Waikato man admits to using women's details to rack up thousands in debt

Naden Tamihere, appearing in the Hamilton District Court via audio visual link.
TOM LEE/FAIRFAX NZ

Naden Tamihere, appearing in the Hamilton District Court via audio visual link.

He told women he loved them and that he would pay the money back. 

But the 50-year-old Waikato farmer never did. Now he's pleaded guilty to stealing more than $60,000. 

Naden Tamihere would gain his victims' trust before using their identities to get credit cards and finance, racking up thousands of dollars in debt under their names.  

He met some of his victims through online dating sites. Others were on-off relationships forged over the years. 

During his offending, which occurred between July 2011 and the end of 2016, the Tapapa resident sent his seven victims into a total of $63,966 in debt.

In Hamilton District Court on Wednesday, Tamihere pleaded guilty by visual link from prison to five counts of obtaining a document by deception, five of using a document for pecuniary advantage and two of breaching bail.

One of Naden Tamihere's victims said she might have to sell her property to stay on top of crippling debt.

One of Naden Tamihere's victims said she might have to sell her property to stay on top of crippling debt.

One of his victims, who did not wish to be named, said she had been left in crippling debt. 

"I'm struggling to pay it and I have a good salary. With this added debt, I potentially have to sell my property so I don't end up in further debt."

The 44-year-old solo mother met Tamihere through the American-based online dating website Plenty of Fish in September last year.

The pair met in person in early October and kicked off a three-month relationship.

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"I met him and he seemed like the real deal."

She spent time at the farm he was working on and met Tamihere's children, who live with their mother.

"Nei would send me some of the nicest messages. We would always text or call good morning and goodnight. He often told me how lucky he was to have met me, how much he loved me and appreciated me being in his life, so I had no reason to believe this was anything other than a loving relationship.

"I had financed some farm equipment for Naden in my name, as he'd told me a whole lot of stories of why his friends and family had just taken on debt and weren't in a position to help. He promised that he would make all the payments and set up a direct debit, which he did."

But in January this year, she received a Facebook message informing her Tamihere had been using her personal details to apply for credit with various companies.

The woman did a credit check that uncovered Tamihere's deception. He had used her driver's licence number and details to make credit applications with various companies, including a $10,000 credit with Farm source, court documents state.

He filled out an application in her name and witnessed it signing his own alias, Nei Pryor.

"It seemed legitimate - he'd asked for a copy of my driver's licence because I was driving his farm vehicles and he wanted it for his insurance.

"That's how he got my ID, which he was using for applications I didn't know about."

And she wasn't the only one. 

According to the summary of facts, there were six victims. A seventh was a lending agent for GE Money.

In May 2011, Tamihere began dating a woman who applied for a credit card for Tamihere to use, on the grounds he would pay back any spending.

When the relationship ended in August that year, woman blocked the card, making an agreement the debt would be repaid. 

But Tamihere went on to phone the bank, disguising his voice as the victim, to get the card unblocked. He used the card 96 times, spending $10,173 before April 2013.

He also used the woman's driver's licence to obtain an American Express card in June 2011. He used that card 33 times in six months, leaving her $5666.24 in debt.

During the six months after the pair had broken up, he gained a second Amex in her name, spending another $6496. 

In June that same year, court documents show Tamihere used the identity of a man known to him - including his name, date of birth and driver's licence number, to open an account via the phone with telecommunications provider Spark. 

Spark supplied him with phone, internet and landline connections. Using the account, he ordered six mobile devices and by the time the account was closed in May 2014, he'd spent $9196.76.

He also set up a Vodafone account under the man's name and spent $434.96, leaving the victim on the debt collector's list.

In December 2013, Tamihere used the details of two women to apply for GE Money loans. He filled out the applications using the women's altered power bills.

But in both cases, the financier suspected the applications were false and contacted the women who reported it to police. 

When interviewed, Tamihere said he needed the cash for everyday expenses, even though he worked as a farmer.

Then in June 2016, Tamihere rekindled a relationship with a woman he had known four years prior.

In the two months they were together, Tamihere obtained her details and opened an account under her name with PGG Wrightson.

The woman was unaware until the company called her asking about the $8000 owing on the account. 

During that relationship, the woman agreed to be guarantor on flexi-rent agreements. Unbeknown to her, Tamihere used that position to gain a $15,000 credit on a Warehouse Visa account.

In three months, he purchased $14,804.95 worth of goods, ranging from food to electronics, making one payment of $1281 from his own bank account.

In court, Tamihere's lawyer said he would like to seek restorative justice with his victims ahead of sentencing.

Judge Noel Cocurullo remanded Tamihere in custody to reappear for sentencing on July 31. 

 - Stuff

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