Dishonesty ‘in your DNA’, mechanic told


A serial Queenstown fraudster was told “dishonesty is in your DNA” during an eight-hour trial in the resort yesterday.

Karl John Abbott, 56, faces a fraud charge for allegedly charging for work he hadn’t done in September 2014.

The owner of the Land Rover Defender, Vincent de Lorenzo, told judge Bernadette Farnan in the Queenstown District Court yesterday he took his vehicle to Abbott at Spanner Worx to have the clutch examined, because it had been slipping.

But after paying an invoice of more than $4000 the clutch, while better, still slipped.

In January 2015 De Lorenzo read a newspaper report about Abbott, after he admitted three charges relating to charging for repairs he did not carry out, during a jury trial in Invercargill.

He contacted Queenstown police with concerns he might also have been a victim.

During a lengthy cross-examination yesterday, sergeant Ian Collin asked Abbott if he accepted there were “striking similarities” between what was alleged and his previous convictions.

“Why would I do it again?” Abbott responded.

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

“I have changed.”

Abbott accepted he also had a conviction for attempting to pervert the course of justice by lying to a disputes tribunal, but said that was because he “wanted it gone” and was “over it”.

Collin said Abbott had no respect for taking the oath, adding: ”Dishonesty is in your DNA, Mr Abbott.” 

De Lorenzo’s vehicle remained at the Spanner Worx workshop for several weeks while Mr de Lorenzo was overseas.

The pair spoke at some point and Abbott told him the work required would be “expensive” as the flywheel and clutch needed to be replaced.

But Abbott assured him he could source good-quality second-hand parts.

De Lorenzo collected the vehicle on September 24 and the invoice detailed “new” parts.

The vehicle was taken to Hansen’s Auto Services where owner Todd Read examined the clutch and flywheel.

While the clutch appeared new, in his opinion the fly wheel had not been replaced.

Each flywheel had a date stamp and the one in the Land Rover Defender, was dated 2000, corresponding with the original registration of the vehicle in 2001.

Read: “Looking at that invoice and looking at what I did, it quite clearly looks like a new flywheel was not put into that vehicle.”

He accepted a second-hand flywheel from that era could be found and installed.

But he believed the price Abbott charged for the part – $1396 – was “extremely high” for a second-hand part.

Farnan is expected to give her verdict today.

Otago Daily Times