Fraud­ster aban­dons bride-to-be

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - JONO GALUSZKA

Wil­liam Hard­ing told his fi­ancee he was pop­ping out to the dairy.

But the age­ing con­man was ac­tu­ally go­ing on the run, aban­don­ing his be­trothed with thousands of dol­lars of debt, just like the other women he had charmed, ripped off and dis­carded.

Hard­ing cel­e­brated his 78th birth­day in prison on Mon­day, await­ing sen­tenc­ing in Au­gust on mul­ti­ple fraud charges.

The full ex­tent of his frauds can now be re­vealed, af­ter Stuff was granted per­mis­sion to look through court doc­u­ments.

The po­lice sum­maries paint a pic­ture of Hard­ing as a man with a pen­chant for tak­ing care of him­self by de­ceiv­ing el­derly women, whose lives he charmed him­self into.

Two fraud charges re­lated to two women with whom he had de­vel­oped re­la­tion­ships in 2015.

He said he had in­her­ited prop­erty from a re­cently-de­ceased brother, but needed money to ship the prop­erty from Dunedin to Whanganui be­fore sell­ing it.

But there was no dead brother and no prop­erty to be shipped.

The women loaned him a to­tal of $9800, and he used the money to pur­chase jew­ellery for a dif­fer­ent woman.

He was still in Whanganui in 2016 and en­gaged to be mar­ried when he com­mit­ted his next fraud. Shock­ingly, the fraud was against his fi­ancee. The court doc­u­ments did not make it clear if his fi­ancee was the woman he pur­chased jew­ellery for, but they do show Hard­ing had a modus operandi when com­mit­ting fraud.

He and his fi­ancee were liv­ing with one of her chil­dren at a prop­erty that had been put on the mar­ket.

Hard­ing an­nounced he was go­ing to buy a house for he and his bride-to-be to live in.

He said a si­b­ling had died, leav­ing him an in­her­i­tance to fi­nance the pur­chase.

The real es­tate agent the cou­ple dealt with knew Hard­ing was pro­vid­ing all the money, so left Hard­ing’s fi­ancee’s name off the pa­per­work.

But when Hard­ing went to sign the sale and pur­chased agree­ment in Jan­uary 2016, he an­nounced he wanted his fi­ancee’s name on the pa­per­work be­cause they were get­ting mar­ried.

The real es­tate agent found this odd, say­ing the fi­ancee had no money to con­trib­ute to the pur­chase.

The fi­ancee also had her reser­va­tions, but signed the agree­ment af­ter Hard­ing in­sisted it had to be that way.

A de­posit had to be paid by Fe­bru­ary 2, 2016, and the re­main­der paid a week later.

On the day the de­posit was due, Hard­ing said he was go­ing to the dairy.

He never re­turned, leav­ing his fi­ancee re­spon­si­ble for the pur­chase be­cause she had signed the agree­ment.

She had to pay $6000 to break the agree­ment, and an­other $1800 on lawyers’ fees. Hard­ing then went on the run. He was even­tu­ally found in Levin.

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