11 July 2018
A real estate agent has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining commissions from the Selwyn District Council on charges
brought by the Serious Fraud Office.
Shirley Johnston obtained 13 commission payments from the Selwyn District Council between March 2007 and July 2015 for
work that she did not do. Nearly $150,000 of these payments were transferred into a bank account controlled by her and
Stephen Gubb, her husband and business partner.
Ms Johnston received the commissions on 13 land sales as a Phoenix Harcourts agent in Christchurch. However, Ms Johnston
was not the real estate agent for these property sales at Izone - a Selwyn District Council business park development
located in Rolleston.
Mr Gubb, who was a property consultant at the business park, instructed Buddle Findlay to pay $300,829 in commissions to
Phoenix Harcourts which then paid Ms Johnston $149,094 for her purported work.
Ms Johnston has been remanded on bail until sentencing on 20 September at the Christchurch District Court.
Mr Gubb is currently serving a jail sentence of two years and nine months for his part in the fraudulent scheme as well
as a separate offence of submitting a false invoice to the Selwyn District Council. He has previously been prosecuted by
the SFO on fraud charges involving about $1.18 million. He was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment on
these charges in December 2003.