Canterbury fraudster, sex offender skips country while facing new charges

Convicted fraudster Wayne Eaglesome, who also uses several other names, has skipped the country...
Convicted fraudster Wayne Eaglesome, who also uses several other names, has skipped the country while facing fresh charges. Photo: Dean Purcell
A prolific Canterbury conman and sex offender has failed to appear in court on new charges because he has skipped the country.

And it is unclear if efforts will be made to bring him back.

Wayne Eaglesome, who is now known as Alexander Luce but has used a plethora of aliases over the years, was sentenced to two years and three months' imprisonment for managing a company while prohibited and making a false statement.

In 2003, he was pulled over in a taxi near Kaikoura wearing the robes of a priest and carrying a stolen credit card.

In 2006 he was jailed for five years after sexually violating and indecently assaulting an 18-year-old backpacker and indecently assaulting another youth.

He then set up a tourism industry company despite being a disqualified company director.

And he was convicted of ripping off 2degrees for tens of thousands.

He was refused parole in July 2020 as he was deemed too much of a risk to the safety of the community, but released when his sentence ended in October.

Since then he has racked up fresh charges in the Auckland District Court for breaching his release conditions.

He failed to appear at a scheduled court date earlier this year and this week his lawyer informed the court that Eaglesome was in Laos, South East Asia.

Convicted fraudster Wayne Eaglesome. Photo: Dean Purcell
Convicted fraudster Wayne Eaglesome. Photo: Dean Purcell
Police confirmed Eaglesome has "left New Zealand and not returned to date".

They would not be drawn on anything further relating to his case, including whether efforts would be made to force his return to Auckland.

Over the years he has also been known as Wayne Jury Eaglesome, George Von Rothschild, Father Antony Garibaldi, Dr Angus Harrow, Alex Newman, Bernhardt Bentinck, Bernhardt Augustus Longwater, Barnaby Gordon, Richard Mountjoy, Alex Bauer and Ari Ben Yitzhak.

The con artist has claimed to have been a super-yacht owning Harvard graduate and multi-millionaire, confidant to Saudi princes, a World Bank tax analyst, long-standing member of the New York State Bar Association, and grandson of a top surgeon who once saved the life of Fidel Castro's wife.

When Eaglesome - then going by the name Alex Oliver Bergen - appeared before the Parole Board last year it was revealed he had "12 pages of previous convictions involving a broad range of dishonesty and breaches of Court orders, together with some sexual offending in his past".

Board chairman Sir Ron Young said the offender had made "little progress" in prison.

He was said to be uncooperative with a parole report writer and had been "abusive and demanding within the prison".

"We consider Mr Bergen remains a high risk of reoffending," Sir Ron ruled.

"Our assessment of course has to be based on risk and currently Mr Bergen is an untreated offender with a very long history of dishonesty.

"He has no safety plan. He then said that no one had helped him in the prison to prepare such a plan.

"Whatever the reasons or causes for his failure to have a safety plan, the fact is he does not have a useful safety plan. That absence is highly relevant to his risk."

Eaglesome's sentence ended on October 11 and he was released.

Although the Parole Board could not keep him behind bars, it was able to impose a number of strict post-release conditions for six months.

The conditions included a ban on the recidivist criminal handing money, providing advice or management for the financial accounts or transactions, of any person or entity unless he had express permission from his probation officer.

He is also banned from operating a credit card and applying for or accepting any loans without permission.

It was not long before he was facing a new charge.

Shortly before he was last sentenced Eaglesome tried to change his name to Barnaby Gordon.

In the Christchurch District Court Judge Tom Gilbert said the constant name changes have helped him to continue to offend over the years.

Eaglesome tried to have his name suppressed but was rejected.

"For that reason, suppressing your name is very much contrary to public interest. The public has a right to know about you," Judge Gilbert said.

Eaglesome had also claimed that he'd changed his name again to Bauer, but couldn't provide any proof.

And he also alleged that he'd renounced his New Zealand citizenship – again claims the court couldn't establish.

"The difficulty with you, Mr Bergen, is one doesn't know when you are telling the truth and when you are not," Judge Gilbert said.

"You, in making the assertions to me in the past, were simply trying to mislead me to your own ends."

Eaglesome challenged the decision at the High Court.

He later dropped his bid for name suppression but tried to get his sentence quashed.

He was not successful.

At his appeal hearing his lawyer Trudi Aickin said he Eaglesome "does not need to remain in New Zealand following his release from prison".

He had told her he was an Israeli citizen, with an Israeli passport.

And he claimed to have access to cryptocurrency funds that he could cash in after his release from prison.

 

 

 

 

 

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter