A former Stratford man could escape a jail sentence if he pays back money to the people he defrauded.
Steven Francis Younger, 45, was to have been sentenced yesterday in the New Plymouth District Court on five fraud charges.
Younger pleaded guilty mid-trial in February to the charges, most of which involved obtaining money from elderly people and failing to pay them back.
Sentencing was postponed, however, when Judge Allan Roberts asked for proof that Younger had paid $7000 into the account of one of his victims, Bruce Moore, on May 20.
"I will need to be satisfied that man [Mr Moore] has his money," Judge Roberts said.
Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich said Younger had effectively stolen the money from three complainants who were genuine, honest and good people who had felt betrayed.
Mr Marinovich called for a jail sentence of two years.
Younger's lawyer, Jeremy Bioletti, of Auckland, said his client intended to pay the full reparation but needed to be allowed to continue to work in order to do so.
As the probation officer said, Younger was "working his bum off" on a farm in Auckland while his wife was working two jobs, Mr Bioletti said.
Younger would have the $34,000 to repay the remainder of the outstanding money in 28 days, Mr Bioletti said.
Judge Roberts said if the $34,000 was returned to both Mr Moore and Barbara Coles, Younger would escape jail.
If he defaulted on either debt, the issue of imprisonment would be addressed at the new sentencing date on June 28, Judge Roberts said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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