Extradition off the cards for alleged fraudster accused of stealing $230K

Michael Talane Foster is alleged to have stolen money from his employer while working in Taranaki.
Mark Taylor

Michael Talane Foster is alleged to have stolen money from his employer while working in Taranaki.

A man who left the country before he could be formally charged with the alleged theft of $230,000 from a medical laboratory may never appear in a New Zealand courtroom.

In July, a warrant for the arrest of Michael Talane Foster was issued by the New Plymouth District Court on three charges which allege he altered documents, dishonestly accessed a computer and stole $231,646 from Taranaki Medlab, which is his former employer.

Before the charges were formally laid, Foster left New Zealand for the United States.

The man wanted in connection with the alleged theft of $230,000 from a Taranaki medical laboratory is still in the ...
SIMON O'CONNOR/FAIRFAX NZ

The man wanted in connection with the alleged theft of $230,000 from a Taranaki medical laboratory is still in the United States.

Despite attempts to locate Foster, Detective Chris Ander said the case did not meet the threshold for international crime-fighting organisation Interpol to get involved. This means Foster will not be extradited back to New Zealand, he said.

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Ander said the warrant for Foster's arrest would be acted upon should he return to the country.

Police attended 12 domestic violence calls outs between an offender and his partner since January this year.
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ

Police attended 12 domestic violence calls outs between an offender and his partner since January this year.

An alert would be placed on the system to advise customs officials of the outstanding warrant, he said.

Court documents show Foster faces charges of theft, obtaining by deception and dishonestly accessing a computer system. The alleged offending spanned almost 13 years, from July 2003 to January 2016. The most serious offence carries a 10-year maximum jail term.

This case joins a flurry of other white collar crime Taranaki police have dealt with in recent months.

An investigation was launched in June into financial fraud at Waitara Travel, where police have found more than $600,000 missing and 80 customers affected.

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A 42-year-old woman was arrested and charged with one count of obtaining by deception, but further charges are pending.  She is due to appear in the New Plymouth District Court on November 10.

In another case, a former Powerco employee is facing charges after fraud allegations involving $705,000 were reported to police by the energy infrastructure company.

An internal investigation by the company picked up several anomalies in its procurement and financial processes and the missing money was uncovered.

A 33-year-old female, charged with forgery and obtains by deception, is due to appear in court on November 11.

 - Stuff

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