14 Mar 2013

Fraudster lawyer struck off

6:50 pm on 14 March 2013

A Rotorua lawyer who stole money from a Maori organisation has been banned from working in the profession.

John David Rangitauira took $338,000 from Te Houoterangi Trust - and borrowed a further $506,000 from Westpac Bank.

He's been struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors by the Lawyers and Coveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.

The punishment comes after Rangitauira was convicted of fraud in 2011 and sentenced to four and a half years in jail.

He stole the money from the Maori trust after falling for an African email banking scam - sending cash to people who promised him part of a multi-million dollar inheritance, if they could borrow the money.

The tribunal found that Rangitauira had brought the legal profession into disrepute by abusing his clients' trust.

Commenting on his ban, the Law Society says the former senior lawyer lost sight of his professional responsibilities.

Rangitauira didn't object to being struck off.