Marty Sharpe at Stuff reports:
A fraudster who stole $3.4 million in benefits is suspected of forging a letter in an effort to win his freedom.
The letter, with a Carterton District Council letterhead, supposedly offered Wayne Patterson, 54, a job interview if he was freed from jail.
Patterson, who is serving a jail term of almost 9 years for New Zealand’s biggest benefit fraud, supplied the letter to the Parole Board, which heard his case at Whanganui Prison yesterday.
It was signed by a Paul Reynolds, who wrote that he was aware of Patterson’s offending and imprisonment and looked forward to interviewing him for a job in the council’s horticultural department.
But board member Glenda Hughes, a former police officer, told Patterson the board had contacted the council and had been informed no-one of that name worked for it and no staff had any recollection of writing the letter.
“It appears to be a forgery,” Ms Hughes said, adding that the typewriter used to write it “seems very similar to other letters you have typed, Mr Patterson”.
Her comments were among a series of probing questions put to Patterson by the three-member board, during which he became increasingly twitchy.
Ha I net he did. Caught out trying to con the Parole Board with forger letters. Can’t see him getting parole.
He picked up his copy of the letter and said: “I don’t think it is forged. It has letterhead and addresses and all that on it. It’s not a forged letter as far as I’m concerned.”
His opinion doesn’t count, and having a letterhead does not mean it is not a forgery.
Ms Hughes also questioned Patterson over the authenticity of letters said to be penned by his sister and nephew. Both had been in Australia for nine months, yet in their letters, written in April, they used their old address in Wellington.
Heh Glenda is a sharp one.
The board’s paramount concern was the community’s safety and, if it was shown that Patterson had written the letter, it would be “deeply concerning” given his history, Judge Callander said.
“If proved this was a forgery, that is a criminal offence that carries a substantial length of imprisonment.”
The matter will be referred to police for investigation and Patterson’s hearing was adjourned for three months.
If it is a forgery, the Police should prosecute.
Patterson’s sentence ends in July 2015. He became eligible for parole in January last year and yesterday’s was his third hearing.
He may end up being in there past July 2015. That would not be a bad thing.
Wayne Thomas Patterson was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison in 2007 after pleading guilty to stealing $3.4m in multiple charges of benefit fraud. He faked 123 identities to claim up to $28,000 a week for three years before his arrest in 2006.
He has a long criminal history including burglary, theft, forgery, possession of a pistol, escaping custody and non-compliance.
He has spent much of his adult life cheating welfare systems. He served 4 years of a 6-year sentence in Australia for similar offending (where he created 43 fake identities) and 3 years of a 4-year term in the United States for fraud offences.
After last year’s parole hearing, the board said he was an arrogant, egocentric man who saw “the life of a big-league parasitic fraudster as more rewarding than the drudgery of ordinary honest toil”.
Sounds like he hasn’t changed.