By Rachel Tiffen
The Tauranga brother of millionaire fraudster Harry Bentley Gordon believes money was not the main motive for faking his own death five years ago.
Gardener and property developer Mike Gordon, 60, has spoken to his younger sibling on the phone since his arrest in Australia last week.
He did not bring up the issue of a motive specifically but said "Harry wasn't a bad person, he was always so generous" and that money was never an issue.
"My guess would be that money was secondary. He was loaded, had plenty. Everybody has been through the grieving process and we are looking forward to hearing first-hand what he has to say," he told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday.
For the time being, he and wife Margie weren't concerned about the details of the scam. They were just relieved to have him back.
"It's amazing you know. He's alive and whatever journey he's been on and going on, at least he's still there and we will be happy to see him," Mr Gordon said.
It was hard for friends and family to know whether to offer condolences or congratulations in such an unusual situation, he said.
"There's a lot of mixed emotion involved in something like this but the overwhelming one is we have got a brother we thought we'd lost."
On Monday in the Raymond Terrace Local Court near Newcastle, 57-year-old Gordon pleaded guilty to conspiring to obtain money by deception, and false representation resulting in a police investigation.
He also pleaded guilty to one charge of possessing false Australian travel documents and one charge of possessing a falsified Australian passport. He did not apply for bail.
The charges related to his staged drowning five years ago.
In 2001, an Australian coroner ruled Gordon had died in a boating accident when his vessel struck a navigation marker north of Newcastle on June 3, 2000.
The speedboat was found with a smashed windscreen and champagne bottles on the deck. It is alleged his wife, Sheila, conspired with Gordon to claim a A$3.5 million life insurance payout.
Meanwhile, in Tauranga, his older brother said Gordon had not lived in the Bay "since he was about 20", after the pair and another sibling grew up in the Waikato town of Te Aroha.
He would not specify how Gordon made his millions but said he was "worth about five million" when he moved to Australia.
"He did lunch extremely well," Mike Gordon said nodding, and would not elaborate further.
Mike Gordon - who has two children and grandchildren of his own - said friends and family had grieved for the last five years but the circumstances of his death had always remained a mystery. "At the time when there was no body, we wondered."
Since faking his own death, Gordon has lived in Auckland as Robert Motzel and married social worker and film extra Kristine Newsome. She has not denied knowing about Gordon's former life.
His real wife is said to have cracked after five years of interrogation about the death from AMP Insurance.
Gordon was arrested at Sydney Airport on November 7 when attempting to fly into the city from Auckland.
A police statement to the Waverley Local Court on November 9 revealed Mrs Gordon told police in August that her husband was alive and living in New Zealand under his new name.
Australian police subsequently discovered Robert Motzel had married a New Zealand woman early in September. After the newlyweds honeymooned in the Cook Islands, Gordon made his way to Fiji and was issued a New Zealand passport bearing his real name.