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

Woman who posed as millionaire entrepreneur jailed

Recidivist fraudster Yvonne Cash being sentenced at Auckland District Court. Photo / Rob Kidd
Recidivist fraudster Yvonne Cash being sentenced at Auckland District Court. Photo / Rob Kidd

A recidivist scam artist posed as a millionaire entrepreneur to rip people off in her latest con jobs, a court had heard.

Yvonne Cash was jailed for 13 months when she appeared in the Auckland District Court this morning having admitted three charges of obtaining by deception and two of using a forged document.

The fraud convictions will be added to three previous in New Zealand and a slew in Australia, where she was jailed for six years at one stage.

Cash, who ripped off three victims last year or $18,000, wrote a letter of apology to the court.

"There's no excuse for the offending, now or in the past. I've let many people down and for this reason have no intention of offending again."

But Judge Anne Kiernan was not convinced of her remorse.

"I must view that [with] a certain amount of cynicism but if it is true, time will tell. This might be the last time you appear in court for fraudulent offending but given your history I have to say that would be a huge change in behaviour," she said.

Cash's lawyer Laurence Herbke argued for a sentence of home detention to be served in Manurewa should be imposed but the judge disagreed.

"You're a long-term fraudster. Prison is the only appropriate sentence today," she said.

In September, Cash approached a software business owner through a website, claiming to be a potential investor called Beverley Meeks.

When she sat down with the businessman, she posed as a different person under another fake name and offered to inject $1.8m into the company.

The only catch was she needed $11,500 for overseas funds to be released.

Cash convinced the man by showing him an ANZ trust account statement showing a balance of $6m.

But it had been doctored.

"Some of her scams were so sophisticated, because of her personality, you just felt like you could trust her. I was completely fooled," the man said.

In a similar ruse she was able to nab $1500 from another man but the final case for which she was sentenced was much more personal.

Cash moved into a Red Beach home as a tenant with a woman and her family.

Hearing the woman was struggling financially, the defendant offered to buy her a cafe.

She offered the owners of the Pine Cafe in Orewa $3m for the business, providing documents from the Australian Attorney General and Minister of Justice to give her bid legitimacy.

But at the last minute Cash pulled the plug on the deal, moving on to look at bed and breakfasts in the Gold Coast.

"At no time did you intend purchasing any property, nor did you have any available funds to do so," Judge Kiernan said.

The victim wrote that she had her whole house packed up and was ready to move to Queensland to run the business before she found out it was entirely fabricated.

By that point Cash had got away with more than $5000.

Even in restorative justice conferences with two of the three victims, she vowed to repay them, telling one man she had a $2m divorce settlement waiting for her in Australia, of which he would get $250,000.

Crown prosecutor Jeff Simpson said Cash had misled the victims again but Judge Kiernan gave her some credit for making face-to-face apologies to them.

She acknowledged there was no way of discerning whether the remorse was genuine and said one of the victims had got it "spot on" in his statement.

"You have a chance now for your actions to speak louder than your words," he wrote.

"I hope those words ring in your ears in the months to come," the judge told her.

Because Cash still owed more than $8000 to previous victims, the judge said she could not order further reparation.

- NZ Herald

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