Three men have been duped out of nearly $500,000 after an alleged love scam left three people hit with a string of fraud charges.
Queensland Police charged two Benowa women, aged 52 and 29, and a 52-year-old Mermaid Beach man with offences including fraud, receiving tainted property, possessing tainted property and contravening an order about access to information stored electronically for their love scam.
It is alleged the trio defrauded three men between June 2022 and February this year.
Two men in their 70s engaged in a paid dating service after responding to a personal advertisement, making payments to a woman in her 50s who claimed to be a widow.
Police allege the woman claimed she needed large payments to get out of a work contract.
One of the men lost about $42,000 before raising concerns with a friend about a potential scam.
His matter was referred to police in February.
A second man from the Cassowary Coast lost a total of $343,500 before reporting the scam to police in March.
In July, police conducted searches at two addresses at Benowa on the Gold Coast and an address at Mermaid Beach, where they recovered $79,200 in cash stuffed in pillows.
Investigations at the properties led police to evidence of a third man duped under the same scam, with a man in his 50s from Western Australia allegedly defrauded out of more than $111,000.
The two Benowa women have each been charged with five counts of fraud. The 52-year-old faces additional charges of receiving tainted property, possessing tainted property and contravening an order about access to information stored electronically.
Both are expected to appear in Southport Magistrates Court on October 3.
The 52-year-old Mermaid Beach man has been charged with four counts of fraud and is expected to appear in the same court on September 18.
Police investigations are ongoing and detectives have urged anyone with information to come forward.
“Anyone at any stage in life can be vulnerable to scams, and while it is confronting and upsetting, we ask victims to come forward, seek support and report what has happened to ReportCyber or to police,” Detective Sergeant Matthew Hogan said.
“To defraud any person is horrible, but to specifically seek out mature people who may be vulnerable, it’s cruel and QPS (Queensland Police Service) will investigate all matters until (the) alleged offenders are before the court and support is provided to those victims.”