Gambler accused of $2.5m fraud to feed his habit
A 38-year-old man who allegedly duped a victim into handing over more than $2.5 million for non-existent business opportunities gambled the money away, police say.
The Dianella man was arrested at a casino on December 19 following an investigation into his unexplained wealth and was charged with 88 counts of gaining benefit by fraud.
Police allege between June 2017 and November this year the man borrowed money from the victim, who he knew through a religious congregation, under the false pretence of proposed business opportunities.
The loans varied between $1000 and $200,000 but the victim has only been repaid $41,000.
A Western Australia Police Force spokesman said the victim and his wife had lost their savings, which they were going to rely on in their retirement.
"The victim trusted the financial arrangements he was entering into were legitimate and made that assessment based on material presented to him that turned out to be fraudulent," he said.
Police are continuing to investigate whether other people may have been approached in similar circumstances.