'Industrial scale' benefit fraudster loses appeal against release conditions

Wayne Patterson in court in 2007.

Wayne Patterson in court in 2007.

One of New Zealand's most notorious fraudsters who fleeced the taxpayer of more than $3 million has lost an appeal against the conditions imposed on him following his release from prison.

Wayne Thomas Patterson collected welfare benefits under 100 false identities, offending the Court of Appeal described as being on an "industrial scale".

Even as his release loomed from the eight-year jail term imposed for those offences in 2008, he forged letters to bolster his case for parole, earning another two years' jail for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Patterson's loot included gold, and he invested well so that more was recovered than had been stolen.

Patterson's loot included gold, and he invested well so that more was recovered than had been stolen.

In July 2016, primed for release again, Patterson learned the Corrections Department wanted special conditions imposed until July 2017 that were intended to reduce his risk of reoffending.

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Since then he has successfully fought a condition that would have banned him from accessing the internet but the trade-off was that he had to tell his probation officer about internet-capable, communication, and document-making devices he had so that his compliance with restrictions could be monitored.

Patterson's lawyer argued in the Court of Appeal that the monitoring condition amounted to an unjustified power of random search.

But on Monday the court rejected Patterson's appeal. It said the limitation on Patterson's rights was justified to reduce the risk of him reoffending.

It also confirmed a condition that Patterson had to provide details of all his bank accounts.

Patterson had to live in the Wairarapa town of Carterton, as part of the conditions.

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