Ex tourism boss on fraud charges

A FORMER Tourism Hunter chairman stands accused of embezzling more than $1 million from one of Pokolbin's big drawcards.

Peter Harman will appear in court next month to face nine fraud-related charges involving the loss of the money from a bank account belonging to the Peppers Guest House.

Mr Harman was the general manager of the guest house when police were called in to investigate alleged account irregularities more than 15 months ago.

He left the role in April last year.

Central Hunter detectives have investigated allegations that the money, which is well over $1 million, was taken from the bank account over about a six-month period.

More than $1 million is still outstanding.

Detectives handed over a court attendance notice to Mr Harman's legal representatives on May 9, ordering him to appear in Cessnock Local Court on June 20 to face the nine counts.

Mr Harman ran the guest house for nearly six years.

He was also the chairman of Tourism Hunter for three years and its deputy chairman for nearly one year.

He was also a high-profile member of other organisations that were promoting tourism to the vineyards and surrounds.

Peppers Guest House, situated on Ekerts Road, Pokolbin, is now up for sale, with expressions of interest closing on May 31.

A property website said the retreat was on 16 hectares of landscaped grounds with 47 guest rooms.

It had a nightly rate of $350 while a four-bedroom homestead rack rate was $1400 a night.

"All of the luxuries associated with the five-star operation are on-site, including the Endota day spa and the Sanctuary Restaurant," the website said.

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