Rugby League Captain Sentenced for Role in Pokie Scam

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Hugh McGahan

Former New Zealand rugby league captain Hugh McGahan has been sentenced in an Auckland District Court this week for his role in a $NZ2 million ($A1.56 million) pokie scam.

McGahan pleaded guilty last month to four charges of conspiracy to use a document to defraud the North Harbour Rugby Union and Touch NZ.

Sentencing him in Auckland District Court on Tuesday to 275 hours' community service, Judge Nicola Mathers told McGahan: "I am satisfied your offending has been brought home to you.

"I acknowledge you are remorseful."

Speaking to NZPA outside the court, McGahan said: "I was naive and foolish, and I trusted people then abused that trust, and I accept that I broke the law. I came here today to face the full consequences of my actions.

"As outlined in the court, I revealed my stupidity by signing invoices for people without checking properly," McGahan said.

He added that he took their word that the invoices were legitimate. But he admitted that his actions were unlawful, which he said was a burden that he would carry today and forever.

"I accept the convictions based on those invoices ... and I have no excuses for those actions. I am ashamed that my values and principles dropped to such a level. Having said that, I have repaid all the money back to that organisation.

"This process has been very humbling and humiliating. It's nothing in comparison to what I've put my family through."

He said he wanted to make amends for the distress he had caused to those that he loved and respected.

"I appreciate today that the proceedings have been the subject of significant public media attention.

"As someone who's received positive media attention over a number of years, someone in my standing, you take the good with the bad. So I accept the legitimate attention that the media have given this case," McGahan said.

Also involved in the scam were former team-mate Brent Todd and former All Black Doug Rollerson. 

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