Three people took more than $20,000 out of a man's TSB Bank account and used the money to live it up in Auckland.
In the New Plymouth District Court today, Caleb Leigh Bowring, 20, was the first of the trio to appear for sentencing after he pleaded guilty to fraud.
The two women he is jointly charged with had both previously been in relationships with the victim.
They gave the victim's bank details to Bowring, who used the information to deceive bank employees and successfully gain access to the victim's bank account.
On six occasions between March 13 and March 15 Bowring transferred a total of $21,400 into a National Bank account which belonged to one of the co-accused women.
The money was frittered away in Auckland where they lived it up in a motel.
When they became aware that police were on their tail, they left town.
Bowring and his partner - one of the co-accused - rented accommodation in Rotorua where Bowring removed the washing machine and sold it for $150.
Police tracked him down on May 16 and he admitted what he had done.
Defence lawyer Jo Woodcock said Bowring had cut ties with the co-accused and their associates and was now living with his stepfather and training to be a farm manager.
He had caved to pressure from his then partner to carry out the fraud and his earlier criminal history was limited to driving-related matters, she said.
Judge Allan Roberts said Bowring pleaded guilty to most of the eight charges in June but had engaged in delaying tactics for the next five months, failing to show up in court.
A co-offender who also pleaded guilty to her role in the fraud was to be sentenced next week.
The second woman was yet to plead.
''There's no such thing as a free lunch,'' the judge told Bowring.
Bowring had $5140.31 in outstanding court fines.
Judge Roberts remitted the fines replacing them with 150 hours community work in addition to 200 hours community work for the frauds.
Bowring is to serve nine months supervision to undergo programmes deemed suitable and is to live and work where directed.
Bowring was also ordered pay his share of the reparation once he gains a job. ''But without money you are no use to anyone,'' the judge said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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