An Auckland insurance firm manager has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for a drug-importing scheme in which he used a business as a “safe address.”
James Bell was sentenced to six years and 10 months' jail time for importing methamphetamine, two years concurrently for importing gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), and convicted and discharged for possession of cannabis, according to a report from the NZ Herald.
Investigators found Fidelity Life Assurance Company, a Newmarket-based insurance firm, was used to cover and assist the importation of drugs into New Zealand.
Bell reportedly imported 323g of meth and 1.9L of GBL.
The High Court heard how the operation used the insurance company, which also has offices around the country, as the destination for the drug packages. The drugs were simply handed to the receptionist and Bell, as the “catcher” would collect the drugs.
Bell said that he appeared in court to "not ask for leniency, but to express the regret and remorse for the crimes I've committed."
Bell, who claimed his addiction was a result of working long hours and the need to "keep alert," also has a historic dishonesty matter from about 20 years ago, the court heard.
"Fidelity Life was shocked and disappointed to learn of the offending by former employee James Bell,” the insurance company told the NZ Herald.
Fidelity Life, a New Zealand-owned firm, is the third largest life insurance company in the country.
Insurance broker gets long custodial sentence after fraud