Woman raises alarm bells about convicted “fraudster”

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong ,

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Members of the business community – especially in the tourism industry – have been warned about the antics of a woman convicted and sentenced to jail in New Zealand a decade ago for fraud.

The alarm bells have been rung by a local businesswoman, who contacted the Samoa Observer, wanting to alert unsuspecting members of the public. 

The woman, who asked for her name to be withheld until an investigation by the Police is completed, claims that she is a victim of Tracey Anne Gordon.

“I just want people to know that this woman Tracey is not who she says she is,” said the businesswoman. “She is very nice and a good talker but she’s not who people think she is." 

“She is not to be believed that she has money because she passed on a forged cheque to me which the police are investigating." 

“I know there are several other hoteliers to whom she has not paid accommodation and she is going around to other hoteliers.”

The businesswoman accused Ms. Gordon of preying on people and owing people money. 

“Like I said, I just want people to be warned that she is a schemer and owes money to other businesses in hotels in New Zealand.”

Repeated attempts to contact Ms. Gordon for a comment were unsuccessful. An email sent to her was not responded to. She was also contacted on a phone number she had used to contact one of the businesses but there was no answer. 

A message left with one of the accommodations she stayed with for a week was not responded to at press time.

But Ms. Gordon already owes some local businesses money.

The Sinalei Reef Resort is one of them. Contacted for a comment, Manager Sose Annandale confirmed Ms. Gordon owes them money for accommodation but the matter has been referred to a lawyer. 

 “It is in the hands of the lawyer at the moment,” said Ms. Annandale. 

Asked how much money she owes, Ms. Annandale said: “I really prefer not to disclose that. It’s awkward because Samoa is a small place and everyone is related to someone.”

Ms. Gordon is apparently wanted in New Zealand for leaving an Auckland hotel out of pocket after she left behind a debt of NZ$18,000.

According to a report on The NZ Herald on 3 September 2016, Ms. Gordon “sentenced to jail a decade ago for fraud and has a string of ill-fated ventures behind her, including one her own lawyer described in court as "fairyland stuff".

The story says that Ms. Gordon left The Surrey Hotel in February telling staff she was going to San Francisco on business.

She stayed on and off at the hotel in Grey Lynn for more than two years and regularly paid her bills using her father's credit card.

But her father, marine explorer Keith Gordon, told the hotel they should have asked him before the credit card was used the last time, and he cancelled the payment, hotel manager Denise King told the Herald.

Tracey Gordon had grand plans, said King. She told staff that she was trading in aviation fuel and she offered a staff member a job as her personal chef on a yacht she planned to buy. 

"She was going to buy an apartment at the Stamford [Hotel], another in Sydney. The apartments were worth millions and she would have the brochures to back her up." King said she never saw evidence of the purchases or big business deals being concluded.

Gordon, 49, was sentenced to jail a decade ago after admitting eight charges of fraud. A Herald report about the case described her as petite, smartly-dressed, a forger and a thief with a penchant for Hilton hotels.

King said she wrongly assumed Gordon's father would pay his daughter's last bill because he always had previously.

"This time, he said, 'you should have called me,'" said King. "It's almost like he'd had enough of her."

The police have told King it is a civil matter. "It's a very bitter pill to try to have to swallow."

"We feel we have been 100 per cent ripped off. Her father is not part of it in any way but he could have warned us that he was no longer going to pay her bills."

Keith Gordon did not return the Herald's call.

The Herald has seen an email trail in which Tracey Gordon acknowledged the hotel debt and claimed payment had been delayed by a stroke she had suffered. In a later email she said it was further delayed by a typhoon that had interrupted her travel.

King had heard nothing from Gordon since August 5 until the Herald contacted Gordon this week.

Gordon told the Herald in an email Thursday that the bill would be paid "in full in the next two days". She claimed the delay in paying the six-month-old bill was due to verification of some charges, "which is why my dad had to contact Amex to withhold the payment".

King said the content of the bill had not previously been questioned. Regarding the latest promise of payment, King said, "I'll believe it when I see it."

Tracey Gordon was convicted in January 2006 on eight charges of fraud, including using and altering documents and obtaining $128,000 by deception from 2001 to 2004.

The Auckland District Court officially confirmed her sentence included a reparation order and jail.

Her lawyer told the court in 2005 that Gordon had "difficult personal characteristics", was gullible rather than devious and her frauds were unsophisticated.

Those left out of pocket back then painted a picture of a fabulist. "I don't think your average human being could think up the stories and the tales and make them sound as plausible as she does," one said.

Her frauds stretched across three continents. Those stung included family, former friends and men met in bars. She claimed to be an investment banker, to have an in on high-yield low-risk deals and she liked to stay at five star hotels at the expense of others.

"She'd say she needed some cash to pay her hotel and that she was waiting for some funds to transfer, or her father's credit card, or she couldn't get hold of her father, so I would give her some money," American Chris Oliver said at the time. He claimed to have lost $117,000 but charges against her that involved him were dropped after Gordon revealed in court they had been in a relationship.

Ten years later, she had some interesting yarns to tell those who cared to listen at The Surrey Hotel.

And then Gordon was gone. 

Now it appears she has surfaced in Samoa.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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