Yeppoon fraudster conned $1.4m

VICTIMS of an alleged elaborate-planning Yeppoon fraudster are owed $1.4 million but are unlikely to get their money back.

David Bruce Macartney, 62, was released on bail after appearing in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon to face five fresh fraud charges.

The Morning Bulletin reported in Monday's edition that the long-time resident of the coastal community had been arrested in relation to fraud charges.

He is accused of recruiting six individuals from the Sunshine Coast to work for a major West Australian mining company and defrauding them of $32,000.

The latest charges, for which he was taken into custody yesterday and then released on bail, include five for scams in 2004 that amounted to $1.37 million handed over by victims.

Police prosecutor Karen Dunham told the court Macartney had built trust with all victims, including one couple he had met through work in 1999, and started scamming in 2004.

She said police suspected there were more victims of Macartney that had yet to come forward and police objected to his bail release, suspecting he would offend again.

The first couple, from Yeppoon and from whom Macartney started accumulating money in 2004, gave Macartney $830,000, over the years with the last amount of $250,000 deposited into Macartney's account in April this year for a 'Sydney escort agency'.

The court heard another couple, with three children, had moved to Yeppoon in 2003, met Macartney that year and caught up with him in 2007 in their then Gold Coast home.

At this point, Macartney told the victims he wanted to invest in a Sydney brothel and advised there would be a 19% return on the investment.

The couple gave Macartney $300,000 over a couple of years and demanded the money back in January this year, with Macartney paying only $102,000.

Police believe he sourced this from another fraud victim.

Another victim he met in Yeppoon in 2009 was assured of a 11.8% return on an investment which involved carting coal from an Alpha mine. They gave him $375,000 of which they borrowed $123,000, only to receive dividend payments for a short while. They reported him to police in 2011.

A French national who had moved to Australia in 2006 and had met Macartney through her work at Treasury Casino, gave him $100,000 to invest as she dreamed of opening her own French patisserie in Paddington.

She had used part of an inheritance she received from her father.

A 39-year-old mother-of-two from Yeppoon initially gave Macartney $106,000 for a 'Sydney brothel' investment, of which $37,000 was cash and the rest was equity on her house. She gave him a further $10,000.

Ms Dunham said police have been unable to link Macartney with any Sydney brothels or escort agencies, or with mines at Alpha.

Defence solicitor Cam Schroder told the court Macartney had a serious heart condition, and was at high risk of having a stroke or a heart attack, and was priority one to see a cardiac specialist.

Macartney was released on conditional bail, including no contact with victims, no internet usage, report to police three times a week and no international travel.

He is to stay in his Yeppoon home with his wife, and get permission from police prior to travelling.

He is due to appear for mention in Yeppoon Magistrates Court on October 7.

Topics:  fraud maroochydore rockhampton rockhampton magistrates court yeppoon

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