Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Fraudster with 40 previous convictions sent to jail

Grant King, pictured in 2013, has 40 previous convictions. Photo / File
Grant King, pictured in 2013, has 40 previous convictions. Photo / File

Three times bankrupt, Grant Norman King stood in the dock in Waitakere District Court where he was sentenced to 262 hours of community work.

It was July 30, 2012, and he had admitted charges of violating the terms of that bankruptcy after ripping off a west Auckland man over a $23,500 sleep out that was never built.

That same day and unbeknown to the sentencing judge or the authorities, he received his first payment from Chinese business Pangtong Investments who he had secretly been working with.

Adjudicated bankrupt on October 14, 2010, King had submitted a compulsory statement of assets and liabilities to the Official Assignee.

But he had a Kiwibank account he did not disclose, which was essentially used as the business account for the New Zealand base of the operation.

King was instrumental in designing and marketing a new anchor design which was backed by a "Mr Li", the court heard.

Between July 2012 and May 2013, the defendant concealed income of $58,650 from the Official Assignee by using the secret account.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said the potential loss for the company, which was also misled by King, could eventually be as much as $300,000.

"I find that you knew full well the restrictions on you and you chose to game the system," Judge Kevin Glubb said, after finding him guilty of six charges following a judge-alone trial recently.

"I find that your role in the management of that business venture was extensive, essentially from the inception and as such I find that in essence you were a guiding hand in the creation of this business."

The convictions were added to the 60-year-old's 40 previous convictions, many of which were for similarly fraudulent behaviour.

Judge Glubb said the fact the offending took place before and after sentencing on other matters showed particular audacity on King's part.

"You were given 262 hours' community work at that time and you brazenly re-engaged in the management of another business and further offended in the same way, albeit it escalated."

King was jailed for 18 months despite arguing for home detention.

He told the court he was the sole caregiver for two adult dependents but that was not enough to sway the judge.

"The reality is, when the court encounter recidivist offending such as this, those personal circumstances pale somewhat in significance," Judge Glubb said.

"Mr King, it is a sad say that you have come to this juncture. The fact is you have flouted the rules around bankruptcy and you have done it repeatedly. You cannot do this again."

A planned appeal to the High Court against the sentence was abandoned by the defendant.

King made headlines in 2012 when the Herald revealed he took $23,500, a 75-per-cent deposit for a sleep out, from Steve Taylor.

The work was never done.

Since then, Mr Taylor had set up a blog designed to warn others of the fraudster's activity.

He was still to see a cent from King but found significant solace in him being jailed.

"To see Grant King finally being led away to jail was simply the sweetest victory to behold," he said.

"My message to consumers who have been ripped off is: 'Don't walk away. Fight back, always'."

- NZ Herald

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