Theft of $680,000 from dead man alleged
A Hutt Valley man has been charged with the theft of more than half a million dollars from his ex-partner's dead father.
Rata (Raro) Teiri was arrested by police yesterday and charged with criminal breach of trust and theft by a person in a special relationship.
He was freed on bail to appear in Lower Hutt District Court next week.
It is alleged Teiri stole $680,000 from the bank account of his former partner's father during a two-year period. It is also understood police are looking to seize property – which Teiri allegedly bought with the money – under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Before his arrest, Teiri was reluctant to talk to The Dominion Post but denied any wrongdoing.
He claimed that John Wisener, the father of his former partner Mary Wisener, insisted that he take control of his money before he died.
Miss Wisener, 41, a mother of four from Avalon, wiped away tears as she told of the legal battle she had been embroiled in since she walked into a bank in February 2009 and was told only $58 remained in her father's account.
She claims that Teiri transferred the bank funds without her knowing.
"I felt like someone was taking to the back of my head with a baseball bat," she said of the moment she found the money missing.
Three weeks later, she ended her 19-year relationship with Teiri.
Bank statements seen by The Dominion Post show that $684,877 was transferred from Mr Wisener's account after he died of lung cancer in January 2007. The last electronic banking transfer was made in February 2009.
Miss Wisener claims Teiri used the home she is currently living in, which was bought using her father's money, as leverage to buy other properties, but he never paid the mortgages.
The bank is now trying to repossess her home. "... I'm about to lose it all," she said before Teiri's arrest.
Greg Kelly Law lawyer Chris Kelly said proceedings had been filed with the High Court at Wellington requesting that the property be transferred out of Teiri's name but so far he had refused.
Yesterday Miss Wisener said she was relieved to learn of Teiri's arrest but was still concerned that she could lose her house.
- © Fairfax NZ News