Sydney media agency executive found guilty of 11 fraud charges relating to client funds



A senior Sydney media agency executive is facing the possibility of jail after being found guilty of misusing more than $1.75m of her client’s money at her former agency.

Glenda Wynyard was convicted in an Auckland court on Friday of 11 counts of fraud, relating to her former agency The Media Counsel.

Wynyard currently works at Sydney based independent agency Chaos Media where she is described as a ‘founder’. The convictions date back to her activity with The Media Counsel in 2008 and 2009, and there is no suggestion of any misuse of client funds by anyone at Chaos Media.

The court found that Wynyard, a former managing director of Universal McCann in New Zealand, had used payments that were meant to be given to her accredited agency Carat to repay another debtor of The Media Counsel.

She was also convicted of presenting cheques she knew would not be honoured and of providing false and misleading information to New Zealand’s Print Media Accreditation Authority, which accredits all domestic advertising agencies operating in the country.

Contacted by Mumbrella this morning David Lewis, CEO of the Chaos Group, described Wynyard as a “foundation member of our team” at Chaos Media, but refused to confirm her precise position in the agency. Company searches have confirmed she is not a shareholder or director of Chaos Media.

Glenda Wynyard has been a valuable contributor to our agency and its clients. I have been aware of Glenda’s situation within the New Zealand market from the outset and at no time has she ever hidden her position from anyone in the Australian market,” said Lewis. 

When asked whether the agency would continue to employ Wynyard he added: “Chaos Media has outstanding staff and expertise and we continue to provide high quality services to our clients. Glenda is currently in New Zealand and as this case has not been concluded, to make any further comment would be inappropriate.”

He said Chaos’ clients, which include clothes retailer Rivers, were “completely aware of this matter”.

Leadership and mentoring program Legends and Leaders, which has listed Wynyard as a mentor, has also been contacted about whether it will continue to use her services.

Wynyard founded The Media Counsel in 2006 after leaving Universal McCann, but the agency was hit hard by the impact of the global financial crisis, the court was told.

The Media Counsel lost its accreditation to buy media from the Print Media Accreditation Authority in mid-2009, and entered into a “place through” agreement for Aegis to buy advertising on its behalf, with The Media Counsel taking commission only after it had paid Aegis for the transactions.

However, The Media Counsel already had an existing arrangement with a company called Marac, which would give it cash advances secured against invoices from clients it considered a good credit risk.

The court found that after entering into the agreement with Aegis, Wynyard continued to divert client money which should have been paid to Aegis to service debts under the Marac arrangement.

She was found guilty of 11 of 13 charges, with New Zealand’s Serious Fraud Office director, Julie Read, saying in a statement: “This case demonstrates the importance of transparency and integrity when conducting business, especially in hard times where these boundaries can become blurred.”

She was convicted on Friday of two charges of causing loss by deception, seven charges of theft by person in a special relationship and four charges of dishonestly using a document.

The court acquitted her of one count of causing loss by deception and one count of theft by person in a special relationship.

Wynyard will be sentenced in New Zealand on April 24.

Nic Christensen 


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