Fraudster jailed over mining job scam

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 13:11 15/04/2014
Frank Yeates
Fairfax NZ
JAILED: Frank Allan Yeates, 62, was sentenced to two years and three months' jail.

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A Coromandel man who was found guilty of promising bogus jobs in the Australian mining industry has been jailed.

Frank Allan Yeates, 62, was sentenced to two years and three months' jail by Judge David Ruth in the Hamilton District Court this morning.

Yeates was found guilty of four charges by a jury after a trial in February.

Those charges were knowingly being party to AAAjobforyou NZ Ltd by carrying on a business with intent to defraud members of the public, making a false statement with intent to deceive persons on the company's website that it had mining industry positions available when this was not the case, making a false statement asserting that funds would be paid into the Crosbie and Associates Ltd trust account when this was not the case and asserting that it was part of P.F and D.T.M International Group.

All offences occurred  between February 28 and June 30, 2012.

Crown prosecutor Jacinda Foster said Yeates offending was a scam that was designed to target vulnerable people.

"People who had little or nothing but were prepared to invest that which they had or that they could borrow in order to secure futures for themselves and their families."

Against that background the crown says that this really was calculated and cynical from the outset.

"In total, Yeates defrauded his some 150 victims of about $99,000.

Yeates' counsel Lyn Walkington disputed the crown's proposed level of breach of trust, stating that Yeates wasn't in a "professional standing" in the community.

Walkington also disputed that Yeates' offending was sophisticated. But Judge Ruth agreed with the Crown that there was a reasonable breach of trust.

While he hadn't hidden behind a finance company taking in large amounts of cash, he had instead targeted people "byand large run of the mill people who had little to come and go on".

"These were not people out for a quick buck. They were genuine people who could ill afford the fees you were asking for but, who in my view were rank and file working people who were trying to better themselves but with no illusions about the work required to get there."

Judge Ruth labelled Yeates' offending as a scam, motivated by monetary greed.

Judge Ruth said Yeates took no steps to reverse the funds that were slowly going into his account, instead spending it on alcohol, trips to Australia and a "better lifestyle".

"Yours was a scam from the get go and your intention was to take as much money as you could from these people and have it while the going was good ... so your business here was brazen, it was blatant, it waswell thought out it had all the ring of truth about it and was cynical, as the crown puts it."

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Judge Ruth told Yeates that any of the victims' aspirations for abetter life "have been shattered by your need for money to line your own pocket".

Judge Ruth also noted that at trial, Yeates tried to "disparage the character" of crown key witness and whistleblower Auckland graphic designer Vivian Burgess, of iVivid Works, "the one person in your organisation who I think was acting honestly".

Judge Ruth said he had "agonised" over the type of sentence to handdown, but in the end decided that there needed to be a high level of denunciation and deterrence.

- Waikato

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