Car swindler changes tune


Former Queenstowner Karl Abbott has added to his string of convictions.

The mechanic and serial fraudster, who’s moved to Alexandra, was on trial in the Queenstown District Court last week for charging for work he hadn’t done in September 2014.

Initially, Abbott, 56, denied the charge.

But evidence from Hansen’s Auto Services owner Todd Read said the fly wheel on a Land Rover Defender hadn’t been replaced – despite Spanner Worx, owned by Abbott’s partner Rhonda Tomlin, charging $1396 for a new part.

Abbott pleaded guilty to causing a loss by deception.

Judge Bernadette Farnan convicted him last Friday. He’s been remanded for sentence in November.

Farnan ordered a pre-sentence report to address “community and home detention options”.

Last week’s trial included a testy exchange with police sergeant Ian Collin.

Under cross-examination Abbott said: “Why would I do it again?

“I’m not getting a fair go. I’m like the boy who cried wolf, or whatever it is.

“I have changed.”

Noting Abbott’s conviction for trying to pervert the course of justice, : “Dishonesty is in your DNA, Mr Abbott.”

It was during a trial in the Invercargill District Court last year - again having charged for work he never did – that Abbott changed his plea partway through, admitting two fraud charges and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He was sentenced to seven months’ home detention. The Court of Appeal rejected his appeal over the length of sentence.

It was a newspaper report from the aborted Invercargill trial which led Land Rover Defender owner Vincent de Lorenzo to complain to police.

Abbott’s got dishonesty convictions dating back to 1995 and served two prison terms in the 2000s.