Three weeks ago, "runaway millionaire" Leo Gao was talking tough, and proclaiming his innocence; the Herald on Sunday reported thus:
Gao said he was looking forward to the chance to clear his name when he faces trial for 16 charges of theft and two charges of money-laundering in relation to the $10m that was mistakenly placed in his bank account.
Today however, Gao has had a change of heart. The Herald reports that he has pleaded guilty to seven of the charges against him; check this out:
The man dubbed the "accidental millionaire'' has pleaded guilty to seven charges of stealing from a bank before he fled overseas.
Hui "Leo'' Gao pleaded guilty to seven charges of theft totalling almost $6.8 million when he appeared at the Auckland District Court this morning.
The charges relate to offending between April 24 and May 5, 2009 in Rotorua and Auckland.
Gao originally faced 16 charges. The reasons for the change are supressed.
He has been remanded on electronic bail until his sentencing in Rotorua in August.
We wonder what prompted Mr Gao's change of heart. Perhaps it might have had something to do with the fact that a jury in Rotorua took less than an hour to find his partner Kara Hurring guilty of her part in the crime.
And who knows; he may even have reached a deal with Westpac to pay back what's left of the money which was never his to splash around.