The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Auckland man sentenced to home detention for pokies gambling grant fraud

13 May 2024

Auckland man, Iosefa Ta’alo Ape also known as Joesph Aiono, has been sentenced for several offences relating to the theft of class 4 (pokies) grant funds, under the Crimes Act 1961, following investigation by Te Tari Taiwhenua, Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

At the time of the offending, Mr Ape ran Hoop Star Basketball Academy and submitted fraudulent grant applications that represented over $75,000 in fictitious costs.

Mr Ape was sentenced to 6 months home detention, 6 months post-detention and ordered to pay reparations.

Vicki Scott, Director Gambling, DIA, said the successful prosecution is a win for communities.

“This type of dishonest behaviour will not be tolerated.”

“We are committed to holding people to account to ensure the financial benefits to communities from gambling are maximised, and the integrity of the grants system is not compromised.”

“Every dollar of grant funding from class 4 gambling matters.”

For more information on New Zealand gambling regulation visit

Media Contact:

Media Desk - Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs
Mobile: +64 27 535 8639