We here at Lauda Finem want our readers to take a close look at this story. It appeared in a Fairfax paper just over three years ago on the 20/06/2009.
It tells the woeful tale of the REAA’s (acting) executive registrar Dean Winter’s so called exploitation at the hands of an online internet fraudster and later predatory stalker, simply because Dean winter had done what was required, according to law:
The Dominion Post’s article:
Enraged at being blocked by Trade Me, a computer expert and accomplished fraudster launched a vendetta to ruin the financial reputation of the man he held responsible.
With just a few computer keystrokes, Nicholas Brown almost succeeded.
The vendetta against former Trade Me trust and safety manager Dean Winter began when Brown, 40, of Tawa, was banned from the auction website in 2007 after twice being convicted of passing off second-hand software as new and failing on deliveries.
Though warned by Trade Me, he kept creating online trader identities, which the site detected and disabled. Eventually it won a court injunction banning him permanently.
He then used Mr Winter’s name to trade, adopting a derogatory user name. Later he altered a passport, along with an ANZ Bank statement, a Porirua City Council payslip and Genesis power account by scanning them online and changing the details to successfully apply for a $12,000 loan from a lending agency in Mr Winter’s name, along with a Westpac credit card.
In Wellington District Court yesterday, Judge Bruce Davidson said Brown’s offending was nasty, sophisticated and persistent, akin to blackmail, designed to embarrass Mr Winter and he obviously intended to default on financial payments to ruin Mr Winter’s credit history.
He sentenced Brown to six months’ home detention, 140 hours’ community work and prohibited him from having internet access or internet capable devices for one year.
Brown told The Dominion Post he believed that Mr Winter had cost him his livelihood after he lost three jobs in a row following his original Trade Me convictions. His partner and two children had left him.
Being “tricky” on computers, he created a derogatory Trade Me account with Mr Winter’s details. “I wanted to hit him where it would hurt. I got him where it hurt … Imagine his face when he saw it. Ha.”
Then it escalated out of control as he applied for credit cards and finance company loans in Mr Winter’s name. He admitted he went too far, but said: “I did it with one purpose, not for the money but to show him he’s not untouchable and you can’t treat someone like that.”
He pleaded guilty yesterday to two charges of altering documents, fraudulently using documents, making documents, possessing a false passport and forgery.
His lawyer, Douglas Ewen, said the offending was in retaliation for his losing jobs after his employers were informed of his fraudulent computer use. Brown had felt Mr Winter and Trade Me had to take some of the blame.
There was no financial gain to Brown or loss to Mr Winter.
Mr Winter said yesterday that he was disappointed with the home detention sentence and insisted he had simply been doing his job by informing Brown’s employers about his offending.
He was tipped off to the vendetta after an industry source spotted a document with his name but Brown’s photo.
He was surprised how easy it was for someone to get a loan online using faked documents. Brown had not even needed to see anyone face to face.
Though the ruse was caught before any damage was done, the potential risk to someone’s financial reputation was worrying, he said.
Prosecutor Mark O’Donoghue said it was unusual offending, more like harassment than fraud.
Detective Sergeant John van den Heuvel said there was a sinister aspect to it. It was still unclear how Brown obtained all Mr Winter’s details.
Using his home computer and some cunning, Nicholas Brown doctored old documents by scanning them and then changing the name, addresses and photos. It was enough to secure him a $12,000 loan in another man’s name. He used:
* A passport
* An ANZ Bank statement
* A Genesis Energy power bill
* A Porirua City Council pay slip
© Fairfax NZ News
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