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Businesswoman 'relieved' tax fraud battle over

Published: 2:11PM Thursday May 17, 2012 Source: ONE News

A high-profile Tauranga businesswoman honoured by the Queen says she is glad her legal fight is over after pleading guilty to tax fraud today.

Rae Beverley Adlam helped iwi negotiate the purchase of geothermal assets. But, in 2008 she admitted money from Bay of Plenty Energy for use of those assets was paid into her personal bank account.

She had vowed to fight the charges, but today pleaded guilty to 25 of 64 counts of tax evasion, including filing false income tax and GST returns totalling more than $400,000.

Adlam has already paid back what she owed the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and the judge decided a financial sentence was fair.

Judge Robert Wolff told Adlam he recognised "the background factors of your ill health, your immense loss of mana involved in this case and the true remorse demonstrated by the fact you have ultimately resolved all these issues".

Adlam has been ordered to pay the IRD $133,000 in reparations plus a $75,000 fine.

Now 65 and battling cancer, Adlam said she is pleased to put it behind her.

"I'm relieved it's over."

Adlam was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2008.

At the height of her success, she championed Maori enterprise. Her work in Kawerau attracting new businesses and creating new jobs led to her being named businesswoman of the year in 1986.