Unruly tourists: British brothers sentenced for chimney scam

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Monday, 27 May 2019, 4:50PM
British men Patrick (left) and Johnny Quinn pleaded guilty to being part of a roofing scam. Photos / Stuart Munro
British men Patrick (left) and Johnny Quinn pleaded guilty to being part of a roofing scam. Photos / Stuart Munro

Two brothers linked to the infamous "unruly" British family have admitted their roles in a roof-fixing scam and will be deported in the next 24 hours.

Johnny Quinn, 30, and Patrick Quinn, 27, who were charged with obtaining money by deception, appeared today in person at the Auckland District Court after appearing via video link from Whanganui Prison during their earlier court hearings.

Johnny Quinn then pleaded guilty to four fraud charges, while six charges were withdrawn by the police.

Patrick Quinn, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to five charges of obtaining by deception and police also withdrew five charges.

The brothers, the court heard, come to New Zealand via Vancouver in late November to work but did not have the appropriate visas.

They combined to defraud people across Auckland of $32,550 during the scheme which was instigated by another person who has fled New Zealand, the court heard.

One of the scams involved an associate of the Quinns conning a Remuera homeowner into believing their chimney needed urgent repairs, the court heard.

It cost the homeowner $18,000 in cash and a partially dismantled chimney.

Other frauds involved hoodwinking victims with fake invoices to pay thousands of dollars after convincing them they required roof repairs.

The brothers have, however, only paid a total of $15,000 in reparation, the court heard.

"It's not ideal that there are vulnerable victims out there not getting all their money back," Judge David Sharp said.

Patrick Quinn, pictured in in the Whanganui District Court. Photo / Stuart MunroPatrick Quinn, pictured in in the Whanganui District Court. Photo / Stuart Munro

The judge called the scam an "opportunist fraud" which was not particular sophisticated but had involved a "very serious breach of trust for vulnerable people".

The work the brothers did on some of the homes, Judge Sharp said, would have been of "little or no value".

"I have my doubts that anything useful could have been achieved."

The Quinns were given credit for their guilty pleas, which Judge Sharp said was "saving the taxpayer the cost of prosecuting you".

Both brothers were sentenced to six months' imprisonment but because they have been in custody since their arrests in February they will now be transferred to a detention centre before being deported in the next 24 hours.

The pair also earlier argued when attempting to keep name suppression that they had been unfairly linked to the "unruly tourist" family, which caused havoc around the country during summer.

However, others involved in the same roofing scam have been identified by police in other areas of New Zealand as being part of the travelling British family.

The Quinn brothers first appeared in court in February after their arrests on charges of obtaining $5000 and $18,800 by deception during December.

Patrick Quinn also faced an additional charge of obtaining $1000.

Johnny Quinn will be deported when released from prison. Photo / Stuart MunroJohnny Quinn will be deported when released from prison. Photo / Stuart Munro

In April, more obtaining by deception charges were laid for Patrick Quinn for amounts of $600, $1900 and $3700, while charges were also laid against Johnny Quinn for obtaining $1900 and $3700 by deception.

Last week, in the Christchurch District Court a third Quinn, linked by police to the unruly tourists, pleaded guilty and was sentenced.

James Quinn, 58, admitted being part of the roofing scam and will be deported after serving his short prison sentence.

The family of British tourists made headlines around the world since a video emerged of rubbish being strewn on a Takapuna beach reserve and claims they had tried to rip off several restaurants and motels.

The first incident was filmed and showed confrontational behaviour at the Auckland beach, with a young boy threatening to "knock your brains out" when challenged by locals.

Facebook also banned New Zealander users from using the word "gypsy" on a social media page established to track the British tourists.

The unruly tourists caused havoc during the Kiwi summer. Photo / NZ Herald
The unruly tourists caused havoc during the Kiwi summer. Photo / NZ Herald

Tommy Ward, 26, and William Donohue, 25, meanwhile have both have denied their alleged parts in the roofing fraud.

They were arrested in Lower Hutt before being charged with using a false document.

They are accused of using a false Roofcare business card and forged invoice.

Both men are due to appear in court again next month.

William Donohue (left) and Tommy Ward, pictured during an appearance via audio visual link in the Hutt Valley District Court. Photo / Melissa NightingaleWilliam Donohue (left) and Tommy Ward, pictured during an appearance via audio visual link in the Hutt Valley District Court. Photo / Melissa Nightingale

James Anthony Nolan, 26, was also charged over the roofing scam.

But he fled the country after being bailed on charges of fraud, assault with a weapon and reckless driving.

The assault and driving charges were the result of an incident on Auckland's Takapuna Beach in January.

Krista Curnow alleged a car veered towards her and the British driver tried to take her cellphone while she attempted to take a picture of the car's licence plate.

As a result of the runaway defendant, Minister of Customs Hon Kris Faafoi said Customs changed its processes to now always conduct face-to-face checks when eGates reject a passenger.

Nolan was able to evade authorities by using an eGate and a passport which belonged to someone else, Faafoi said.

James Anthony Nolan fled the country after being bailed on assault and fraud charges. Photo / Sam HurleyJames Anthony Nolan fled the country after being bailed on assault and fraud charges. Photo / Sam Hurley

Another member of the group, Tina Maria Cash, admitted theft charges in February after stealing energy drinks, rope and sunglasses from an Auckland service station.

She was convicted and ordered to pay $55 in reparation.

At least five members of the group were also served deportation liability notices.

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