Convicted Stratford fraudster Steven Younger promised his elderly victims he would make them huge amounts of interest if they entrusted him with their savings.
But Younger used some of the money to pay reparation to a victim of his earlier rip-off schemes.
He also lost thousands of dollars on the horses and spent lavishly on the high life.
Two of his latest victims eventually discovered Younger was a convicted fraudster and the game was up.
In the New Plymouth District Court this week, Younger admitted 12 counts of defrauding his latest victims of close to $300,000.
One was an elderly female member of a Stratford church they both attended.
The other two were elderly men he befriended while working as a sharemilker near Parakai, north of Auckland.
In 2010, when Younger lived in Stratford, he targeted a widow in her mid-70s who lived alone.
On several occasions he visited her asking for loans, agreeing to pay in full - with interest - by Christmas. In total he talked her out of $97,000. She never saw the money or Younger again.
At one point the money went into a trust of which he was a beneficiary.
Police found he used the money to pay accounts, buy meals and make payments to the TAB.
TAB records showed that from April 2010 to March 31, 2011, he lost more than $60,000 on the horses. During his earlier sentencing this year, Younger denied he had a gambling problem.
At the end of 2012 when Younger was working as a sharemilker at Parakai, near Huapai, Younger befriended a 73-year-old neighbour. In late January he told his new victim that his sister worked "high up" in ANZ's head office and could get high interest rates on short-term deposits and foreign investments.
At one point Younger wrote out a handwritten agreement for the $20,000 his victim handed over to be repaid on May 1, 2013, when he would receive back $24,200.
On March 26, 2013, Younger told his victim: "You wouldn't believe it. My sister said the returns are getting even better." The foreign exchange was paying 50 per cent interest "because the market is going crazy". He would get $2500 back on his $5000 investment, Younger told him.
This victim gave him even more money for a foreign investment.
In total the second victim handed over $106,050 to Younger believing it was all invested.
But on August 10 the Weekend Herald published a story about Younger's arrest for fraud and the victim realised what had happened and contacted the police.
Rather than investing the money, Younger used some to pay reparation to a previous victim and gambled a percentage away.
The third victim also lived near Huapai. Younger and he shared an interest in horses and would go to a Huapai pub together to gamble.
Younger talked the third victim out of $70,000 for "investments".
On July 30, this victim also discovered Younger had been involved in fraud and spoke to him about it.
Younger apologised, promising to repay him by the end of August.
Police inquiries revealed Younger had spent the money on personal entertainment, gambling, air travel and fine dining.
At one point Younger put money into his son's account and made several internet transfers to the account of a previous victim, paying $19,000 in reparation.
Surveillance footage of Younger and his wife showed them withdrawing large amounts of cash using a credit card.
In court on Wednesday, Younger was convicted on 12 counts of fraud and further remanded in custody for sentence on December 5.
Younger denied a charge of illegally applying for a passport.
This charge will go to a case review on October 31.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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