Business owners help find alleged fraudster

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 15:04 22/08/2014

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Police believe they have uncovered a "rare" form of fraud in Central Otago involving bad cheques.

Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said a 24-year-old Invercargill man was arrested in Cromwell last night and charged with obtaining by deception.

Over recent days the man had been buying goods from businesses around Alexandra and Cromwell with allegedly bad cheques.

Police believed he might have also presented cheques in Queenstown.

"Over recent days this week police at both Cromwell and Alexandra have been contacted by several local businesses who are concerned about a male buying goods by cheque," Kerrisk said.

"Cromwell Police have done a lot of work around this matter and some property has been recovered, but we now know there are more victims in the community who are yet to realise they have been deceived.

"While we have identified some of those businesses and will be making contact with them over the next few days, there are likely to still be others out there."

This type of offending was rare in the Central Otago area, he said.

The investigation was focused on a single person and a single cheque account, he said.

''One of the reasons we were able to act on this so quickly is that our local businesses talk to each other and if someone has a suspicion something is not right they contact other businesses and share their concerns. That has certainly been helpful in this case." 

Further charges will be laid and police were urging anyone who had dealt with this man and received one of those cheques to contact police.

The man will appear in the Alexandra District Court on September 4.

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