12 Jun 2015

'Parasitic' scammer jailed for three years

3:17 pm on 12 June 2015

A man who took part in an advertising scam described by the Crown as sustained parasitic criminal offending motivated by greed has been jailed for three years.

Johannes Hendrick Maria Middeldorp, 63, and co-accused Noelene Kay Banton, 61, have been sentenced in the High Court in Wellington on seven charges of making documents which caused loss to others.

Between July 2011 and October 2012, they targeted small businesses and charities, selling advertising in non-existent publications, usually between $300 and $500 apiece, making a total of over $114,000.

Some businesses were targeted multiple times, which Justice Mallon said were referred to as bunnies.

"It was persistent offending carried out over sixteen months. The amount netted was not insignificant, and when bunnies where targeted, usually because they were a soft touch for an altruistic cause, there was an element of exploitation."

Middeldorp is said to have commented, "Where else could you make this amount of money for doing so little work?"

Justice Mallon said Middeldorp was the instigator of the scam and Banton, his partner of 20 years, went along with it.

She recognised Banton was not as culpable as Middeldorp and sentenced her to 12 months' home detention with 200 hours community work.