Fraudster's friends: We got justice

By Debbie Porteous

Photo / File
Photo / File

The victims of fraudster Brent Murray say they are happy to see some justice done, even though they believe they will never get their money back.

Murray's victims were his friends, some for more than 20 years, and members of his church.

Four victims laid complaints with police, but say more people were taken in by Murray - family members, the elderly and ill, and beneficiaries, some who gave up their life savings to help a man regarded as a trusted friend.

Some of Murray's victims, none of whom wanted to be identified, were in court yesterday to see the computer salesman from Mosgiel sentenced to prison for three years and four months after admitting four charges of fraud and one of using a document to gain pecuniary advantage.

"Seeing him in prison is the justice we have been looking for, but I don't think he's remorseful. He's very good at saying the words people want to hear," said one friend who gave Murray thousands of dollars on promises he would repay it when a grant and mortgage increase came through.

The stress and having trusted someone who lied to them had been hard to deal with, she said.

She was one four victims who eventually complained to police about Murray's activities.

She claimed Murray owed nearly $1.2 million to 22 people, most of whom did not want to make an official complaint.

Another victim, who met Murray at their church, invested in Murray's business by initially loaning him money he inherited, $225,000, and more later, he said.

Murray would pay the interest, but kept rolling over the principal.

Another victim has been left with a $48,000 bill to a finance company after Murray faked an invoice to the company to obtain the loan, to pay back a loan he took from her company. She said she had tried to help Murray sort his books in the hope of getting back her money.

When she realised he was insolvent, she organised a meeting for 22 creditors he identified.

"One woman was 80 and gave him her life savings. Another man had Alzheimer's. It was just ... awful."

She said it was unclear on what Murray spent the money.

He was always well dressed and had "the best of everything", but had been operating a ponzi-scheme of sorts.

"He would borrow $2000 and pay you back $3000, then he would borrow more from you, but eventually the paying back stopped."

She said his creditors rallied around him for six to nine months, spending hours going through his accounts, trying to find ways to help him, before one couple finally made an official complaint.

She was happy he was going to prison, and hoped it might be a warning to others about dealing with him.

"We know we are never going to get our money back, but we got justice. Otherwise, he would have still be walking the streets."

- Otago Daily Times

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