again that profit.
 damosk15/09/2017 20:02:08 GMT
Well there you go! Outcomes in court cases vary as much as the weather does in most countries on a day to day basis. Today sunshine, tomorrow ain't and maybe the next day wind and snow. You just never know what the outcome is going to be.. it must be very difficult for the courts to keep up with it all.
 bowie198415/09/2017 23:21:11 GMT
Posted by Mober:
At least the business was stealing from was a casino, so it wont be that hard, to generate again that profit.

It's not like they can generate money out of thin air though - time to time casinos go down as well. Even Trump managed to fail a couple... Of course who knows what kind of tax fraud was there in the background.
 pochui16/09/2017 16:52:34 GMT
yeah casinos do fail, they are just a business to be honest... surely they are not money printing operation, they just collect money from all sorts of degens and similar fellas. if degens are short on cash or/and the population of degens is shrinking then casinos have problems right away...
 RoninHarper16/09/2017 17:44:30 GMT
G'day mates

Well I am sure this women is going to have a fun time in her country club prison.
The rich never go to real prisons like poor people do.
It would be nice if she actually did receive some real justice.

Wishing you all the best.
be cool

Ronin Cool
 Mober16/09/2017 18:53:18 GMT
I guess you are right about casinos, being a business after all that can fail.
We have seen already many of them failing, and the last one that went down
from what i remember, was the one that i read here, kevin costner's.

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