Andrew Neill SIMPSON 6/1/2021
Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
Andrew Neill SIMPSON
Hearing: 6 January 2021
at Northland Region Corrections Facility
by AVL from New Zealand Parole Board, Wellington
Members of the Board: Ms T Williams Blyth – Panel Convenor
Mr R Mihinui
Mr A Spierling
Counsel: Mr J Kovacevich
In Attendance: (withheld) – Principal Case Manager
DECISION OF THE BOARD
- Andrew Simpson (43) appears for consideration of parole on a two-year nine-month sentence for 13 convictions for money laundering. This offending took place between 13 February 2018 and 26 February 2019.
- Mr Simpson has a sentence end date of 24 November 2022. There is approximately one year 11 months left on his sentence.
- Mr Simpson was a significant player in a money laundering operation. At that time, he was a practicing lawyer and the architect of a money laundering process designed to generate significant funds for the Comancheros gang. Mr Simpson structured the money laundering scheme over multiple trust accounts and deposited money himself on occasion.
- The Judge commented that Mr Simpson knew what he was doing was dodgy. References were made to intercepted phone calls where Mr Simpson gave instructions to deposit amounts around 9k so that the transaction would not get flagged.
- Mr Simpson deposited or transferred $1.2 million. He received $18,000 for that service. He sent the balance to the gang or an associate of the gang. Mr Simpson’s role facilitated the purchase of luxury cars, property, and equipment.
- For today’s hearing, the Board have received several letters of support. The letters are from lawyers, family, and friends. The Board have also received comprehensive submissions from counsel.
- The parole assessment report is largely positive. There have been no incidents or misconducts. Due to his low RoC*RoI, Mr Simpson is not eligible for offence-focused treatment. The report proposes that any risk of re-offending in the future should be addressed by special conditions.
- The PAC report completed for sentencing refers to Mr Simpson’s plan for the future. That is: (withheld)
- It is of concern to the Board that Mr Simpson’s plan, in a situation where he has not had the opportunity to engage in treatment, remains largely the same. In five years’, Mr Simpson hopes to have gained enough (carried out enough positive works) that he would like to be a lawyer again. He knows there will be resistance, but being a lawyer is what he knows, and he says he is good at it.
- Mr Simpson and his family understand that if he were granted parole there will be restrictions. It is acknowledged, however, that even if Mr Simpson is not reinstated as a lawyer, this will not prevent him from giving advice to clients on trusts.
- The Judge’s sentencing notes refer to Mr Simpson having engaged the services of a clinical psychologist to identify and address the causes of his offending. The report was completed for sentencing purposes.
- The Board talked with Mr Simpson about the possibility of being provided with a copy of that report. Taking into account the concerns raised by the Board, counsel for Mr Simpson also raised the possibility of obtaining an updated psychological report. The report could assess Mr Simpson’s offending, risk, appropriate treatment, and assessment of his release plan, particularly his plan going forward. It may be that the psychologist will have an opinion regarding ongoing counselling or oversight that Mr Simpson may require.
- The discussions today did not give the Board confidence that Mr Simpson understands what led to his offending, what allowed him to continue or that he has a plan to avoid the same occurring again.
- Comments during the hearing included a discussion about Mr Simpson’s work with the psychologist. Having worked with the psychologist, Mr Simpson said that he tends to procrastinate and put things off. This comment was made in the context of Mr Simpson being asked why, on learning who he was dealing with, he did not stop or attempt to withdraw from the offending. Mr Simpson said he and the psychologist talked about this and his tendency to procrastinate. He also acknowledged that every action has a moral consequence.
- Mr Simpson did not conduct any form of risk analysis regarding what he was doing. The only risk analysis he did was related to AML business issues. His family did not factor into his decision to continue offending. This is of concern given his family are proposed to be his external monitors. That is, provide oversight should he be released on parole. The Board notes that Mr Simpson’s offending occurred while (withheld) and (withheld) were working for him in the office.
- In stating that, in time, he wishes to return to practice, Mr Simpson submits that being a lawyer is what he knows, and he is good at it. This comment fails to recognise that his dishonest behaviour was not that of a lawyer who is good at their job.
- Submissions and comments are made (during the hearing and contained in the letters of support) regarding Mr Simpson’s Christian beliefs and positive character. This is clearly at odds with his dishonest behaviour and significant role as architect and facilitator of the money laundering scheme.
- The Board have considered Mr Simpson’s offending, the discussions today, his release plan, letters of support, whānau support and the reports from prison. The Board is not satisfied that Mr Simpson no longer poses an undue risk and parole is declined.
- Mr Simpson will be seen for further consideration of parole in March 2021 and no later than 30 March 2021. For the next hearing counsel has undertaken to obtain an updated psychological assessment. That assessment will address the matters identified at paragraph 12. It would also assist the Board if Mr Simpson provides a copy of the psychological report prepared for sentencing.
Ms T Williams Blyth