Swann jailed for 9-1/2 years

Michael Swann has been jailed for nine years and six months for defrauding the Otago District Health Board of $16.9 million in what a judge described today as "fraud on a grand scale".

Swann's friend Kerry Harford has been jailed for four years and three months.

Swann got a minimum non-parole period of four years and six months. Harford got no minimum non-parole period.

Both men appeared before Justice Stevens in the High Court in Dunedin this morning.

Neither reacted as the sentences were read out.

"This was fraud on a grand scale which affected not only the ODHB as your employer but indirectly the patients of the board and the wider Otago community," Justice Stevens told Swann.

He said Swann was responsible for the misappropriation of millions of public health dollars.

Whatever the outcome of reparation there would be significant losses of public money.

No reparation orders were made for either man. Reparations from Swann are being pursued in a civil case brought by the ODHB. Harford has already reached a confidential settlement with the board.

Swann (47), the Otago District Health Board's former chief information officer, and 48-year-old Harford, a Queenstown surveyor, were found guilty in December on three charges each of defrauding the ODHB of $16.9 million over a six-year period.

Between August 2000 and August 2006, the pair sent 198 invoices from Harford-owned company Sonnford Solutions, and its predecessor, and received payments totalling $16,902,145.27.

Harford retained 10% and forwarded the remaining 90% to Swann-linked companies or entities.

Swann spent almost $11.6 million on a fleet of luxury cars, boats and properties.


Add a Comment