An IT worker scammed friends and colleagues of more than $85,000 with talk of having hooked big contracts and being stricken with cancer.
Jim Greeks' boss was so concerned about him that he went to visit Greeks at the private hospital where Greeks said he was having treatment with money "advanced" from the company, only to find Greeks was not a patient.
The big contracts James Arthur Greeks said were in the bag have been disproved but Greeks, 50, refused to tell police whether he had cancer.
But in a final email to friends and colleagues at Wellington IT company LANtech - two of whom he had defrauded personally - Greeks admitted it was a sham and that he had a problem with gambling, says sales and marketing director Rex Bullard.
Greeks pleaded guilty in Wellington District Court recently to eight charges of dishonestly using documents to obtain money and obtaining money by deception.
A judge told him he could go to prison when he is sentenced in September.
Greeks declined to speak to The Dominion Post but in a statement issued through his lawyer he said people had offered him money and he had not asked for it, and entered into loan agreements for the money.
"At the time I received money from friends I was going through a tough time emotionally and turned to gambling."
The statement said that even before police became involved he was making repayments and he was committed to repaying all the money he owed.
But Mr Bullard said LANtech had received no money from Greeks.
Greeks had told several people he had cancer, including management, and was given advances and loans as a result. "There were all the tears and all that sort of stuff, because he was a great play actor," Mr Bullard said.
One staff member lent Greeks $5000 and another lent $1000. A customer who became a friend of Greeks lent him $23,130, and another woman $10,000.
Mr Bullard believes more money was lent to Greeks on the basis of his lies, but police believed it could be seen as a civil debt rather than a criminal offence.
"He was quite sneaky and got them to sign a loan agreement." LANtech advanced him about $37,000 in commission payments because he said he had landed big contracts.
"It looked like he had the biggest contract the company ever had. I think it got to the stage of being a bit delusional and he really believed it."
Greeks' nine or 10 months with the company had caused a stir.
"Financially it is a severe dent, nobody can afford to lose in effect $50,000. It is breaking all the trust in a small close company, we look after each other. It affected everybody in the company."
Mr Bullard said in LANtech, with 30 employees, people were a lot more suspicious of newcomers now and it was more rigid about pre-employment checks.
"You could look at it and say, ‘Stupid bugger', but the company is more family friendly and looks after its employees and wants them to work as a team in a partnership.
"If people look at us and say we have been sucked in, well, that's how it goes."
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