Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Tales of swindlers, conmen and larrikins
MATTHEW BENNS, The Daily Telegraph – June 23, 2017
An Australian English term meaning “a mischievous young person, an uncultivated, rowdy but good-hearted person”, or “a person who acts with apparent disregard for social or political conventions”)
PRIVATE eye Ken Gamble was in Manila, about to let himself into his hotel room, when his mobile phone buzzed in his pocket. ‘You are treading on people’s toes. Leave the country or you’re on a death wish,’ the text message read.
What worried him even more than the threat itself was the fact that it had been sent to his Australian mobile number, and not the one he had been using under a pseudonym while in the Philippines.
His cover was blown. Gamble knew immediately that the Filipino hooker in the pink leopard-print dress had talked.
A quick call to the hotel reception revealed two men had been looking for him. A letter had also been sent to his office, telling him that the fix was in: if he didn’t comply, he would be charged with raping a sixteen-year-old girl.
‘Gamble. Consider this your final warning,’ the letter said.
Being arrested by crooked cops and put into jail for such a crime in the Philippines was the equivalent of a death sentence, especially as a westerner.
“I was pretty freaked out and immediately located to another hotel,’’ said Gamble.
Convicted conman Peter Foster was extradited to Sydney to face seven charges of fraud relating to his alleged involvement in a sports betting scam in 2013. Picture: Dave Hunt
And he is not a man who rattles easily. This is the man who found missing conman Peter Foster, who was later caught on tape talking about ways to make Gamble disappear. Gamble knew this time these boys meant business.
It all began with an email from a prospective client. The wealthy architect from Mosman, on Sydney’s affluent north shore, had been referred to Gamble by detectives in North Sydney.
They could not help him, but felt Gamble could.
The architect, who does not want to be named, had been cold-called by a well-spoken British man called David Turner. He told the architect about a financial advisory firm in Chicago called Smith and Olsson.
The company offered bespoke share-market advice to a range of high-profile clients. But there was no need to rush in, said Turner, and he encouraged the architect to take a look at the literature he would send him.
What the architect did not know was that his details had been bought from a stolen investors list that had been sold on the black market………..
This is an edited extract from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels by Matthew Benns, published by HarperCollins Australia, which is available now from all good booksellers RRP$32.99