NZ’s biggest identity fraudster
123 false identities and “…a full time occupation of serious dishonesty.”
That’s what it took New Zealand’s biggest identity fraudster, Wayne Thomas Patterson, to con the Ministry of Social Development out of $3.4 million benefits over two and a half years. He had so much of cash and gold in his house that the story and video of finding them make it sound like a fun treasure hunt for police.
His preferred point of attack seems to be superannuation where age (65+) is the major determinant of eligibility. Stolen birth certificates and disguises did the rest.
Wayne’s false identities seem to represent the classic cascading of identity documents. Start with forged birth certificates and then move on progressively to genuine driver licences, IRD (tax) numbers, bank accounts, passports, and benefits.
Which also means that multiple government departments- Ministry of Social Development (social welfare benefits), Land Transport New Zealand (driver licences), Inland Revenue Department (tax numbers), and Department of Internal Affairs (passports)- would have reviewed their identity verification processes to prevent this from happening again. Still, it is worth asking how this chain of trust can be broken effectively.
As the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development said, one must keep this in perspective. That Ministry pays out $17 billion a year to a million people. And, it comes out with a net gain of $467,000 thanks to some astute investments that Wayne made with his millions.
This is the third country that Wayne has been jailed in for identity fraud after earlier spending jail time in USA and Australia. Ironically, once he’s out of jail, it will be the Ministry of Social Development that he can look at to help him out. Only, this time it will have to be with his true identity.