An Auckland man who impersonated an immigration officer and scammed a couple out of $100,000, failed to show in court today because he was suffering from an apparent case of temporary blindness.
Vincent Smith, 29, was due to be sentenced this morning in the Auckland District Court but told his lawyer, Maxine Pitch, he was suffering from "functional visual loss".
The Burswood resident was charged last year with obtaining by deception after impersonating an immigration officer and demanding cash from a couple who believed he was assisting with their immigration application.
Over the course of several months he received some $100,000 from the pair.
Judge Russell Collins adjourned the sentencing until this afternoon and asked Pitch and police to ascertain the authenticity of Smith's claim. He ruefully added that fraudsters had been known to doctor medical documents.
When the court reconvened, Pitch and police confirmed Smith had been at Auckland Hospital this morning before being sent to an eye clinic.
"He's got a blurry eye, and that's as specific as it gets, sir," Pitch told Judge Collins.
She said there had been some trouble confirming a diagnoses.
The judge adjourned the sentencing until next month.
"If Mr Smith thinks that medical wellness would avoid a warrant [to arrest] on the 8th of February, then I would need to see a photograph of him with a neck-to-foot cast," Judge Collins said.
Smith, who pleaded guilty previously, was initially due to be sentenced last month but the hearing was adjourned after Smith offered to pay back the money to the couple within 28 days.
However, the court heard today that reparation has yet to be made.