Stratford man 'targeted wife's elderly clients'

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 19/02/2013

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A former Stratford motel manager allegedly targeted his hairdresser wife's elderly clients for loans then never paid them back, the jury in his trial was told yesterday.

Steven Francis Younger, 45, denies 15 fraud charges and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice about two years ago.

Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich told the jury in the New Plymouth District Court that Younger deliberately and blatantly ripped off trusting people, telling them he would pay them back within a certain time, but never did.

Younger also dishonestly took money from the Antonio Mews Motel during the time he and his wife managed it, Mr Marinovich said.

Four charges relate to Barbara Coles, 74, who from 1998 to 2009 got her hair cut by Younger's wife Judith at the Youngers' home.

There Mrs Coles formed a friendship with the accused.

After his wife got cancer Younger asked Mrs Coles for a $42,000 loan, for a five-month period between December 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011.

Younger asked that his wife was not to know because of her health issues. He promised to make repayments of $7000 a month but made excuses when he failed to.

At one point he gave a cheque for $42,000.

It was dishonoured.

Mr Marinovich said the transaction was illegal because Younger never had the ability to pay. He put up a tractor which did not belong to him as security.

A second victim was Barry Moore, who gave Younger $10,000 to invest. The investment was made on a handshake.

Younger gave Mr Moore a $12,000 cheque but it was dishonoured.

Widow Mary Caldwell, 83, another client of Younger's wife, also fell victim to him. In August 2010 Younger asked her for $10,000 to enable his sick wife to have an operation.

When Younger gave Mrs Caldwell a cheque for $2200 he warned her not to bank it because there was not enough money in his account.

After Mrs Caldwell reported the alleged fraud to police, Younger went to her home and asked her to withdraw the complaint.

These actions resulted in him being charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, Mr Marinovich said.

Other fraud charges relate to Younger allegedly altering cheques paid to the motel, changing the name on them and cashing them at the Empire Hotel. One was from an indoor bowling club and another from a hockey club.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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