His fraudulent crimes have been described by judges as ‘predatory’, ‘dangerous’, ‘recidivist’ and ‘immoral’. Another judge called the evidence on charges of drug trafficking “nonsense”. Now the DEA wants to extradite the 62-year-old from Auckland to the United States to face drug trafficking charges alongside one of NZ’s first meth cooks, and members of the Hells Angels from Auckland and Romania. Jared Savage Report.
An Auckland man wanted by American drug enforcers for allegedly conspiring to import cocaine after an investigation into the Hells Angels gang in Romania, has a long criminal history as a “dangerous” con artist and drug smuggler.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has called for the extradition of Miles John McKelvy – who is not a member of the motorcycle gang – to face charges of drug trafficking in the United States along with two other New Zealanders arrested in Romania two weeks ago.
Marc Patrick Johnson and Michael Murray Matthews, both New Zealand citizens, were arrested along with the president of the Hells Angels Bucharest chapter.
The couple is trapped in a fierce surgery in dramatic footage captured with a thermal image camera mounted on the drone.
Matthews is a member of the Hells Angels in New Zealand and Johnson has a long history methamphetamine manufacture.
Following their arrest, the DEA asked New Zealand police to arrest 62-year-old McKelvy as part of an alleged conspiracy to import cocaine into New Zealand.
McKelvy appeared briefly at the Auckland District Court on Friday afternoon, clean shaven and wearing a black short-sleeved shirt.
Lawyers representing the United States are in court, where McKelvy is being held until December 14 on bail applications.
Under ordinary circumstances, a person’s criminal history will not be reported when they face active charges so as not to diminish their right to a fair trial.
However, if the extradition application is successful, McKelvy will stand trial on drug charges in the US and not in New Zealand. For this reason, the Herald on Sunday has chosen to report McKelvy’s long criminal history.
In 2004, McKelvy was arrested after a long-running investigation codenamed Operation Allsorts that saw more than 25 people convicted of their role in a $ 6.4 million fraud.
He was the “chief executive” of a group that included cunning lawyers, accountants and property appraisers, using his position as mortgage broker in Hamilton to attract and identify potential victims.
Described as “predatory” by Judge Paul Heath, McKelvy was jailed for eight years in 2006 after admitting 27 counts of dishonesty.
He then sat at the top of a lean mortgage scheme that swindled millions of dollars from vulnerable low-income home buyers.
One of them was an elderly widow with cancer, one of many who lost her home to a “dangerous” scheme arranged by McKelvy, Hamilton’s mortgage broker at the time.
One of the McKelvy schemes involved borrowing money to low-income families in exchange for them surrendering their homes in what they believed to be family trusts.
McKelvy then raised the mortgage on the home without notifying the owner.
In total, he was individually responsible for raking in $ 1.4 million.
Justice Heath described the fraud as “predatory,” “dangerous,” “recidivist” and “immoral.”
“You prey on the sick, the old and the commercially naive. In one case, you cheated on a widow in her home, despite the fact that you knew her family and she had cancer at the time,” said Justice Heath.
“Those are the stories of some, but not all of them, about your victims … they provide insight into the level of immoral behavior at which you are prepared to sink in order to gain financial gain for yourself.”
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McKelvy went bankrupt a second time after Operation Allsorts and Justice Heath turned down his application for annulment in 2010.
In refusing to release McKelvy, Justice Heath described his behavior as “predatory” and “primarily designed to free truly vulnerable members of society from the little assets at their disposal”.
“The appalling and immoral behavior in which Mr McKelvy was involved is, in itself, a good reason not to allow him to be suspended from bankruptcy at this stage.”
He was released from prison in 2010 and five years later released from bankruptcy – a second time – although judges found McKelvy “remains a real risk to society”.
By then, McKelvy had moved to Auckland and was “respected” by his employer in the machine maintenance field.
However, he becomes a suspect Operation Leopard after Customs Services seized six GBL imports between October 2014 and January 2015.
Also known as Fantasy, GBL is a Class-B drug popular on the dance scene in the UK and has been nicknamed “Coma in a Bottle” overseas because sexual predators put it in drinks to appease victims.
The 81 liters total was worth an estimated $ 354,000, while four other shipments of an unknown amount escaped.
When stopped by Customs at the airport and interviewed, McKelvy explained that he imported the product as a cleaning agent and was working closely with investigators.
He defended this explanation in a disputed fact hearing before Judge Soana Moala in 2017, by providing evidence that the cleaning chemicals used in Envirowaste, where he worked, were toxic and burned skin.
So he searched online to find a safer product and in trials managed to clean the truck without wearing protective gear. McKelvy said he didn’t realize that his “magic cleanser” contained GBL.
His explanation of innocence was completely rejected by Judge Moala and supports other evidence.
“This is a feeble attempt to legitimize what is clearly the illegal import of GBL,” he wrote.
Emails and text messages make it clear that McKelvy is discussing GBL, without mentioning industrial cleaning agents.
In fact, in some correspondence McKelvy requested that the GBL label be removed from its plastic container.
“There is overwhelming evidence that he knows it is GBL, and it is illegal to take him to New Zealand,” said Judge Moala.
“He knows he has to disguise it in order to get through Customs.”
Hakim Moala also described him as “funny” McKelvy’s proof that the products he imports are safer than the cleaning agents used at Envirowaste.
“Expert evidence shows that GBL is a dangerous and toxic substance that can cause serious harm to anyone who uses it without protective equipment.
“In my opinion, Mr. McKelvy used his job at Envirowaste as a convenient protection for his illegal import of GBL.
“The financial advantage of GBL is not its use as a cleaning product but from its sale as a recreational drug.”
He sentenced McKelvy to five years and two months in prison, which McKelvy later brought up as excessive.
“We disagree,” wrote Court of Appeal in closing the application.
– John Weekes’ additional reporting