Expert shows court fake invoice theory

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 15:49 11/06/2014

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A police computer expert has shown a court how he believes false invoices for earthquake repair work were created by a Christchurch landlord.

Matthew Taylor, from the New Zealand Electronic Crime Laboratory, used a laptop computer and a big-screen television to demonstrate his theories on day three of Sally Mengtung Ye's Christchurch District Court trial.

Ye denies 34 charges of dishonestly using documents - alleged to be invoices sent to EQC for emergency quake repairs on her own home and 11 rental properties - and one charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The trial before a judge-alone, Judge John Macdonald, is scheduled to finish late this week or early next week.

Crown prosecutor Marcus Zintl is calling evidence from 32 witnesses.

Taylor, who is now the laboratory's Auckland manager, said he had examined computers seized by police from Ye as part of their investigation.

The computers held a large number of Microsoft Office Publisher documents and Adobe Acrobat files which appeared to be for work done on various properties. Meta-data details in the computer showed who created the documents.

The trial concerns invoices from five different "entities" - companies or tradesmen - where the Crown alleges fictitious invoices were sent to EQC.

Taylor said he did keyword searches in the computer and found there was no record of emails or documents sent to Ye by any of the five entities. There was also no sign of her having opened any attachments belonging to any of them.

He would have expected to see a lot of information about the files if they had been opened.

He told the court he believed one invoice in question had been created by scanning a 2008 invoice from a carpet firm, and overlaying some of the existing details with new text boxes.

He demonstrated in court how that could be done.

"The author of this document was Sally Ye," he said.

The trial is continuing.

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