30 Nov 2012

$3m fraudster found guilty on all charges

6:48 pm on 30 November 2012

A man accused of defrauding millions of dollars, including from the National Party president, has been found guilty on all charges after a seven-week trial.

In the Auckland District Court today, Loizos Michaels was convicted on 30 charges of deception.

He took more than $3 million from people who thought they were buying into a takeover bid of the SkyCity Casino.

He claimed he was working on behalf of a Macau company. None of the money has been recovered.

But in delivering his verdicts, Judge Christopher Field said Michaels was the one who was telling lies and he found his evidence to be incredible.

Judge Field said Michaels created an atmosphere of financial and psychological dependence on his victims.

Michaels has been remanded in custody until sentencing on 18 December.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) says the fraudster is almost a caricature of the classic conman.

SFO acting chief executive Simon McArley says Michaels is extremely colourful and not typical of the usual conman.

"He spun a number of increasingly complex and increasingly bizarre stories," he says.

Mr McArley says while the losses aren't as great as those in finance company collapses, some of Michaels's victims have lost everything.