NZ’s biggest identity fraudster

October 12, 2007 at 9:48 pm 1 comment

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.

Entry filed under: Aus, fraud, government, identity, NZ, security, USA, video.

NZ: IDDY Award Identity Oracle & authoritative data sources

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Vikram  |  February 29, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    This post was based on publicly available information (which is appropriate for a personal blog). In particular, the first link was to an article in NZ Herald which stated:

    “Also hidden were a number of New Zealand passports. One found by officials carried the name “Geoffrey Patterson” – yet it had the same face as the man known to neighbours as Graham Johnstone.”

    “The accused man’s real name – Wayne Patterson – only emerged when they searched for the identity of the registered owner of the 2002 Nissan Primera parked in the driveway.”

    It turns out that the NZ Herald article was factually incorrect, i.e. Wayne Patterson was not issued multiple passports by the Department of Internal Affairs.

    So, I stand corrected.

    Nevertheless, the basic point remains valid. There is a need to ensure that people are not able to build strong identities from a chain of weaker ones.


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