Renters stung by holiday home lies

By Michele McPherson

A Bay woman has pocketed more than $13,000 in a holiday accommodation scam.
Kathryn Aileen Coyle, 51, of Te Puke, has appeared in Tauranga District Court and been convicted on six charges of causing loss by deception.
She had earlier pleaded guilty and was bailed for sentencing on June 13.
The charges each attract a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
The police summary reveals that on September 10 last year, the first victim banked $925 in Coyle's Westpac bank account as a deposit to stay in a holiday home in Pukehina Pde during the Christmas-New Year period.
At the time Coyle was booking agent for the home owner - but did not have permission to deposit the money into her account.
On December 5, Coyle asked the victim to pay another $925 into her account but the day he was to take possession of the property she phoned to say there had been a power surge destroying the internal wiring and that the house was inhabitable. No such event occurred.
Despite several calls to Coyle seeking a refund, no money was ever paid back to the victims.
Coyle sent a text message claiming to be her mother, stating she was in intensive care after a car crash and that was the reason for the delay.
This was also untrue and the victims have been unable to contact her since. A similar situation happened to another victim on September 12, who paid a $900 deposit in Coyle's bank account to rent a Pukehina Pde address.
Because of the victim's concerns about the booking he contacted the home owners, only to be told no such booking had been made. When the victim located Coyle seeking a refund he was ordered off the property.
On November 26 and January 10 this year, Coyle's fourth and fifth victims also deposited $760 and $1000 respectively into her account to rent the another Pukehina Pde address.


Coyle falsely told the fourth victim that there had been an electrical fire at the address and it was uninhabitable, and claimed she would refund the money but failed to do so.
The fifth victim was told there had been a burst water main at the address and it was not habitable and was promised a refund.
A week later Coyle rang and falsely claimed she was involved in a car accident.
The sixth victim booked to stay at an address in Napier in October and paid $500 into Coyle's bank account. Over the next two months, despite attempting to contact Coyle by email to get confirmation of her booking, she received no replies and after calls to the owner she found out she had no booking. She is yet to get a refund.
The seventh victim owns two of the properties at the centre of Coyle's deception and as a result of her actions he suffered losses totalling $8000.
Coyle told police she always intended to repay the money.
On Thursday her lawyer, Bill Nabney, told Judge Robert Wolff in court that his client had anticipated being able to pay the reparation in full via a loan from a family member but that offer had since been withdrawn and she was only in a financial position to pay back the reparation at $40 a week.
Mr Nabney urged the judge to impose a sentence of community work given Coyle's lack of prior convictions. He argued that this was a viable sentencing option in all the circumstances.
But Judge Wolff said he was not prepared to sentence Coyle without a pre-sentence report. He said her offending was "a gross breach of trust and that needed to be reflected in her sentence".

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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