'I Bashed Fraudster'; Debt Collector Caught by Bracken Ended Up in Jail

Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia), July 28, 2016 | Go to article overview

'I Bashed Fraudster'; Debt Collector Caught by Bracken Ended Up in Jail


BILL

HOFFMAN

bill.hoffman@scnews.com.au

LUKE Bracken allegedly conned a debt collector engaged to recover $150,000 from him, a relationship that culminated in the fraudster being bashed and his victim being locked up in a Dubai prison.

Bracken, who had close ties to the Sunshine Coast, is now himself in jail, in Pretoria, facing charges of attempting to defraud members of the South African business community.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda of the Directorate Priority Crime Investigations in Pretoria said Bracken remained in custody ahead of a bail hearing.

Maroochydore Police Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards said police on the Sunshine Coast had been preparing to arrest Bracken when news came through he had been detained in South Africa.

Fred Nassif of Sydney was engaged in late 2014 to recover $150,000 invested in one of Bracken's schemes by a Newcastle client but instead became the front man for a group of his family, friends and associates who also invested.

"He sold me," Nassif, who is now working with private investigator Des Beaton, said.

"He told me what he did for a dollar. He flew to Sydney and met my family members. He said Bracken International Mining had export licences and showed photos and videos.

"Luke asked for money for his import/export licence renewal. We gave him $80,000 initially from four of us."

Nassif flew to South Africa last year and met Bracken who he said had promised him the gold would be there and he could see it.

But when he arrived, Nassif alleges, Bracken told him they were no longer selling to a refinery but to a single buyer.

"I was only there for three days and ended up staying seven weeks," Nassif said.

"The story changed. He said half the gold had been confiscated and was tied up with the embassy and it was all hush, hush.

"The price of gold was going up and Luke would say 'you are making money'.

"Then after seven weeks he said he had a new buyer who worked (for a security company) in Dubai. It involved 514kg of gold. Luke said 'we fly to Dubai and it's sold'. …

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