An elderly man asked the operators of a cold call scam to give him a luxury yacht called the Montage rather than cash after the scheme made almost $2 million.
An elderly man asked the operators of a cold call scam to give him a luxury yacht called the Montage rather than cash after the scheme made almost $2 million.

Jailed fraudster ‘has just $32 to his name’

AN elderly man asked the operators of a Gold Coast cold call scam to give him a luxury yacht called the Montage rather than cash after the scheme made almost $2 million.

Prosecutors have been unable to link Robert Gordon Stewart to the operation of the scam.

Stewart has a lengthy criminal history in Queensland, NSW and Victoria for dishonesty offences, including fraud and operating while bankrupt, dating back more than 50 years, the court was told.

He is now broke with just $32 to his name.

The Montage.
The Montage.

The 76-year-old pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court today to receiving tainted property with the circumstance of aggravation.

Judge Catherine Muir sentenced Stewart to five years prison to be suspended after he served 20 months.

"You paid these two other people for their services which allowed you to remain one step removed from the handling of the money," she said.

"In that sense your offending was serious."

Stewart has been in custody for 14 months.

Crown prosecutor Matt Hynes said Stewart received more than $832,000 in cash and goods between December 2014 and December 2015 from Stephen Helson and another man.

He said the cash was gained through an illegal cold call scheme.

Robert Gordon Stewart was jailed
Robert Gordon Stewart was jailed

The scheme netted about $1.9 million in total.

"We cannot connect the defendant to any involvement," Mr Hynes.

"Rather than accept the money as a cash in hand he got Mr Helson to put it into the purchase of a boat."

Mr Hynes said the move put Stewart one step away from the cold call scheme.

"He knew where the money was coming from," Mr Hynes said..

Helson, on Monday, was sentenced to three years prison, wholly suspended for four years for his part in the scam.

Defence barrister Kerry Copley said Stewart was involved in strata titling on the Gold Coast and Hervey Bay in the 1990s.

"Financially he is broke and upon his release will be on the pension," he said.

"As at January he instructed he had $32 to his name."

A BMW convertible seized by police when Stewart was arrested in 2017
A BMW convertible seized by police when Stewart was arrested in 2017

Stewart, who appeared via video link from prison wearing a green prison shirt, spent the

sentencing alternating between making notes and crossing his hands.

Mr Copley said Stewart was also involved with horse trading on the Gold Coast and Indy car racing.

Stewart suffers heart problems, has issues with his knees and has high prostate levels which need to be examined.

Mr Copley said prior to this offending, Stewart had a 16-year gap in offending.

 

Originally published as Jailed fraudster 'has just $32 to his name'


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