Zac Guildford arrives at Masterton District Court in August. Photo/Jack Crossland
Zac Guildford’s grandfather says he’s devastated after his grandson was busted for $40,000 – and says the former All Black is ‘his worst enemy’.
Frank Burt opened up about his grandson, who was sentenced to nine months of house arrest after stealing more than $40,000 from his grandfather and cheating a friend out of $60,000.
“It’s horrible what Zac did. He could have been anything he wanted, but he shot himself in the foot. The talent he has is unreal, but he’s his worst enemy” , Burt said.
Guildford had his name removed in Masterton District Court yesterday, and Burt said he was ‘so happy the truth has come out and I’m happy with the outcome’.
“I’m relieved he didn’t go to jail. He’s a lovely man, but he’s got big problems, but you can’t help but love him. If you met him, you’d absolutely idolize him. .He’s an unusual character, but he’d do anything to help you.”
Burt, a dairy farmer from Wairarapa, has not seen or heard from his grandson since the theft.
“He’s got issues and it’s a huge mountain for him to climb. I idolized Zac and I wouldn’t have believed and couldn’t accept that he stole from me and others,” said Burt.
“I probably have as many problems as Zac but probably not as much as him. He had a lot of money when he played rugby, but he was young and it was too much for him to handle.”
The Herald previously revealed that Guildford lost money on online gambling sites and stole money from Burt to fuel his “secret gambling addiction”.
He had transferred a total of $41,400 from his Burt’s iPad to his own account between March 30 and April 9, 2021, the court heard.
This amount consisted of nine separate transfers, the largest of which was $10,000.
On April 1, 2021, Burt went to check his bank account details on his iPad and noticed that the Westpac Banking app had been removed from the screen.
When asked if Guildford was aware of the removal of the app, Guildford replied that it must have been the youngest grandchildren.
Over the next five to ten days, Burt asked his grandson to reinstall the app on his iPad, but each time he came up with excuses as to why he couldn’t.
Nine days later, Burt called Westpac to check his account balance to find his credit card was $29,000 in debt.
“I was shocked to hear the lady tell me that I was a debtor and shouldn’t have been. So, I took it from there, and then Zac recognized his mother. C That’s how I found out it was Zac who took my money,” Burt said.
Bank inquiries revealed that large sums of money had been transferred from the grandfather’s credit card account to the grandfather’s checking account and then immediately transferred to the athlete’s ASB account.
Guildford also pretended to be his grandfather on three occasions to convince the bank to increase the credit limit or guarantee the smooth running of transactions.
After the dishonesty was discovered, Burt contacted Guildford about the missing money, but he never called back.
According to a summary of the facts, Guildford also tricked his friend into giving him $60,000 to cover the legal costs of an alleged “libel” case he was bringing, supposedly against the New Zealand Herald.
Police say he assured the victim he would pay her back and get compensation after he ‘won’ the alleged libel suit.
The summary, which was read at a hearing in January, noted that in May last year he created fictitious conversations with ‘the lawyer’ between his home phone and his work phone and sent screenshots screen to the friend to reinforce his “credibility”.
“We had a meeting with Zac and I gave him every opportunity and it happened a week after the meeting we had. I was devastated by that. The fact is he is a handsome man and has it all,” Burt said. noted.
Guildford was convicted last year of punching a woman in the face. The incident, described as savage and appalling, happened in 2019, in a car, when Guildford was extremely drunk.
In 2011, shocked Kiwis saw Zac Guildford, naked, drunk and bleeding, stagger into a Rarotonga beach bar and assault two holidaymakers.
Burt said the incidents had nothing to do with the sudden death of his father, Robert, who died in the stands while watching the Under-20 Rugby Championships in Tokyo.
“Of course Zac’s dad was a lovely man too, but his death has nothing to do with what he did. My daughter is upset but she’s talking more with my wife. We’re just waiting for the dust to settle. falls back. It upset everyone.”
Burt says he got his money back and says his grandson should “do as he’s told” for his nine-month sentence.
“I want Zac to know that we all love him and we want him to work through his issues,” Burt told the Herald.
“I’m sure with the help he gets he will get better. We are a close family but these things take time to heal. He hurt everyone but he hurt himself more than anyone.
“Steve Tew interviewed him 10 years ago when he got into trouble with the All Blacks. He hit the nail on the head. He said ‘Zac has a haunting personality but there’s another side to Zac .'”
Last year, Guildford pleaded guilty to charges of accessing a computer for dishonest purposes, as well as driving with a suspended licence. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to an additional charge of obtaining by deception and was found guilty.
Judge Noel Sainsbury also yesterday banned Guildford from driving for six months.
Guildford must attend counseling programs and not use alcohol or drugs that have not been prescribed for him, as well as undertake a gambling addiction programme.