31 Oct 2016

Terminally ill fraudster's partner pleads with parole board

From Checkpoint, 6:07 pm on 31 October 2016


The partner of a convicted fraudster given just months to live is begging Corrections to let her return to her Auckland home.

Vicki Letele was jailed for three years and two months in March for property fraud.

She used fake documents to obtain mortgage finance for low-income families who would not otherwise have been able to get finance, and then sold those families' properties at a profit.

Six months into her sentence she was diagnosed with cancer, and given five months to live. 

She is currently under guard in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital undergoing treatment, and will be sent back to the prison at Wiri when discharged.

Letele's partner Leah Witihera said Corrections were doing their best to meet her needs, but there was no heart in it.

"There's no rubbing of the back when she's spewing over the toilet bowl ... they're just doing their jobs."

Ms Witihera said Letele was suffering a lot, and she was only able to be with her four hours a day.

"But what about the other hours? We don't know what's going on."

Letele's medical team, including senior oncologists, have written to the Parole Board, saying she can not be cared for properly in prison.

Ms Witihera said she was worried about Letele returning to her prison cell.

"Just not having anyone there to help her, to comfort her, to make her something to eat, to help her shower, to clean up after herself.

"Vicki is a very conservative person ... so if we're not there she will will try her best to do that."

She said Letele needed her family with her 24-7.

"To hear her kids playing, laughing, reading and when she's at home, we just live not far from Middlemore."

Ms Witihera said she was praying for Letele to come home.

"We want her last days, or months, or however long, with us."