Investors were duped into handing over more than $1m to a man who claimed to own a diamond mine, say police in Australia.
He allegedly claimed to be the owner of a non-existent mine in Sierra Leone and offered his victims the opportunity to invest.
Once they paid an initial sum, he allegedly asked for equipment and various gifts for his employees – which he then sold.
One victim reportedly paid $730,000. Two others are understood to have “invested” at least $73,000 each.
A 42-year-old man from the South East Suburbs, Melbourne, has been charged with 150 deception related offences including obtaining property by deception between September 2017 to October 2021.
He’s been bailed to appear before the Melbourne Committal Court in February 2022.
Detective senior sergeant Jason Venturoni, of Victoria police, said: “Criminals involved in the deception of others are often convincing and take advantage of people’s trust to exploit others for their own financial gain.”