Serial scammer Peter Foster released after $2 million bitcoin fraud accusations

Serial fraudster Peter Foster has been granted bail on the Gold Coast after being accused of multi-million dollar fraud.

Southport judge Janice Crawford granted the 59-year-old bail with strict conditions, including the requirement to wear an ankle-tracking bracelet.

Foster has used more than 20 pseudonyms over several decades and has been convicted of breach of trust worldwide.

He is accused of defrauding a Hong Kong pilot for bitcoin, valued at approximately $2 million in 2019 and 2020, and is charged with five counts of spreading false or misleading material to gain an advantage, and 10 counts of obtaining a financial advantage in an unfair manner by deceiving and dealing in knowledge with the proceeds of crime with the intent to conceal them.

Foster was arrested on a hobby farm in rural Victoria late last year after failing to surrender to Queensland police, who issued a warrant for his arrest.

Foster was accused of knowingly handling the proceeds of crime with the intent of concealment.(ABC News: Kimberly Bernard)

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The King’s attorney general, Christopher Cook, said Foster should not be granted bail because he was previously convicted of escaping from custody in Victoria in 1998.

Cook said Foster was also convicted of using a false passport and money laundering.

He said he failed to appear in the Australian Federal Court multiple times in 2013.

During today’s bail application, Foster’s attorney Russell Pearce acknowledged that his client was a man who “had dinner out because of his bad reputation”.

Pierce later added that his client “may have made it difficult to find him, but he had never before complied with the terms of his bail.”

Foster was released on bail to live with his sister in Mount Tamborine on the Gold Coast, and was required to wear an ankle bracelet.

He must not travel outside 50 km from his residence address and was required to hand in any valid passport, not approach any airport and report to the police in Southport three times a week.

Previous warranty conditions were not met

Foster had previously been charged with similar offenses in New South Wales related to the same incident involving the pilot, which was later shot down.

At that hearing, Judge Margaret Quinn granted him bail with strict conditions in New South Wales – including a $180,000 bond – before the charges were withdrawn.

He was also required to wear an ankle tracker, which he later removed and discovered he had been walking around Sydney’s business district in the hours before interstate fraud charges were dropped.

Foster has not been charged with breach of bail.

Peter Foster is sitting on the sand in handcuffs and surrounded by plainclothes police.
Queensland Police for Mile Beach arrested serial prankster Peter Foster in Port Douglas on Thursday, August 20, 2020.(Supplied: IFW Global)

Arrest his media image

The court was shown a clip from ABC’s Media Watch, which showed Foster’s arrest in Port Douglas in 2020 before he was charged in New South Wales.

The court heard during a police search of his property in Queensland at the time that a replica of a handgun had been found, but Foster was not charged with any wrongdoing related to the item, which was contained in a black suitcase in a wardrobe.

Mr. Pierce alleged the fact that a news crew had filmed the arrest and that a television news story that included interviews with special counsel Ken Gamble indicated that the investigation into the alleged fraud had not been conducted “on a large scale”.

“The complaint was requested by a private investigator who has a financial interest in the outcome,” he said.

Cook said the crimes Foster is accused of are serious and he is likely to be imprisoned if convicted.

Out of court, Foster’s longtime attorney, Chris Hannay, said his client was not in a position to “show the case” and “deserve bail.”

When asked if he could be sure that his client would not escape during the bail period, Mr. Hani said he could never be sure that any of his clients would show up for their trial dates.

“No one can say he’s going to show up again or anyone else for that matter, we’re seeing normal people not showing up,” he said.

Foster is expected to be released from Arthur Gorey Correctional Center later today.

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