Ripped off mates to feed gambling addiction

A Queenstown gambling addict who ripped off three friends to the tune of $14,000 has been sentenced to community work and ordered to pay back what he owes.

Jake Ashley Gibbs, 27, was in the process of moving from Auckland to the resort town with the victims in May when he took charge of finding a property for them to rent together.

Despite being told by a real estate company a particular property was no longer available, he asked the trio to transfer a total of $9200 into his bank account for the property’s bond.

When they asked him to provide a copy of the rental agreement, he claimed he’d been scammed and the money had gone into a fake account.

On May 28, he and one of the victims, with whom he was in a relationship, bought a car for $8000, and the victim put $5000 into his account as her share of the purchase.

Gibbs showed the car’s seller a screen grab of a bank transfer on his phone — giving the false impression he’d transferred the money — and was given ownership.

He returned the car to the out-of-pocket seller a week later, but told his girlfriend it’d been towed — she only found out the truth when the owner told her some of her property was still in the boot.

The defendant was charged with obtaining by deception after the three victims went to the police.

At Gibbs’ sentencing in Queenstown’s court this week, Judge Russell Walker said the money had been lost gambling, including in the resort town’s casino.

The defendant had acknowledged his addiction in a pre-sentence report interview, while a psychologist had diagnosed gambling and
narcissistic personality disorders.

Walker told Gibbs his fraudulent offending had been a ‘‘significant breach of trust’’.

In mitigation, the defendant had a diagnosed gambling disorder, a previous clean record, and had paid back some of the money.

He convicted Gibbs and sentenced him to 100 hours’ community work, and 12 months’ supervision to enable his addiction counselling to

Gibbs must pay the victims a total of $8850 reparation in weekly instalments of $300.

Other convictions

● Jeremaiah Hiroti, 23, of Frankton, possessing cannabis for supply, offering to supply cannabis, June 16-August 28, 2022, Queenstown; breaching protection order, March2, Queenstown, 200 hours’ community work, supervision 12 months.

● Joshua Joseph Culling, 20, panelbeater, of Arrowtown, failing to stop for police, September 22, fined $300, court costs $130.

● Cameron Nicholas Couch, 22, scaffolder, of Dunedin, possessing MDMA, disorderly behaviour, July 27, Queenstown, fined $300, court costs $130, sentence deferred 12 months.

● Zeppelin Page Tipene, 33, of Hanley’s Farm, injuring with intent to injure, resisting police, April 22, Queenstown, three months and one week’s community detention, reparation for emotional harm $500, 12 months’ supervision.

● Commadore Ronald McCreadie, 41, builder, of Hanley’s Farm, driving without a licence, Frankton Ladies Mile Hwy, June 2, nine months’
imprisonment, disqualified 12 months.

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