• Back from the debt

    You can’t keep a good man down. Malcolm Edwards loses $1 billion, then bounces back for more. He was one of corporate Australia’s highest flyers, until he crashed to earth with debts of more than $1 billion. Less than a decade later, Malcolm Edwards is on the comeback trail. Read more >

  • Our real secret service

    Whistle-blowers – we need them, but do we like them? What kind of people would meet furtively on a Saturday morning hundreds of kilometres from home, charter a houseboat, and motor to a secluded cove where, under cover of darkness, they make plans to change the course of public administration in Australia? Read more >

  • While the watchdogs slept

    How ASIC, our corporate watchdog, did nothing while a con-man robbed investors of $20 million on bonds in a banktupt railway. When Larry Oliver, an age pensioner from Perth, looked like losing his life savings, his house and even his car, he turned in panic to the only people he thought could help him the national corporate watchdog, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Read more >

  • The truffle kerfuffle

    Not another agricultural con! This time it’s black truffles. In the biting chill of a winter’s morning in north-west Tasmania, a man with a dog stalks slowly through a grove of bare, black hazelnut trees. Read more >

  • Ludwig’s mad world – the mystery of the $3 million heir

    The saga of Ludwig Gertsch. A body in the mountains, missing millions, contested wills, gay lovers – it became a book (and should be a movie). To my most adored Edoardo … ” Read more >

  • Cheating death

    The Rife machine. A fake cancer cure that kills kids. Cancer sufferers have died after putting their faith in a device with electrical parts worth just $15. Read more >

  • The Party’s Over

    Gary Kilpatrick, master hypnotist, winds up in jail after the spell broke and his empire fell into ruins. Gary Kilpatrick lit up a last Benson & Hedges, then slowly stripped off his valuables: the fancy mobile phone with the inbuilt camera, the fraternity ring embossed with a sapphire, the gold chain and the leather thong with a crystal pendant, the wallet from his back pocket. Read more >

  • Broken Hearts – Undermining the authority

    The National Crime Authority. Incompetent plods, or dangerous destroyers of civil liberty. 2nd of 2 stories turn our secretive supercops inside out. Two months ago, in an obscure courtroom in the ivy-covered building in Melbourne’s Little Bourke St that houses the Federal Court, a judgment was handed down that attracted little attention beyond the small coterie of lawyers involved. Read more >

  • Our supercop scandal NCA under investigation

    The National Crime Authority. Incompetent plods, or dangerous destroyers of civil liberty. 1st of 2 stories turn our secretive supercops inside out. As winter’s shutters came down on the city of Adelaide last year, an extraordinary farce was being played out on the heavily guarded 12th floor of the glass and concrete tower that houses the local branch of Australia’s most secret law enforcement agency. Read more >

  • The man who turns rocks into gold

    Synroc was supposed to be the answer to nuclear waste disposal – instead it made one man very rich. With additional reporting by Craig Nelson in Moscow. Whatever happened to Synroc, the Australian invention that was to solve the problem of storing nuclear waste? Read more >

  • The man who sank Elle

    The man who dudded supermodel Elle McPherson. Moored at Sandringham Yacht Club, bobbing gently on the choppy grey waves of Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay, is one of the fanciest pleasure boats in Australia – the sleek navy blue hull and twin masts of the 62-foot schooner Anitra May. Read more >

  • The Hilton Fiasco

    The Hilton bombing. Two decades after Australia’s first act of terrorism the finger still points at a whacky religious cult, Ananda Marga. The Crosslands Youth and Convention Centre, on a swathe of bushland near the outer Sydney suburb of Galston, is an unlikely starting-point for Australia’s first act of international terrorism – and what, to some, is still its greatest unsolved crime. Read more >

  • The big steal

    How the Swiss Banking Corporation was defrauded of $70 million, which finished up paying off the creditors of a battling Australian businessman, Malcolm Edwards. The Gnomes of Zurich are punctual and precise. Read more >

  • The battle for Balmain

    How council bungling cost residents of a Sydney suburb dearly. From a muddy slope, scraped bare by bulldozers and overlooking the bombed-out ruins of a soap factory, juts the stump of what was once a huge, spreading Moreton Bay fig tree, a local landmark for the best part of a century. Read more >

  • The bank that died of shame

    How crooks and con-men wrecked a little Gippsland credit union. Twas four days before Christmas 1989, but there was no festive spirit in that small, neon-lit office 12 floors above Melbourne’s heaving holiday throngs. Read more >

  • The club that died of shame

    There were death threats, feuding, gunfire, bashing, theft, and a severed goat’s head, a traditional mafia warning. The Apia Club. A severed goat’s head signals the end of Sydney’s oldest ethnic club. The pasta was inedible. The roast chicken spurted blood when you sank a knife into it. Read more >

