By Shirley Higgins Croft.
Police are investigating a string of property scams that have fleeced North Queensland residents of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Senior Sergeant Carolyn Burnham of the Real Estate Division of Cairns Police held a press conference today at Fratelli’s restaurant on Vasey Esplanade.
“There have been seven documented cases of properties being sold fraudulently,” Senior Sergeant Burnham said. “These include equipment sheds, outhouses and a porta-loo in Caravonica. There may be many more, because we suspect that victims are too embarrassed to come forward because they will look fucking foolish. This is completely understandable, but we urge any property buyer that has been inconvenienced by this crime syndicate to come forward. We will be working out of the Bangkok Rose every evening this week. Or for confidential reports, simply contact CrimeStoppers. And prospective buyers, watch out for fast-talking, shiny-arsed realtors and, above all, gamble responsibly.”
One of the most high-profile cases in the crime spree was the sale of a Trinity Beach amenities block (pictured above) to a retired Victorian couple for $800,000. The building had been advertised on realestate.com and described as an “aromatic two-bathroom, six-WC bungalow near to public transport and amenities”.
Cairns Regional Council Division 2 representative and part-time grazier, John ‘Two-Bob’ Schilling, confirmed that the building was council-owned and not on the market. “Fucking not for sale,” he said via Skype from his mansion in Kamarunga. “No way. Not for sale. That building is a TB icon and absolutely essential to ensuring our 111 Sun-buses remain piddle-free. I’m in there every Thursday. A man is not a camel.”
Richard Tomkinson of Cairns Platinum Realty was affronted at the lack of professionalism displayed by the miscreants. “A property on Trinity Beach Road, just a snowball’s throw from the coral sea, smelling distance from Lunico’s, and abutting a curlew mound ‘neath a green mango tree is going to fetch top Yuan. Even without ocean views. To put it on the market for less than a mill is just criminal.”
Whitney Westerweel was unavailable for comment.