Fraudster stole people's identities

Grant Silva.
Grant Silva.

A Mount Maunganui fraudster has been jailed for three years and four months and ordered to pay more than $20,000 reparation after he stole people's identities.

Grant Emanuel Silva who appeared in the Tauranga District Court this afternoon was sentenced in relation to 11 charges including dishonesty and driving offences.

The 56-year-old lived a double life and used a number of identities to obtain services, goods, two jobs and $20,448 in benefit payments.

The principal victim was his younger brother Geoffrey Paul Silva, who moved to Australia in the 1980s.

Silva was ordered to make the reparation payment of $20,448 to the Ministry of Social Development, after he is released from prison.

Silva collected a number of driving charges under other people's identities and was today disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Silva obtained a driver's licence in his brother's name in November 1997, then sat and passed a theory test.

He then used this "clean" identity to buy and register a number of vehicles, as well as gain work in Christchurch, which included paying PAYE in his brother's name.

The registered vehicles were issued three speed camera notices between 2009 and 2012, totalling $280 and Silva presented his brother's false details to police when stopped on four occasions.

Nine infringement notices totalling $1755 were issued for registration, warrant of fitness, speeding and restraint offences, and on at least one other occasion he presented the fake licence to police.

Silva gained work at Baypark after returning to Tauranga to live and assumed his brother's identity while working for Bay Leisure and Events between October and May, 2013.

He also obtained unemployment benefits under his brother's name from August 1990 until July 2009, totalling $20,448.90. He failed to declare his wages.

While working at Baypark, Silva also stole another man's identity after finding his wallet and used it to sign up to a Vodafone cellphone contract.

No payments were made and the matter is in the hands of a debt collection agency to recover the costs from the original identification owner.

Silva also forged a written character reference to obtain a rental property in Te Puke.

After moving into a new property in Te Puke he obtained a Genesis energy power account using the other man's stolen identity, and produced an altered tenancy agreement.

Silva was convicted for driving while impaired in April 2012 and lost his own licence for a year and a day but in June 2012 he obtained another driving licence in his brother's name.

He produced it to police on November 7, 2012 when caught speeding and on January 14, 2013 after a tyre fell off his vehicle and he was ticketed for having an unrestrained child in the car.

Silva told police he had used the other identities as his credit rating was "bad".

Bay Leisure and Events chief executive Gary Dawson said he was unaware of Silva's work history with Baypark as he would have been employed by the council's former trading organisation.

Mr Dawson said background checks were carried out on anyone applying for a job with Bay Leisure, and police vetting checks were conducted for anyone working closely around children, such as pool attendants, childcare centre workers and after school programmes.

"Fortunately identity fraud is pretty rare," he said.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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