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The NZ Bachelor candidate convicted of fraud

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A former candidate for The Bachelor NZ who defrauded her employer of thousands of dollars and spent it on clothes, thefts, social gatherings and photo ops can now be named.

Akata Louise Kuresa, 31 from Invercargill, admitted seven charges of dishonesty, amounting to more than $ 12,000, for offenses committed between July 2019 and December 2020, and appeared in Invercargill District Court on Wednesday .

She had previously pleaded guilty to four counts of theft per person in a special relationship against social group Invercargill Young Professionals, two charges of altering a document with intent to defraud and one theft of a representative per person. in a special relationship against his former employer Transport World. .

Transport World is one of Invercargill’s most important companies.

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Invercargill's wife Akata Louise Kuresa appears in Invercargill District Court to be convicted of fraud.

Kavinda Herath / Tips

Invercargill’s wife Akata Louise Kuresa appears in Invercargill District Court to be convicted of fraud.

Transport World is owned by the HWR group, and company director Jocelyn O’Donnell said in a victim impact statement read to court on Wednesday that by the time the breach was discovered, Kuresa had cited his involvement in The Bachelor NZ as the reason for his credit card. the statements were incorrect.

The “self-indulgent” fraud was discovered when Kuresa left to film the show, O’Donnell said.

The company fired after the Covid-19 lockdown, but Kuresa’s job was saved, O’Donnell said.

“Beneath your charming facade, there is another side of you, Lou,” she said.

Kuresa had shown an “unwavering determination” to deny her breach and staff had lost the ability to trust people, O’Donnell said.

Kuresa was a contestant on the reality TV show The Bachelor this year, where 18 contestants tried to win the heart of Sol3 singer Mio Moses Mackay.

Defense lawyer Olivia Taylor said that regardless of her appearance, Kuresa was extremely sorry and genuinely remorseful, especially towards O’Donnell.

Kuresa had provided $ 5,000 to pay immediately in repairs, Taylor said.

The Bachelor NZ 2021 star Moses Mackay.

The Bachelor NZ 2021 star Moses Mackay.

Judge John Brandts-Giesen said Kuresa feels pressure to keep up appearances and show her self-confidence.

However, a “so-called reality show” and living beyond your means was not reality, Judge Brandts-Giesen said.

“By trying to run to the top you destroyed a real possibility that you could have progressed slowly with real integrity,” he said.

“Time and time again, after a long period of time, you, with a smile on your face and all the confidence in the world, have quietly flown from this group and from Transport World,” Brandts-Giesen said.

“Your upbringing suggests that you would have a moral foundation, and you completely lied.”

Court documents show the money was spent on air flights, clothing, photo ops and social gatherings.

Kuresa admitted to committing theft using a credit card on behalf of her manager and changed the monthly credit card summary at her workplace.

The offense occurred between July 2019 and December 2020, where she used the credit card to pay for an Uber, an air flight costing $ 371, caterers at hotels, the photo shoot, and clothes of value of $ 1,300.

The transactions were then coded to look like legitimate labor expenses.

At one point, a check for nearly $ 4,000 was given to Kuresa by another company to pay for tickets to an event, which was deposited into her bank account.

The business credit card was then used again to refund the money to the other business, after the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the event from unfolding.

The judge sentenced Kuresa to six months in community detention, with a 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew, 12 months of intensive supervision, 200 hours of community service and ordered compensation of $ 12,611.59 to be paid. at $ 50 per week.

He ruled out the final sentence for the guilty pleas, cultural and personal factors, and the offer of redress.

Kuresa had received a provisional name suppression until sentencing, where the judge rejected a request for a permanent name suppression.

TVNZ’s Bachelor NZ profile on Kuresa, where her name is reported as Luisa Kures, says “Lou is the kind of woman who radiates joy and happiness wherever she goes. She enjoys spending time with her family – in fact, she is such a family oriented person that she usually invites her cousins, sisters and brothers on dates.

“After losing her partner in a car accident four years ago, Lou is ready to reopen her heart and hopes to find love with our bachelor again.”