The Herald looks at the case of fraudster Stephen Versalko:
If it wasn't for Bernie Madoff, Stephen Versalko could still be stealing millions.
The largest employee theft in New Zealand history was discovered only after an ASB Bank client saw a television show about Madoff, America's US$50 billion fraudster.
In August, a woman who had invested more than $3 million with ASB adviser Versalko became uneasy about the fact he was the only staff member she had dealt with.
If something happened to her, she reasoned, 52-year-old Versalko would be the only person who knew anything about the funds into which her money had gone.
At about the same time, she watched a documentary about Ponzi fraudster Madoff that rang alarm bells. Madoff's technique of fobbing off his victims reminded her of Versalko.
A phone call to ASB confirmed the investor's worst fears – her multimillion-dollar investment portfolio was fictitious.
Madoff finally does some good.
Then a Serious fraud Office inquiry found nearly 30 wealthy clients had been defrauded of nearly $18 million over nine years.
Criminal charges were laid in the week before Christmas, and Versalko pleaded guilty in February.
Yesterday, he was sentenced in the Auckland District Court to six years in prison, with a minimum-non parole period of four years.
I don't think that is enough, for the scale of his offending. He had ten years of the good life living off his victim's money.
But one of the more sordid details of the case is that Versalko paid $3.4 million to two prostitutes with whom he had long-term arrangements.
Good god. That is a lot of money for sex!
If one assumes the cost of a normal sexual encounter is $200, then that is 17,000 bonks. Now over 10 years that is 1,700 bonks a year or around five bonks a day.
Now there were two of them, so he may have had threesomes, but that would still be two threesomes a day with change left over.
The Herald understands Versalko took one of the women – instead of his wife – on a business trip to Dubai to stay in the Burj Al Arab Hotel, where the cheapest room costs US$2000 a night.
He was married? Oh yuck. Poor woman.