  • The alms race

    How charities rip you off, spending most of your money on everything except the worthy cause. A strolling accordionist plays a rousing Scottish air among the giant cardboard cactuses … waiters in convict garb pour the cabernet and chardonnay … ladies in leis ladle out tacos and dim sim … and Michael G. Read more >

  • Police bungling allowed granny killer to strike one last time

    The granny killer John Wayne Glover murdered his last victim while bungling police sat outside in a car. Police could have arrested the “granny killer” John Wayne Glover more than three weeks earlier than they did – saving the life of his last victim. Read more >

  • Disturbing developments – the engineers of our environment

    Sydney got a third runway for its airport. – in spite of the fact that the environmental impact statement (like many others) was fatally flawed. There, bleached by the flashlight, craning its neck above the reeds, is the unmistakable silhouette of a great egret, a rare wading bird on the protected species list. Read more >

  • As dodgy as all get-out

    Shonky builders. How scores of Sydney home-improvers were dudded. Susan Gallagher finds it hard to choke back the tears as she shows us around her modest brick veneer house south of Wollongong, pointing out the missing guttering, the leaking roof, the carport where the bedroom should have been built. Read more >

  • Sex, lies & ticker tate

    Russell Goward wanted to be Alan Bond. He got off to a good start, duding everyone, including his wife whose sister he installed in a love-nest down the road. Russell Goward loved to conduct visitors around his enormous mansion, set on almost a hectare of land at Wahroonga on Sydney’s leafy upper North Shore. Read more >

  • Welcome to the murky world of Kroll Inc – the private CIA

    Ronnie Biggs in reverse. How Kroll’s boss in Brazil escaped a police dragnet and finished up in Australia. They helped track down billions of dollars of treasure looted from Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. They finally proved that “God’s Banker”, Roberto Calvi, found hanging under London’s Blackfriars Bridge with bricks in his pockets, was murdered. Read more >

  • The Brazilian connection

    Ronnie Biggs in reverse. How Kroll’s boss in Brazil escaped a police dragnet and finished up in Australia. [B]y Brazilian standards, Operation Jackal was carried out with clockwork precision. Read more >

  • Caught in the web of retirement villages

    Retirement villages – beware of the traps and rip-offs. His voice is not much more than a hoarse whisper, thanks to the ravages of emphysema. He walks with gingerly stiffness, impeded by an iron brace on one leg. Read more >

  • Red faces (Red Noses Faces)

    Red faces or red noses? How a charity aimed at saving kids from SIDS failed to account for its money. In the spring of 1989 the famous Outback painter Pro Hart walked into the desert near his studio in Broken Hill to pick a bunch of wildflowers to be placed on the grave of his grandson, Joseph Willoughby. Read more >

  • Hit the roadshow

    Prime Bank Fraud. How Village Roadshow was scammed of millions. Brian Scott makes a modest living as an investment adviser, teleworking by phone and fax and Internet from his home on a hill with splendid views over Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges. Read more >

  • Predator in paradise

    Norfolk Island’s Pacific idyll turns to horror story after the local pastor is convicted of sex crimes. The name Nobbs is carved deep in the heart of Norfolk Island. There are innumerable Nobbs buried under mossy tombstones in the historic cemetery, inscribed on the war memorial, recorded in the annals of the island’s commerce, religion and civic service. Read more >

  • Tony Deren’s nightmare: ‘There goes Mr Bubbles’

    Mr Bubbles. How false accusations of child sex abuse destroyed the lives of an innocent couple. It happened again the other day. As Tony Deren is striding to work through the concourse of Wynyard station he notices two men in business suits staring at him and talking to each other. He goes up to them and launches into the little speech he uses on these occasions. Read more >

  • Life in the shadows of Mr Bubbles

    Mr Bubbles. How false accusations of child sex abuse destroyed the lives of an innocent couple. Pinned to a noticeboard beside the word-processor in Dawn Deren’s cramped little study is a cartoon depicting a frog halfway down the throat of a heron, only its legs kicking out from either side of the bill. Read more >

  • Mysteries of the magic water man

    Miracle water. How a scamster conned a cover-story in Good Weekend. Cristina Marcon says her eczema has cleared up. Mark Fitzharris believes his multiple sclerosis is much better. Milton (Mickey) Macdonald declares that his arthritis pain has gone away. Read more >

  • How courts treat white-collar crime

    Kid gloves – how the law fails to punish fraudsters. Fraudsters are dealt with remarkably leniently by the courts, according to data compiled by the NSW Department of Public Prosecutions. Even in cases involving serious, serial white-collar crime, only 60 per cent go to prison, with the rest being given fines, bonds, or periodic detention. Read more >

  • Throwing our money away

    Internet gambling. How a tribe of native Canadians got a jump on the world. Today there are fewer than 10,000 of them, clinging to a 5,000-hectare foothold of forest and farm and suburbia along the south bank of the mighty St Lawrence River, a 15-minute drive from downtown Montreal. Read more >

