One of the thieves who stole the Victoria Crosses from the National Army Museum is facing fresh scrutiny over a failed exploit that saw him returned to prison.

Ronnie van Wakeren got out of prison in December 2015 but was back inside a year later after setting up an online escort agency.

Herald on Sunday scrutiny of the documents used to form the business have the Companies Office considering action because of the similarities between signatures and handwriting associated with two different names.

It is coming up to the 10th anniversary of the audacious burglary of the National Army Museum at Waiouru in which 96 medals were stolen, including nine Victoria Cross medals.

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The medals were eventually returned in a deal brokered by Auckland lawyer Chris Comeskey.

Van Wakeren and James Kapa were convicted for the theft - the former getting 12 years and three months prison and the latter 13 years three months inside.

James Kapa remains in prison serving 13 years and three months for stealing medals from the National Army Museum.
James Kapa remains in prison serving 13 years and three months for stealing medals from the National Army Museum.

Ten years have now passed, and both will be in prison for the anniversary of the thefts.

Van Wakeren was returned for a breach of parole and Kapa was rejected - again - for parole just last month.

Van Wakeren's breach of parole was linked to him setting up a company called RVW Online Trading Ltd. His sole shareholding and directorship in the company was found to be a breach of his parole conditions.

When van Wakeren found he was facing questions over his role with the company, it updated with two new directors - a Shaun Doherty and Ron Smith, with both names giving van Wakeren's home address as their own.

Ronald Van Wakeren was returned to prison to continue serving a sentence for stealing medals from the National Army Museum.
Ronald Van Wakeren was returned to prison to continue serving a sentence for stealing medals from the National Army Museum.

An examination of the documents by the Herald on Sunday found the directorship documents for van Wakeren and Doherty shared handwriting similarities.

Handwriting analyst Mike Maran was sent a copy of the two documents and agreed - he said in his opinion it was "more probable than not" the documents were completed by the same author, even though they purported to be from different people.

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He said "constructional features" of the date were telling, as was the slant and the space between the numerals.

"I would say it's the same author throughout."

Van Wakeren's criminal record includes 131 convictions for fraud and forgery and 28 for dishonest use of a computer.

A Companies Office spokeswoman said RVW Online Trading Ltd had since been removed from the companies' register.

Signatures from the two different documents used to register a company owned by Ron van Wakeren.
Signatures from the two different documents used to register a company owned by Ron van Wakeren.

She would not comment on the "apparent similarity of the handwriting and signatures for both Mr van Wakeren and Mr Doherty".

The Companies Office was considering "further action", she said. The maximum penalty for providing false or misleading information was a fine of $50,000 or imprisonment for a term of 2 years.

In total, just 19 people had been convicted since 2010.

But a decision on taking it further would include consideration that the company had been removed and van Wakeren did not appear to be a director in any other companies.
When asked how the Companies Office was sure the serial fraudster was not a director, it responded by saying it had checked for van Wakeren's name and not found it.

Charles Uphams VC and bar, among the 96 stolen war medals that were returned to the National Army Museum. Photo / John Cowpland
Charles Uphams VC and bar, among the 96 stolen war medals that were returned to the National Army Museum. Photo / John Cowpland

Van Wakeren is eligible for his next parole hearing in December but his fellow thief Kapa has just been told he isn't getting out this year.

At a hearing held in October, Kapa - who has accrued more than 200 convictions since 1984 - had completed rehabilitation and was working in a prison-based workshop.

His parole hearing saw Kapa "dumbfounded" when he was told his internal prison reports on his work progress was in complete contrast to his employer's view when asked.
Although the brief prison reports were positive, his employer had told the parole officer that Kapa's work "had not been favourable".

The Parole Board also said Kapa's enthusiasm for work involving computers and law on release were not realistic given his background. He was urged to follow a psychologist's advice he find other ways of getting "the excitement and intellectual challenge of offending and evading detection".