Tour organiser told to pay up

Last updated 15:12 09/12/2013

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A man who says he has $4.50 in the bank has been fined $45,000 and ordered to pay $26,368 back to the customers he cheated with his Elton John concert travel arrangements.

Blenheim man Roger Sutherland, 72, now lives in rental accommodation and his sole source of income is superannuation.

He told defence counsel Andrew Riches yesterday that he had $50 in cash and virtually nothing in the bank. He is in poor health and has repeatedly failed to turn up to court sittings in Christchurch this year.

Sutherland claims he actually made a loss out of the 2011 venture, for which he had to pay for bus transport and meals at the Oamaru Workingmen's Club for the travellers.

Prosecutor John Dixon, of the Commerce Commission in Auckland, said Sutherland made a profit of more than $26,000 by accepting the Christchurch-to-Dunedin rail bookings from customers for an Elton John concert and then switched to buses in the last few days. More than 200 people had booked.

It was then too late for customers to make other arrangements.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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