Police have described fake gold bars at the centre of a Sunshine Coast scam as the best they have ever seen.
A 33-year-old man from Hornsby in New South Wales man with fraud following the alleged gold bullion scam on the coast over the last two months.
It’s alleged the man was advertising the “gold” bars for sale on social media.
On June 10, it is alleged he met with an interested buyer at a service station on the Bruce Highway at the Glass House Mountains and sold him three gold bars for cash.
Upon further testing of the bars the buyer discovered they were not solid gold but gold plated copper.
The buyer reported the incident to police.
It’s alleged the Hornsby man again contacted the original buyer and on July 6 arranged to meet him at the same service station where he was caught in a police sting and arrested.
Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Mansfield said the bars were being sold for just a couple of hundred dollars less than the $2,800 for the real thing.
“The Perth Mint has been contacted and they are suggesting a very high quality fake product,” he said.
“In all seriousness though, it’s a pretty amazing amount of effort that somebody has gone to or some people have gone to, to produce these gold bullion bars.
“They are serial coded, they are packaged neatly and they look almost identical to the real thing.
“Our advice always is, if you are indeed trading gold that you would seek out a reputable dealer, Snr Sgt Mansfield said.
“Look people do fall into these traps from time to time thinking that they’re getting a better deal than they ordinarily would but the same old saying goes if it’s too good to be true it generally is.
Senior Sergeant Mansfield said it was a very professional and elaborate fraud and it’s believed the fake bars were imported from overseas.
“These people are attending with authenticating precious metal verifiers to test the metal in front of them, test the gold in front of them which gives them a reading
to say the percentage of it’s purity. There’s a pretty elaborate guise happening so we suspect there’s been other victims here who haven’t come forward yet,” he said.
The man has been charged with three counts of fraud, one count of attempted fraud and two counts of possess tainted property.
He has been remanded in custody to reappear at Maroochydore Magistrates Court on August 4.
If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting.
Report crime information anonymously via Crime Stoppers. Call 1800 333 000 or report online at www.crimestoppersqld.com.au.