A convicted fraudster who duped notable New Zealanders out of millions of dollars has been declined parole for a second time.
In a reserved decision, released this week, the Parole Board said it concluded Australian/Greek citizen Loizos Michaels, who is serving eight years in prison on 30 counts of fraud or deception, was still a risk to the community.
Michaels – who referred to himself as “The Phantom” – was sentenced to eight years’ jail in 2012 for fraud that saw his victims handing over more than $3.2 million.
He duped notable New Zealanders including All Black great Jonah Lomu.
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He was first up for parole in 2015 at which point the board noted that, though he fully acknowledged his crimes, it did not place much weight on his remorse and he still posed a risk.
Michaels lived in Australia until about 2006 and was convicted there of crimes of dishonesty in 1995.
The board said it seemed he was sentenced again in 2006 for a further crime of obtaining property by deception between April 1 and July 31, 2003. He had further convictions for failing to comply with bail conditions in 2004 and 2005. After he came to New Zealand he committed the crimes in question during 2007 and 2008.
The fraudulent offending fell into two categories and in two different ways. It was described as being at a very personal level.
All Black legend Lomu was tricked into months of publicity work after Michaels presented him with a proposal to become “the global face of kickboxing”.
National Party president Peter Goodfellow gave evidence during the trial after he loaned his friend Stephen Lyttleton, the former boss of the Christchurch Casino, $114,000 to help fund one of Michaels’ schemes.
Michaels is subject to a removal order and will be deported to Australia when released from prison, whether on his sentence end date, or on parole.
The Board said Michaels had certain personality and character qualities which he needed to recognise and manage his own risk.
“Despite what he says, Mr Michaels does not truly understand his risk factors, and does not have a sufficiently robust safety and release plan. He does not see his risks and further work is needed to enable him to appreciate what they are.”
Michaels sentence end date is February 2019.
He will be seen again by the Parole Board in March 2018.