26 Nov 2014

Fraud earns jail term for elderly lawyer

3:19 pm on 26 November 2014

A former Dunedin lawyer struck off for misappropriating almost $2.8 million has been jailed for eight years and one month.

Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish sentenced John David Milne, 79, on 33 criminal charges laid by the Serious Fraud Office relating to crimes committed over 21 years.

They relate to eliciting money from clients or associates on the premise that he would invest that money and pay them a return.

Judge Farish told Milne he stole money from hard-working, decent, honest New Zealanders.

"I think to a certain extent you've been in denial, and you're still in denial," she said.

"You're in denial in relation to your ability, ever, to be able to repay this money.

"You're in denial that you were borrowing from clients. You're in denial because you were stealing from your clients."

Crown prosecutor Rachael Reed told the court Milne's actions were predatory and he took full advantage of his 32 victims, many who knew and trusted him as a friend.

The abuse of trust in the case had been staggering, Ms Reed said.

Judge Farish told Milne he was in denial about his offending.

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