Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Fraudster set to lose Austrian millions
Benefit fraudster Wayne Patterson will lose the $3.3 million he has invested in Austria, after the Crown won a case to retrieve it.
Wayne Thomas Patterson was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison in 2007 after pleading guilty to stealing $3.4m in multiple charges of benefit fraud.
He faked 123 identities to claim up to $28,000 a week for three years before his arrest in 2006.
The Crown has recovered the $3.4m that was taken, but it has also spent the past eight years in a legal battle in Austria to recover Apple shares and cash that had increased in value to about $3.3m.
Patterson, who employed an Austrian lawyer, has argued that the Crown has recovered what it was owed and the outstanding funds were rightfully his.
Despite telling the Parole Board last year that he had instructed his lawyer to release the funds to the Ministry of Social Development, he has continued his fight to retain the funds.
In September, the Vienna Court of First Instance heard the Crown's claim against Patterson and his Seychelles-based company Westgate Holdings Ltd, which he set up to hold the stolen proceeds.
On October 30, the court ruled that the Crown was entitled to the cash and Apple shares held in the Anglo-Irish Bank in Austria. Patterson was also ordered to pay the Crown €48,300 in legal costs.
Patterson and Westgate have until mid-January to appeal the decision.
A ministry spokesman said that if the ruling was not appealed the funds could be deposited in the consolidated account early next year.
Patterson, 55, is to appear in a judge-alone trial in January on seven charges in relation to writing forged letters in support of a failed bid for parole.
He was denied parole in March, with the Parole Board finding he could not be trusted not to offend again if released early.
The board took into consideration advice from the ministry that said Patterson was trying to thwart the ministry's attempts to recover profits made from the investment of his stolen funds.
Patterson's current sentence ends in July next year.