4 Nov 2011

Lawyer hooked by African scam convicted of fraud

9:21 pm on 4 November 2011

A Rotorua lawyer who fell for an African email banking scam has been convicted of fraud.

John David Rangitauira, 59, appeared in the Rotorua District Court on four charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

He asked Westpac for $500,000, saying it was for an overseas property transaction.

The Serious Fraud Office says, in reality, Rangitauira sent the money to a bank account in Burkina Faso to scammers who had promised him a part of a $28 million inheritance if he advanced them the money.

"I can't obviously comment for the bank but I struggle to imagine a scenario where a financier would lend money for the purposes of providing that sum to people overseas to release inheritance money," said SFO investigator Nick Paterson.

Rangitauira also sent another $300,000 illegally taken from a trust on which he was a trustee and solicitor.

All of the money was lost.

Rangitauira will be sentenced next month.