A former Stratford motel manager and prolific gambler was yesterday convicted of conning trusting elderly people out of their savings after pleading guilty mid-trial.
Steven Francis Younger, 45, also admitted changing the names on Antonio Mews Motel cheques to the value of $5530.
The money was paid to the motel by sports teams who stayed there in July and August 2011.
Younger had initially pleaded not guilty to 16 fraud charges, some dating back to 2010.
He was half-way through his trial in New Plymouth District Court when he changed his pleas to guilty after the charges were condensed from 16 to five.
In opening the case on Monday, Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich said Younger had deliberately and blatantly ripped off trusting people, telling them he would pay them back, but never did.
Among Younger's victims were elderly couple Barbara and William Coles, who loaned him $42,000 in September 30, 2010; elderly widow Mary Caldwell, who loaned him $10,000 in July 2010, believing it was for an operation for Younger's wife, Judith; and Barry Moore, who gave him $7500 to invest in October 2011.
Younger never had the money to pay them back.
Nine people, most of whom were Younger's family and supporters, were in court to hear his change of plea.
Judge Allan Roberts, who called in the jurors to hear Younger plead guilty before releasing them, thanked them for their service.
Younger was convicted and remanded on bail for sentence on May 16. Judge Roberts called for a pre-sentence report covering all sentencing options, including home and community detention. He ordered a reparation report.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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