CRIME FILES: Fraud from an early age

Miles Mehta’s cheating career started young and ended in jail.

MILES "Mile High" Mehta had a taste for the finer things in life.

Fancy restaurants, luxury cars, first-class flights.

Miles liked to travel.

He flew first-class to Paris, Madrid, New York and Santiago and he even graced Newcastle with a visit in 2008 where he drove off in an $80,000 Audi.

Like the airfares and the bills from the fancy restaurants and the five-star hotels, Miles didn't pay a cent of it with his own money. He was a crook. A fraud.

Mehta could produce documents that looked official and he must have had the gift of the gab as well because he was able to fool dozens of victims.

When he stole the Audi he was able to produce some sort of official-looking document as well as a stolen credit card number to provide a deposit and drive off with a new set of wheels.

When he was overseas he racked up bar tabs worth several hundred dollars that were either paid for with stolen credit cards or weren't paid at all.

His victims included American Express, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Flight Centre.

His Australian frauds totalled about $350,000, but the Australian Federal Police were alerted by their international counterparts to a string of other frauds Mehta was wanted for around the globe.

And he did it all before his 19th birthday.

Mehta's dad often made the trip up from St Ives for his son's court appearances in Newcastle.

Dad was also a victim with Miles helping himself to about $25,000 from one of mum and dad's accounts on at least one occasion, the court heard.

Dad also paid for a stay in a ritzy Sydney rehab clinic at one stage.

We're not sure what the rehab was for, perhaps they had a program for spoilt prats.

Either way, Miles was a hit with his roommates.

One night the clinic's residents decided to order in pizza so Miles collected some cash from everyone and placed the order.

In true Miles Mehta style he pocketed the cash and paid for the pizzas with a staff member's credit card.

When it came time for sentencing in Newcastle Local Court Miles's mental health came up, but as the magistrate pointed out: what did this have to do with his offending?

For months Mehta had been stealing and living the high life while others suffered and the prospects of the victims getting their money out of him were slim.

So, the magistrate jailed him for 14 months with a minimum of seven months.

He appealed and won himself home detention, but Miles couldn't help himself.

Rather than remaining housebound, police found Mehta behind the wheel of a car on Sydney's north shore.

He sped off and police abandoned the chase due to public safety, but they came upon him minutes later in Turramurra.

He had crashed.

Mehta admitted drinking shots of tequila before getting behind the wheel and was later sentenced for fresh offences.

Crime Files has since stumbled across some online chatter that we have been unable to verify, but it certainly sounds as though the contributor was talking about our man Miles.

They told of his days on Sydney's north shore and attending a variety of grammar schools where he was either punted or forced to leave due to a variety of issues.

The contributor said Miles claimed in year 7 to be a multimillionaire and even produced a few bank documents to try and prove it.

He'd buy his classmates food, chat on his mobile phone during sport and wear pink fluffy scarves to school.

The last time Crime Files saw Miles there was no sign of a pink fluffy scarf, but a green prison-issue tracksuit.

- SPEAKING of frauds, there's no more cunning or unrepentant crook than a fraud.

Ask any prosecutor and they'll tell you that frauds will do anything to avoid responsibility.

It's always someone else's fault or just a silly mix-up that results in individuals and organisations losing their hard-earned.

And the reality is that these crooks often get away with it.

Fraud offences are particularly difficult to prove and require hours of investigation and painstaking analysis of bank records and financial documents, which is probably why these crooks act so surprised when they get nabbed.

Among our favourites was real estate agent Patricia Mary Oneill who accepted $35,000 to sell a property a few years back.

She didn't sell the property, she didn't appear to do anything to warrant holding onto the money, but do you think the vendor could get her cash back?

No.

Trish copped some community service and was ordered to repay the money.

She mustn't have wanted the publicity that came her way either because at one of her hearings she sidled up to one of Crime Files's colleagues and said: "I'm a friend of the Herald."

So?

- ANOTHER more deceitful witch was Patricia McKittrick.

She was on bail [and bankrupt] for a $7 million Ponzi scheme she ran at Coffs Harbour several years ago when she duped a group of Hunter investors of $2 million.

It was someone else's fault, she said.

This was despite the former hairdresser buying a veritable palace at Dora Creek and driving around in flash cars.

The 70-year-old won't be out of jail until 2017, but that is of limited comfort to her victims, some of whom contacted Crime Files to describe their hardship since their life savings went missing.

McKittrick's husband, former cop and fraud John McKittrick, did time for allowing his wife to run about $400,000 of other people's money through his bank accounts.

He had to downgrade from the palace to a smaller waterfront property with its own jetty at Dora Creek.

Justice?

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop