Category Archives: Scams and Scammers


2003.  I have several lovely clients from Malaysia who’ve bought and sold a few investment properties through me.  One of them refers an equally delightful man to me and I eventually receive an email from him.

Hapless (I use that word a fair bit I guess but it’s such a good descriptor) fellow was “stitched” into buying an Apartment “Off the Plan” and settled in 1998 or thereabouts.

The “deal” included a Rental Guarantee of 7% per annum on his $299,000.00 purchase price for the first two years, rising to 8% for years 3 and 4.  From Year 5 the rent reverted to market return.

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If you want to go to one or more of these, please do, as long as they come free-of-charge and you promise me you won’t give them your name, address, email or any other personal details.  Resist their pleading.  Just go along, listen with a cynical ear, and leave.

They’ll tell you they have “inside secrets” to which only they have access.  Rubbish.

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Desperate investors hoping to recoup losses made here in Australia are looking at the sometimes miraculous returns being achieved in the depressed real estate markets of the United States of America.

I’ve been fortunate to have lived and travelled right across the US of A and whilst it’s an amazing country with great people it’s not a place for out-of-towners to buy real estate just at the moment.

Scammers are working out of the United Kingdom, all over Europe, South America and right here in Australia, successfully liberating millions of dollars from unsuspecting punters who believe their intricate web of lies.

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In the 1980’s I was a Flight Lieutenant air traffic controller at RAAF Base Williamtown, just north of Newcastle, New South Wales. The base was headquarters to Squadrons of Mirage fighters and played host to visits from a number of countries who also, from time to time, brought their fighter jets to engage our Top Guns and use our local air weapons range.

It was a very busy and noisy place.

We used to fly training missions basically Monday to Friday, with civilian movements most of the weekend.

For some time every Friday afternoon the switchboard would put a call through to the Control Tower and a person, who never identified themselves, would ask if we had “definitely finished flying” for the day.  It was a little strange but we thought nothing of it.

Now I can tell you what was really going on… Continue reading

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People become emotionally tied up in a residential real estate purchase.  Real Estate agents just ‘love it’ when someone shows all the hallmarks of being in love with a property.

Your brain turns to mush and all sorts of uninhibited emotions take over as you stare quietly into the magnificent view, run your hands tantalisingly over the smooth marble finishes and imagine yourself surrounded by admiring friends as they ooh and ahh over your clever and astute purchase.

Remember the sound when a needle falls off an old fashioned vinyl record?  That’s the sound that careers through your head as the realisation you’ve been duped arrives like an unwelcome freight train in the middle of the night.

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Many years ago I lost $250,000.  I’m not stupid, merely as trusting of professionals as most lay people. My life savings were stolen by a group of Company Directors, Accountants, Solicitors, Valuers, Financial Advisers, so-called Consultants and Real Estate Agents, working together in such a way as to totally confuse and bewilder even the most experienced investor or business person.  Since then more Accountants, calling themselves Receivers this time, more Solicitors and more Advisers and Consultants have taken whatever was left after properties were sold and proceeds distributed.  Fellow investors and I advanced $2 million on a land valuation of $3 million supplied by a well-known firm. When the scheme collapsed, the land sold for just $220,000.00! The Receiver’s costs were $270,000!  One fellow investor died from the stress of it all.

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