Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

Serial fraudster worked as prostitute on home detention

Andrea De La Hunt, 40, aka Phipps, aka Wilson. Photo / Star Canterbury
Andrea De La Hunt, 40, aka Phipps, aka Wilson. Photo / Star Canterbury

A serial fraudster who worked as a prostitute while on home detention has today been jailed for two years, six months.

Andrea De La Hunt, 40, aka Phipps, aka Wilson, has a long criminal history, including a jail term for attempting to murder an ex-partner, and has now racked up more than 130 convictions for dishonesty dating back to 2001.

She was sentenced to 12 months' home detention in November 2011 for a series of fraud offences, which saw her steal more than $35,000 from friends, neighbours, employers, and authorities.

De La Hunt, once described by a judge as being "addicted to money", posed as her mother-in-law in 2009 to secure a loan she used to splash out on a $30,000 Dorado powerboat, and on another occasion to buy a new $16,000 Holden Commodore.

About halfway through her sentence, she lied to her probation officer, saying she was working as a beautician for a Christchurch cosmetics company.

But in reality the scam artist had forged emails purporting to be from her beautician boss to satisfy her probation officer which allowed her to get away and work as a prostitute.

She disguised her home detention electronic-monitoring bracelet as jewellery, a court previously heard.

De La Hunt pleaded guilty to a breach of home detention conditions and to four charges of dishonestly accessing a computer system by emailing false details to the probation officer.

At Christchurch District Court today Crown prosecutor Kathy Basire said it was "very difficult to find any case comparable to this case", which was akin to perverting the course of justice.

De La Hunt had a long history of fraud, with a propensity and ability to manipulate people for her own gain, she said.

In 2002, when she working as a personal banker in Auckland, she was convicted for trying to kill her partner, Darryl French.

While trying to avoid detection from bank bosses after stealing $52,000 from her cousin's account, and forging documents to try to draw $165,000 from another customer, she laced her partner's dinner with 16 sleeping tablets.

The tablets left a sour taste and Mr French left it unfinished.

She later put lavender oil on his pillow to help him sleep then poured petrol through their North Shore home. The blaze caused extensive damage but nobody was hurt.

She was jailed for attempted murder, theft as a servant, forgery, and arson but the sentence was reduced to two-and-a-half years after the Court of Appeal ruled the sentencing judge had not made sufficient allowance for her bipolar disorder.

De La Hunt was later jailed again for stealing more than $70,000 from a small Christchurch family-owned manufacturing company where she worked as office manager.

In 2008, she was convicted for a series of tax frauds in Christchurch involving more than $100,000 when Judge Paul Kellar told her: "It's apparent you have become addicted to money."

Today, the court heard she had limited remorse and was assessed at a high-risk of reoffending.

Defence counsel Nicola Pointer said De La Hunt had been offered a part-time job by a church member on her release from prison.

De La Hunt shook her head in disbelief at Judge Alistair Garland's jail sentence as she was led back into custody.APNZ kb lb

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