Gambler's elaborate scheme snares $8m to fund lavish life
A FAILED gambler stole identities and forged passports to gain control of Chinese expatriates' homes so he could secure loans to repay millions of dollars in debts and fund his lifestyle.
Chinese-Australian Hui Tian, 34, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane District Court on Wednesday to more than 20 fraud and dishonesty offences between April 2015 and June 2017 that netted him about $7.9 million.
Tian's crime spree kicked off when he stole about $1 million from his Chinese father-in-law's bank account, which he gambled away at Brisbane's Treasury Casino in two days.
He then stole his wealthy Chinese neighbour Xin Zhong Han and his wife's identities so he could use their Brisbane home to secure a million-dollar loan from Prime Capital Securities.
This involved forging his neighbour's passports and drivers licences, and duping them into letting Prime's property valuers into their home under the guise of a property investment opportunity.
The fraud was only discovered because Mr Han received a letter from the Queensland titles office saying he had a million-dollar loan over his home.
Tian's next victims were two more Chinese nationals, a Mr Lu and a Mr Li, who Tian impersonated to steal their identities and ultimately sell one of their homes.
To pull off the complex fraud Tian used a private investigator to follow Mr Lu's mother in China and learn her maiden name.
He then used the information to call the Australian Passport Office to gain access to Mr Lu's identity.
With it, he then obtained more documents in Mr Lu's name from the Brisbane City Council for a company registered under his victim's name, which enabled him to secure further loans.
Later, Tian sold Mr Li's home to the company for about $5 million, which netted him about $2.5 million before a rates notice sent to Mr Li showed the property he continued to live in was owned by the company.
In total Tian fraudulently obtained $7,899,191.92.
He will be sentenced on Friday.