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Prominent sportsman stole $40,000 from grandad to fuel ‘secret gambling addiction’

A prominent New Zealand sportsman stole more than $40,000 from his grandfather and impersonated him to increase his credit limit and put the elderly man tens of thousands of dollars in debt, court documents show.

The sportsman, who last year pleaded guilty to charges of accessing a computer for a dishonest purpose and driving with a suspended licence, is due to be sentenced today at the Masterton District Court. The Herald cannot legally name him at this stage.

A court summary of facts released to the Herald by a judge revealed the sportsman lost money on online gambling sites- and stole money from his grandfather – to fuel his “secret gambling addiction”.

The man had transferred a total of $41,400 from his grandfather’s iPad to his own account between 30 March and 9 April 2021.

That amount consisted of nine separate transfers, the largest of which was $10,000.

According to the summary of facts, the sportsman had been living with his 77-year-old grandfather at a rural property.

On April 1, 2021 the grandfather went to check his bank account details on his iPad and noticed the Westpac Banking app had been deleted from the screen.

When the grandfather asked the sportsman if he knew anything about the app being deleted the sportsman said it must have been the younger grandchildren who had deleted it.

Over the next five to 10 days the grandfather allegedly asked his grandson to reinstall the banking app onto his iPad, but each time, he made excuses about why he couldn’t do it.

Nine days later the grandfather phoned Westpac to check his account balance only to discover his credit card was $29,000 in debt.

Bank inquiries revealed that large sums of money had been transferred from the grandfather’s credit card account to the grandfather’s cheque account, and then had been immediately transferred to the sportsman’s ASB account.

On April 6, the sportsman transferred $7500 back into his grandfather’s account.

The sportsman also pretended to be his grandfather on three occasions, to convince the bank to increase the credit limit or ensure that transactions went through.

After the dishonesty was discovered, the grandfather approached the sportsman about the missing money but he never returned his calls or went back to his house.According to court documents, the sportsman confessed to his mother what he had done.

The sportsman still owes his grandfather $34,000 and reparation is being sought.It is unknown whether the bank will cover the grandfather’s loss.

The sportsman’s grandmother told the Herald she hadn’t heard from her grandson since August last year and didn’t want to comment.

On August 6, 2021, the sportsman said he was driving to work when he was stopped by police because his licence was suspended.

The sportsman told police he was too busy to get a limited licence and claimed “police are c***s targeting me, do you get bonuses or something”. The penalty for driving while a licence is suspended or revoked is three months imprisonment, a $4500 fine, and six months disqualification from driving. He will be sentenced today.

The computer crime charge carries a maximum penalty of up to seven years’ jail.

The sportsman could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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