Man stealing a car
Man stealing a car

Motorists ripped off in syndicate’s epic car scam

A sophisticated trans-Tasman car rebirthing racket allegedly ripped hundreds of thousands of dollars off unsuspecting motorists, a Brisbane court has heard.

Southeast Queensland residents Dante and Wolf Cameron, aged 22 and 23, Wilson Gregory, 22 and Kimberly Deans, 19 have been jointly charged with 147 offences relating to the alleged syndicate.

Police say the trans-Tasman racket cost Brisbane, Logan and Gold Coast motorists hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Police say the trans-Tasman racket cost Brisbane, Logan and Gold Coast motorists hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The charges include fraud, forgery, uttering, car theft, endangering the safe use of a vehicle, and possessing tainted property.

The alleged offending occurred predominantly between December 2019 and February this year, the court heard.

Police allege the group altered vehicle identification numbers on stolen and written-off cars before onselling them across Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast.

All four had their charges briefly mentioned in the Brisbane Magistrates Court earlier today.

The court heard Gregory, the only defendant to apply for bail, was the alleged thief for the group with other co-accused acting as forger and boss.

The police prosecutor alleged he was an "integral part" of the "criminal organisation".

"He has netted over hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims in relation to Australia … where they would purchase written off vehicles, they would take parts from vehicles they were test- driving and other stolen vehicles and changed the parts over," she said.

The court heard there was an ongoing investigation in New Zealand in relation to the group.

"A New Zealand victim had her vehicle sold four times to different wholesalers netting over $200,000 in cash that was filtered back to Australia," the prosecutor said.

No charges have been laid in relation to the group's alleged operation in New Zealand.

The prosecutor said the 147 charges related to just 23 vehicles with a further 81 cars involved in the alleged scheme and further charges could follow.

Police will allege the group purchased a number of statutory write-off vehicles, altering the VINs before onselling them privately using forged documents declaring the cars undamaged.

The group also allegedly stole vehicles from the side of the road - contacting tow trucks to remove them - and used the same process to sell them.

Some of the vehicles were allegedly sold on Facebook Marketplace, the court heard.

"It's an incredibly strong case with CCTV footage, documents, witness statements, auction sales receipts, mechanical statements, surveillance," the prosecutor said.

"I do admit that they are young, but it does not mean that this is not sophisticated and this is a blatant disregard for the safety of all road users."

Gregory's Legal Aid lawyer said his client had been charged under a provision of the unlawful use of a motor vehicle offence "which does not give rise to permanently depriving the person of the vehicle".

Magistrate Rosemary Gilbert terminated the bail application so prosecution could provide specific details about Gregory's alleged role.

All four defendants were remanded in custody until July 21.

Originally published as Motorists ripped off in syndicate's epic car scam