Judge rejects fraudster’s ‘inheritance’ claim

November 7, 2016 | By More

Court House-Sept-2013-06A judge says the explanation from a 35-year-old Manawatu man for raiding $74,262 from the bank account of an 80-year-old rest home resident “lacks reality”.

Christchurch District Court Judge John Strettell said Michael David Bolton’s explanation for the series of frauds did not stand up to scrutiny “in the cold hard light of day”.

Bolton’s defence counsel, Tom Smedley, said his client had taken the money from the account for associates who had told him it was their inheritance.

The judge jailed Bolton for 17 months on charges of dishonestly using the bank card and cultivating cannabis and ordered him to pay the money back to the bank.

The elderly victim had suffered considerable distress, said the judge, but the bank had decided he should be recompensed for his losses so the debt was now owed to the bank.

Bolton, a tiler, said he wanted to pay back the money, said defence counsel Tom Smedley, who urged that a home detention sentence be imposed so that he could continue working.

The judge jailed Bolton but granted him permission to apply to convert the sentence to home detention if an approved address became available during the sentence. Mr Smedley had wanted the sentencing delayed so that home detention at Bolton’s mother’s home in Papakura, Auckland, could be considered.

However, Judge Strettell said there had already been enough delays for home detention to be arranged and went ahead with the sentencing.

Bolton had obtained the bank card and PIN number and then used the card 77 times around the North Island in March to obtain goods and cash totalling $74,262. Bolton says the proceeds went to the associates and he only obtained about $500 for himself.

When police went to his Manawatu property, they found 104 cannabis plants and seedlings growing, in what the judge described as “a reasonably sophisticated operation”.

Bolton said it was for his own use because he was self-medicating for migraines and seizures. He also said some of the plants were being grown by other people.



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