In Wellington District Court this morning, a lightly moistened bus ticket was unceremoniously waived in the direction of Kerry Buddle when she appeared for sentencing.
You may remember this larger than life, plausible blonde (pictured above) that appears to have traits of overestimating reality. It is alleged that Buddle owes about $2.5 million after persuading clients to lend her money after encouraging them to mortgage their properties. Five people say they have had to sell their homes when Buddle did not repay their money.
While police continue investigating these serious accusations, we've been following Buddle's criminal charges of obtaining accommodation by deception (ie: skipping from motels).
"A motel owner, skeptical that alleged loan scammer Kerry Buddle was ever going to pay for accommodation, learned through a television programme that she was wanted on fraud-related matters.It would appear once the heat went on Buddle, she simply checked-in to another motel that was only 2km away, but this time used an alternative method of avoiding payment.
Marie Ann Hickey, of Motel 22, Lower Hutt, said she had been pressing Buddle for a $722 payment in June last year.
The transaction was declined when she tried to bill the credit card of which Buddle had given details when she booked the motel.
In her court statement, Ms Hickey said Buddle booked a motel unit for June 4. On June 5 she asked to extend her stay. Buddle was asked to pay, but still had not done so by June 10, when she said she would pay the next day. Ms Hickey noticed a male visiting Buddle's unit each night.
That evening Ms Hickey watched a television news story and realised it was about Buddle who was wanted on "fraud-related matters".
"Angus Inn front office manager Arvin Singh said Buddle booked into the hotel on June 10 and stayed for 10 nights.
He became concerned that she would not pay and she gave him a credit card number in the name of Shane Storey, who she said was her business partner who had given her authority to use it.
Mr Singh charged $1289.44 to the card.
Shane Storey, a Palmerston North accountant, said he had previously had a business relationship with Buddle. In February 2011 he gave her his credit card number to sign up for an internet phone system she was selling.
After pleading guilty to the four charges of obtaining the motel accommodation by deception, a District Court judge has this morning sentenced Buddle to to 100 hours' community work and to pay just over $2000 reparation. In late June his credit card statement contained entries he had no idea about. After speaking to the manager of the Angus Inn, he texted Buddle to find out why she had been using his credit card.
She responded repeatedly by text, and eventually by email, saying she had made a mistake with her records and would sort it out.
She asked why she would do something like that "with all the media coverage I have at the moment".
Buddle, that has found time to distract herself from pending legal issues and frustrated creditors by giving birth to a wee baby girl in July this year is now described as a bankrupt beneficiary. Her lifestyle continues to be subsidised by others and the pathetic reparation order of $10 a week doesn't seem like an appropriate consequence after ripping off trusting business owners - in fact it makes skipping from a motel almost appealing...
I guess we are going to have to continue to wait for reality to catch up with Buddle.