An Australian scientist plotted an elaborate scheme using multiple identities and forged New Zealand passports to defraud the country's biggest banks of almost $850,000.
Andrew G Wayne was this week jailed for two years and nine months on 49 dishonesty charges. The offending, spanning three years, included altering a document with the intention to defraud, using a forged document, money laundering, obtaining by deception and dishonestly using a document.
The 51-year-old scientist from Camperdown, in New South Wales, used a sophisticated system of travelling to New Zealand to open bank accounts and credit cards with fake IDs, something Judge Jonathan Down said took a considerable number of years to plan.
He would then return to Australia before repeating the process all over again.
While there was no discussion in court about where the money went his lawyer Peter Kaye told the judge Wayne accepted he had issues with gambling and had sought help.
Before he was Andrew G Wayne, he changed his name a total of eight times in as many years in Australia and was issued a passport in each name.
In 2003, his offending began when he applied for an ASB credit card under the name Tiandy Kwok, which was his identity at the time. He used a forged payslip from Vodafone Australia to get the application approved.
The next day, he also applied for a bank account BNZ with his Kwok identity and faked payslip.
Also that same day, he also applied for a credit card from BNZ using his former identity David Zhang and a passport he had in that name.
Over the next three years, Wayne used this scheme 34 more times using various other forged documents such as New Zealand passports, drivers licences and altered bank statements.
He kept his scheme going until March 9 last year when BNZ were alerted to his actions, shut down his accounts and notified ASB.
Wayne then turned his sights to Westpac, ANZ and Kiwibank using similar methods to open bank accounts and credit cards.
In one instance, he used one account to credit another with the reference "salary" in an effort to disguise where the money had come from.
In total, Wayne obtained almost $850,000.
His downfall was on October 11 last year when a BNZ staffer who recognised him as he tried to open yet another account and claimed to be a new customer.
Wayne flew back to Australia but was arrested upon his return to Auckland.
At sentencing on Friday at the Auckland District Court, Judge Down said Wayne's fraud was "sophisticated and serious offending" which targeted the "main high street banks".
He set a starting point of four years imprisonment for the lead offending of altering documents to defraud and using the forged documents which each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years.
Judge Down then gave discounts for Wayne's early guilty plea and the fact he would have to serve his sentence in a foreign country away from family and friends.
Wayne was jailed for two years, nine months for the lead offences with varying other sentences for the lesser charges to be served concurrently.
While there was no discussion about where the money went his lawyer Peter Kaye told the judge Wayne accepted he had issues with gambling and had sought help.
The Herald has contacted the banks victimised by his offending but has not yet received responses.
BNZ - $321,840.63
ASB - $145,940.29
WESTPAC - $267,895.99
ANZ - $107,949.97
Kiwibank did not incur a loss