'Sophisticated' fraudster pleads guilty

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 08/08/2014

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A "sophisticated" fraudster will be sentenced in September after she pleaded guilty to charges this week.

On Wednesday, Helen Christine Williams, 35, of Stratford, appeared in the Hawera District Court in relation to five charges of using a document for financial gain.

Police prosecutor Steve Hickey said four of the charges related to a female victim who lived in New Plymouth.

According to the police summary, from September to November 2012, Williams used the pretence of helping the victim sell a car on the website Trade Me to gain access to her credit card details. She then used the credit card to buy two iPods worth a combined value of $607.98. Williams topped up her own Trade Me account to the tune of $42 and also tried to buy a vacuum cleaner worth $409, but the transaction was declined because of the victim's credit limit.

The other charge relates to the misuse of a second victim's driver licence. Using this identification, Williams set up an account with Vodafone in January 2013 and purchased two brand new iPhone 5 cellphones. However, a debt of $3556.74 was created in the victim's name and Williams went on to sell both phones on Trade Me.

Lawyer Julian Hannam said Williams had no previous convictions and the current charges were somewhat historical in nature.

However, Judge Tony Couch declined Hannam's submissions for Williams to be sentenced straight away and said a probation report was needed due to the seriousness of the offending and the breach of trust involved.

"We've got some serious deception going on here," the judge said.

Williams was remanded on bail until September 19 for sentencing.

At an earlier court appearance, Williams pleaded not guilty to six other fraud charges and is due to appear in the Hawera District Court on September 9 for a case review hearing.

A Hawera man with a "disturbing" criminal history was sentenced to community work after he head-butted another man at a party.

Teretimana Walker, 24, pleaded guilty to the assault when he appeared in the Hawera District Court on Wednesday.

Judge Tony Couch said Walker became aggressive at a party held at a Hawera address on July 19 and assaulted the man who was trying to calm him down.

The judge sentenced Walker to 100 hours of community work and ordered him to pay $300 to the victim.

A family feud landed one Hawera man in court this week.

Leslie John Muri Bowman, 52, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault after he punched his brother-in-law in the face on May 26 after approaching him on a Hawera street.

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As a result of the assault, the victim's glasses were broken.

Duty lawyer Natalie Bradley said her client, who is a father of four, accepted he needed to pay for the damage.

Judge Tony Couch convicted and sentenced Bowman to 100 hours of community work and ordered him to pay $625 in reparation.

- Taranaki Daily News

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