Peter Foster has made a mockery of the Australian legal system for more than three decades and this behaviour has played out yet again in Sydney last Thursday. IFW has investigated Peter Foster’s criminal frauds for the past decade with his arrests by various police making headlines in some of Australia’s most exotic locations. His latest scam involved the operation of a sports betting company called Sport Predictions.
Foster is always the controlling mind of his fraudulent schemes. He cleverly targets his victims to extract every last cent. The money is stolen, laundered, and used to fund his lavish lifestyle of expensive cars, motor yachts, luxury mansions, racehorses and flash restaurants. He achieves all this ill-gotten gain under the guise of other people’s identities. He impersonates close friends and steals their identities. His utter contempt for the law has been evident over three decades. He’s never had a serious prison sentence. He sees incarceration as just an annoying part of his career as a con man. He’s outsmarted law enforcement agencies all over the world.
Foster’s latest charges include 16 charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and publishing false or misleading material to obtain financial advantage, and money laundering. His arrest on a Port Douglas beach by Queensland Police last August 2020 was the result of a 6-month investigation by IFW acting on behalf of Foster’s latest victim in Hong Kong. The scam was as bold and ruthless as all his previous scams, blatantly using a fake name to make false promises to victims of enormous profits.
The NSW Police Force accepted the criminal complaint from the Hong Kong victim, on the basis that the cryptocurrency had passed through the servers of Independent Reserve located in the state of New South Wales. The evidence was so strong that an arrest warrant was issued and Foster’s spectacular arrest on Port Douglas beach caught on film by 60 Minutes and IFW operatives. Months passed whilst Foster sat in Sydney prison, planning his next move. He made bail applications and tried consistently to discredit the crown case and the investigation.
In a comedy of errors, the crown case was turned upside down when the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions announced that there was little chance of a conviction in New South Wales because of “jurisdictional issues”. The argument of jurisdiction was welcoming news to Foster. He was now able to set in motion an escape plan. He was granted bail, whilst the ODPP were busy trying to do deals, and negotiate a plea bargain before withdrawing all charges in the State.
Some might ask how a warrant of arrest can be issued in the State of NSW without evidence of a crime being committed. If there was no jurisdictional nexus to NSW, someone has made a mistake. Some legal experts believe that the transfer of Bitcoin to cash, which took place on a Sydney based server of Independent Reserve, provides a “clear geographical nexus to the crime”. The NSW Crimes Act, Sec 10C deals with crimes that are committed “wholly or partly in NSW”.
Dangerous criminal on the loose
Foster has always fled the bounds of the law at the slightest opportunity. It’s a clear pattern of behaviour that should have been well known by the authorities responsible for keeping the public safe from prolific criminals like Peter Foster.
Now, a serial con man, fugitive and dangerous career criminal, is walking the streets, free to offend again. Serious questions need to be asked about the whole handling of this criminal case from beginning to end. Police resources and public money are now being spent to find Foster, yet again. Financial crime, including serious fraud, should be given much more priority in Australia.
Foster is now free to continue his online reign of terror against innocent people who will be left in financial ruin and emotionally devastated, like all his past victims. Some of his victims will now be having sleepless nights whilst Foster carefully plans his next move as a fugitive.