A former Melbourne musician is accused of fleecing more than $8.7 million off wannabe investors with an elaborate property investment scam.
Fifteen people who each lost between $20,000 and $2.1 million have come forward to Victoria Police since the alleged investment scam was first reported in 2011.
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Former musician and father-of-two Craig Heath is accused of being behind the scheme, in which he allegedly approaches people and offers to help them knock down their homes.
He then offers to build townhouses in their place, convincing his alleged targets he’s an established developer.
Once the money to build the townhouses is handed over, their developments are bought by other investors without the building works proceeding.
Heath then allegedly takes off with the money from both the original property owner and the new investors.
In 2019 he was investigated in relation to the alleged scam but denied any wrongdoing.
Detectives have received reports from residents in the eastern Melbourne suburbs of Murrumbeena, Beaumaris, Bentleigh, Bentleigh East, Carnegie, East Brighton, Toorak and Malvern East.
Among them is a 68-year-old pensioner who lost $700,000 and a couple who launched bankruptcy proceedings after they were allegedly defrauded out of more than $220,000.
Police said he was now targeting single women in the Malvern East area by trying to convince them to invest in his construction projects.
One of the single mothers he has allegedly targeted was a woman with an autistic son who says she lost $200,000.
Australians lost almost $300 million in investment scams last year according to Scamwatch.
Anyone who has any information about the alleged scam is urged to contact police.
– With AAP and Kathleen O’Connor