Police are hunting a mystery fraudster they say has been
living the "high life"after making dodgy hotel bookings,
ripping off tourists after promising jobs and selling a
stolen rental car.
The unidentified man is suspected in several cunning schemes
over recent days around the Western Bay of Plenty and Taupo.
Police are now dealing with a dozen victims and losses
running into the thousands.
In the most concerning scheme, the man was alleged to be
befriending tourists around Taupo and Tauranga, and promising
them bogus casual jobs in seafood factories in exchange for
The man had elicited further money from victims by claiming
they needed cellphones and iPads for the fake jobs, and one
tourist had lost $1500.
Some hotel and motel owners had also been caught out by the
man, after he pre-booked accommodation using fake company
emails, said Detective Sergeant Darryl Brazier of Mt
The scam was not realised until the owners sent the account
payments to the email addresses, which were "legitimate email
addresses but they are not the business addresses they
purport to be".
"He comes across as a very believable and plausible
character," Mr Brazier said.
"He regularly uses stories, such as his mother has recently
died or is extremely ill, and tries to obtain sympathy from
In another case, the suspect had stolen a rental car from a
Mt Maunganui agency and then sold it to an unsuspecting buyer
in a cash deal.
The buyer - who was told "all sorts of reasons"why the money
could not be paid into an account - only discovered it was
reported stolen after attempting to register it.
Mr Brazier said there may well be other cases police are
"There are a number of crimes starting to tally up and
obviously need to get our hands on this guy before he rips
other people off."
People who could help identify the man were asked to phone
Detective Sergeant Darryl Brazier on 07 577 4300.
Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers
by calling 0800 555 11.
- Jamie Morton of the New Zealand Herald