Assisted with prostitute’s client scam

Thousands paid for ‘pregnancy’

Thousands paid for ‘pregnancy’

Gisborne Courthouse

A prostitute’s ongoing demands for money from one of her elderly clients left him so out of pocket that he needed to borrow from a relative to keep paying her, Gisborne District Court was told. The man was told the prostitute had become pregnant to him and needed money for an abortion and other expenses.

The client paid out $8660 before realising he was being scammed. In a statement to the court, he said the incident had been “very stressful” and had affected his health.

Last December, prostitute Tracey Loretta Hiroki, 41, and her sister Bella Donna Pickford, 34, pleaded guilty to a jointly-laid charge of obtaining that money by deception. They were to have been sentenced together for the offending but Pickford appeared in court alone. Hiroki was in custody on a raft of further similar allegations. She will appear in court next week.

Pickford was sentenced by Judge Ann Kiernan to 120 hours community work, nine months supervision and ordered to make reparation of $2720 at $50 weekly. Police accepted the amount of $2720 was the only portion of the total amount named in the charge with which Pickford had any involvement. She had provided a bank account into which it was paid for her sister. The remaining amount had gone to a third party’s account.

Part of the offending, however, also involved Pickford supplying her sister with a cheque template from one of her cancelled accounts. Made out for $3000, it was later given by Hiroki to the man as repayment.

A pre-sentence report writer had recommended home detention for Pickford but Judge Kiernan said that would be excessive. It was likely the report writer was given an incorrect conviction history, as the court had also been.

In fact, Pickford appeared only to have one prior relevant conviction from 2007, in relation to a video console not returned to the shop from which it was hired. Pickford’s lawyer Lucy Rishworth said Pickford told her another conviction for benefit fraud in 2010 was not on the court record.

Prosecutor Tess Brownlie said it probably failed to show because Pickford was known to have used other aliases. Files for those sometimes went undetected by police when defendants were charged under an alias.

Ms Rishworth said Pickford’s offending was out of a misguided loyalty to her sister, who she knew was struggling financially and had children to support. Pickford had no personal contact with the complainant herself. She had some issues with gambling.

Judge Kiernan said she would have to accept Pickford gave all the funds directly to her sister. While she might have benefited from some of the money herself, there was no evidence to show it.

A prostitute’s ongoing demands for money from one of her elderly clients left him so out of pocket that he needed to borrow from a relative to keep paying her, Gisborne District Court was told. The man was told the prostitute had become pregnant to him and needed money for an abortion and other expenses.

The client paid out $8660 before realising he was being scammed. In a statement to the court, he said the incident had been “very stressful” and had affected his health.

Last December, prostitute Tracey Loretta Hiroki, 41, and her sister Bella Donna Pickford, 34, pleaded guilty to a jointly-laid charge of obtaining that money by deception. They were to have been sentenced together for the offending but Pickford appeared in court alone. Hiroki was in custody on a raft of further similar allegations. She will appear in court next week.

Pickford was sentenced by Judge Ann Kiernan to 120 hours community work, nine months supervision and ordered to make reparation of $2720 at $50 weekly. Police accepted the amount of $2720 was the only portion of the total amount named in the charge with which Pickford had any involvement. She had provided a bank account into which it was paid for her sister. The remaining amount had gone to a third party’s account.

Part of the offending, however, also involved Pickford supplying her sister with a cheque template from one of her cancelled accounts. Made out for $3000, it was later given by Hiroki to the man as repayment.

A pre-sentence report writer had recommended home detention for Pickford but Judge Kiernan said that would be excessive. It was likely the report writer was given an incorrect conviction history, as the court had also been.

In fact, Pickford appeared only to have one prior relevant conviction from 2007, in relation to a video console not returned to the shop from which it was hired. Pickford’s lawyer Lucy Rishworth said Pickford told her another conviction for benefit fraud in 2010 was not on the court record.

Prosecutor Tess Brownlie said it probably failed to show because Pickford was known to have used other aliases. Files for those sometimes went undetected by police when defendants were charged under an alias.

Ms Rishworth said Pickford’s offending was out of a misguided loyalty to her sister, who she knew was struggling financially and had children to support. Pickford had no personal contact with the complainant herself. She had some issues with gambling.

Judge Kiernan said she would have to accept Pickford gave all the funds directly to her sister. While she might have benefited from some of the money herself, there was no evidence to show it.

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