Australia: West African scam costs WA man millions


Staff member
I feel sorry for that poor man. He really seems to have wanted to help others. But even now it seems like he still can't completely accept that it is a 100% scam.

West African scam costs WA man Peter Kleinig millions before authorities step in
Posted earlier today at 12:04am

Consumer protection officials have been forced to take legal action against a 65-year-old man who lost millions to scammers in West Africa yet continued to solicit funds from others to invest in a bogus scheme.

Since 2007, Peter Melvin Kleinig has sent millions of dollars to places such as Togo and Ghana, believing the money was going to an investment company.

The money came from Mr Kleinig's life savings, and from others whom he managed to convince to invest in the bogus scheme on the promise of repayment plus a reward.

The victims identified were from around Western Australia, including Albany, Esperance, Armadale and the Swan Valley.

A friend of Mr Kleinig's lost $2 million to the scam.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said authorities had tried repeatedly to convince Mr Kleinig that he was being defrauded.

However, they were largely ignored.

Arrests in Ghana no deterrent
"Officers from our anti-fraud initiative Project Sunbird have spent a lot of time trying to prove to Mr Kleinig that the silver and gold investment company he believes in does not exist," Mr Hillyard said.

He said police in Ghana had reportedly arrested nine people over the case, but even news of the arrests did not deter Mr Kleinig, and he continued to solicit funds to send overseas.

"It's extremely sad that Peter Kleinig has lost his life savings and refuses to accept that he is at the centre of an investment fraud.

"However, when the actions of a victim present a financial risk to other members of the community, authorities have a responsibility to step in to protect the public.

"That's why we have entered into this court enforceable undertaking."

The undertaking prevents Mr Kleinig from soliciting or accepting funds for the purpose of any investment.

Video Report On The Website - Interview With The Victim!
Duration Time 5:03

Man who lost $3m says he didn’t see the scam
Angela Pownall and Mark Gibson - The West Australian on April 7, 2016, 12:25 am

Video WA scam victim speaks out
The WA man who lost at least $3 million of his and other people’s money to an African scam over eight years has admitted he might have been hoodwinked.

Former Esperance farmer Peter Melvin Kleinig, 65, spoke for the first time yesterday since WA authorities took action to stop him sending other people’s money to the fraudulent scheme, which he long believed was an investment in a gold mining company.

Police believe he took money from up to 25 people after persuading them to invest in the Ghana-based scheme, including the late Fred Williams, who lost $2 million to the scammers.

Peter Kleinig lost $3 million.

Mr Kleinig disputed this, saying only about six people gave him money, but admitted the situation got out of hand.

“Over time you’ve got to come to a point, you know, have I been hoodwinked with this whole thing and that’s incredibly unfortunate if I have because of the amount of finance that’s been injected into something like this,” he said. He said he did not think he was being scammed previously because people he had been working with were “very sincere people, they were Christian people”. Mr Kleinig said he and his friend Mr Williams, who died in December 2014, had not planned to benefit personally from the $5.7 million investment return he thought he would eventually get.

“Fred had a project in Esperance that he wanted to finance to help homeless people,” he said.

“I myself feel very much a desire to assist people because I come from a Christian background.”

Mr Kleinig, who receives a pension and is $100,000 in debt, said he wanted to apologise to Mr Williams’ family for the hurt he had caused. “I’m so distraught over the whole thing and I want to make right a wrong,” he said.