'Greedy': Christchurch couple ripped off disabled charity for spending spree

A Christchurch couple who ripped off a disabled charity and spent the money on diamonds, concerts and overseas holidays have been labelled greedy by the Serious Fraud Office.

Cecilia and Alfonsus Ellenbroek, who have a disabled son, set up Christchurch's Alpha Support Centre for intellectually disabled adults - but they stole almost half a million dollars from it.

On Thursday, they were sentenced to home detention and community work, escaping jail after admitting ripping off the Government-funded charity.

They ran the trust and managed the books - but greed took over and they went on a spending spree. They blew $494,000, including:

  • $4000 on diamond earrings
  • $21,000 on sight-seeing trips overseas
  • Flights and tickets on concerts to see Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga
  • And $120,000 on accommodation at a condo in Hawaii

The court heard that the money blown would have made a real difference to those in their care - there were unsanitary conditions, adults left in wet nappies, and insufficient staff.

The Ellenbroeks have paid $474,000 in reparations from the sale of a holiday home in Queenstown.

Cecilia Ellenbroek was sentenced to 12 months' home detention and 300 hours' community work. Alfonsus Ellenbroek was sentenced to six months' community detention and 200 hours' community work.

The outstanding $20,000 has to be paid back in December.