Pair charged with fraud over disappearing $1m

Photo: File.

Two trustees of a Māori-owned forest in the Far North have been charged with a million-dollar fraud.

Stephen Henare, 60, and Margaret Dixon, 59, who are brother and sister, are facing a total of 11 charges after a Serious Fraud Office investigation.

The Parengarenga 3G Trust manages a 500-hectare forestry block north of Kaitaia, on behalf of 400 owners.

In 2012, the Maori Trustee's office handed control of the block to the trust, along with $1.1m, to manage it.

The Serious Fraud Office alleges that a series of unauthorised payments then went to the defendants, leaving just $13 left in the trust account, and forestry debts unpaid.

Mr Henare was remanded on bail after appearing in Auckland District Court today.

Ms Dixon failed to appear.

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