Excessive greed drives 'determined' fraudster
Courtesy of Stuff
Wayne Patterson had more than 100 identities, and the proceeds of his crimes were secreted around his rented home.
His crimes span 30 years and while he was talented at ripping off benefits systems, he was far from perfect, having previously served time in New Zealand, Australian and United States prisons for fraud.
When police came to his Auckland home in October last year they stumbled upon his lifestyle, including $750,000 in cash buried in the garden, $200,000 and 18 gold bars hidden in his shower.
His bedroom boasted a marble master suite and tropical fish and the lavish garden featured $50,000 worth of rare plants.
The rented flat also had a personal gym with a widescreen television.
Police also found the tools of Patterson's trade, including 137 cash machine cards, 102 forged birth certificates, 56 community service cards, 79 superannuation cards and 125 Inland Revenue cards.
Patterson, 47, was jailed for eight years and must serve at least five after his sentencing in the High Court at Auckland yesterday.
He had earlier admitted 10 false identity and fraud charges.
His sentence comes with a five-year non-parole period.
Justice Peter Woodhouse said Patterson was a "determined, recidivist fraudster" who was motivated by excessive greed, having talked of wanting to be a millionaire since childhood.
First convicted of fraud in 1976, Patterson went on to rack up fraud convictions in Australia and the US, for which he served prison terms.
He was extradited to New Zealand in 2002, prosecuted for offences he had committed in 1998 and sentenced to home detention.
Within a month of ending his sentence in June 2003, he was at it again.
His latest spree, between 2003 and 2006, made him New Zealand's worst benefit fraudster and eroded public confidence in the Social Development Ministry which administers benefits.
A crown application for forfeiture of assets under the Proceeds of Crimes Act was adjourned to a future date