Former cricket executive stole $180,000 of community funds

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 09, 2024 |

A former cricket executive has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $180,000 earmarked for community projects.

A Department of Internal Affairs investigation exposed 59-year-old Mark Cini’s crimes, who was the venue manager of Robbies’ Riccarton during his offending.

The stolen funds, derived from “pokie” machine grants, were fraudulently obtained in a sophisticated scheme from 2018 to 2020, where he manipulated the grant application process to funnel money to sports organisations under his influence.

By submitting false quotes and directing his employees to sign off on these applications, Cini was able to siphon off $182,761.64 intended for genuine community projects.

Cini admitted to 39 charges of dishonesty, including forgery, theft by a person in a special relationship, and dishonestly using a document, under the Crimes Act 1961.

Cini, originally from Australia, established a notable presence within Canterbury cricket circles, after serving as the tournament director for the 2018 WICF Indoor Cricket Junior World Series.

He was previously the managing director if Action Indoor Sports Stadium, and still listed as a director on the Companies’ website.

Vicki Scott, the DIA’s Director of Gambling said “within the gambling system, this offending is of the worst kind. It is deliberate, motivated by greed, and deprives legitimate community organizations of grant funding.”

Cini is now awaiting sentencing, set for June 12.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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