  • Exposed: gun lobby’s backers – Port Arthur massacre Australia demands action

    In the wake of the Port Arthur Massacre. An examination of how the gun lobby bribes political parties. Australia’s $50 million-a-year firearms industry is a major undercover financier of the gun lobby which has campaigned successfully against tougher controls including a national register of firearms. Read more >

  • In the frame

    A royal commission into the police reveals scores of criminals may have been falsely convicted on perjured evidence. Kym William Royall is your criminal from central casting. Lurid tattoos cover the beefy arms swinging at his sides. A lank ponytail dangles almost to his waist. Read more >

  • If it seems too good to be true…

    High-tech scam. How a Kiwi banker duded Australian investors out of $72 million. Read the fine print that was the judge’s message to three Sydney investors who have lost millions and now had $44 million in damages awarded against them. Read more >

  • Oils ain’t oils: the one-man Whiteley machine

    A Monet takes longer. Australia’s greatest art forger in an esclusive series. A Sydney antique furniture dealer has admitted to painting thousands of works of art bearing the signatures of Australian and internationally famous artists that would be worth more than $100 million if genuine. Read more >

  • A Brush With Fame

    He can knock off a Brett Whitely in 20 minutes. There is silence in court 8D as the man in the witness box unrolls a length of heavy, white paper and peers intently through his glasses at the crudely graphic charcoal drawing of a naked couple having sex. Read more >

  • Obstructing justice

    Exxon’s global cover-up. How one of the world’s biggest companies avoids accountability for industrial disasters. An allegation of cover-up in Melbourne. A secret report in Hong Kong. Missing test results in the Virgin Islands. A fake logbook in Aruba. What does it all add up to? What does this say about Exxon, America’s largest oil company? Read more >

  • The oil spill that has haunted Exxon for a decade

    Exxon’s global cover-up. How one of the world’s biggest companies avoids accountability for industrial disasters. Although it was 10 years ago today that the tanker Exxon Valdez crunched onto a reef in a pristine Alaskan sound, the ghost of America’s worst-ever oil pollution disaster still haunts its largest oil company. Read more >

  • How a coroner was misled

    Exxon’s global cover-up. How one of the world’s biggest companies avoids accountability for industrial disasters. There’s not a lot to do in Niue, concedes Warren Banks, the attorney-general of the world’s smallest country. A coral rock roughly halfway between Sydney and Honolulu with a population of 2,080 and falling, it boasts brilliant diving, good game-fishing, lots of coconuts … and not much else. Read more >

  • Slick operator – Exxon’s global cover-up exposed

    Exxon’s global cover-up. How one of the world’s biggest companies avoids accountability for industrial disasters. Claims of a cover-up have been made at the royal commission into Australia’s biggest disaster involving a public utility, last year’s explosion at Esso-BHP’s gas plant at Longford in Victoria. Read more >

  • Eisa over the Edge?

    Johnson Wang floats Eisa, a high-tech company, then flees when it collapses. The Dallas County Sheriff’s officers arrived without warning on a warm spring morning six weeks ago at the headquarters of what Chinese/Australian entrepreneur Johnson Wang once described as his $1 billion-a-year global computer-building business. Read more >

  • Death of a model

    The link between crooked stockbroker Rene Rivkin and the tragic death of a model. Even at six o’clock on a winter morning, Caroline Byrne would turn heads. Tall, blonde and well-built, she had just come from a casting session at her modelling agency and was looking “marvellous”, her father recalls. Read more >

  • Dark side of the aged care Tsar

    Ted Sent, ex-bankrupt with a shady past, has the lives of thousands of old people in nursing homes in his hands. On a cold, grey Melbourne afternoon earlier this month, a band of dignitaries assembled in the grounds of a newly built brick complex in the suburb of McKinnon. Read more >

  • Shock Horror

    Compo for robbers. How the victims of crime compensation scheme is rorted. A bandit in a balaclava burst into the Newcastle shop and held a knife at the throat of the young woman at the counter, the proprietor’s daughter, demanding money. Terrified, she handed over $4,000 from the till and the robber fled. Read more >

  • How HIH came a $25m cropper

    Chinese trees??? A little-known side-light to the collapse of HIH, Australia’s biggest corporate bankruptcy. Not far from the Murray River border town of Corowa is a 600-hectare property named Farleton where a farming family once struggled to earn a living from wheat and sheep now planted out with row after row of odd-looking saplings, stretching as far as the eye can see. Read more >

  • The invisible airport

    Badgerys Creek. No third airport for Sydney, but a lot of very happy land-owners. Drive along The Northern Road that skirts the outer limits of Sydney’s vast suburban sprawl and you could be almost anywhere in Australia it’s a bucolic landscape of gum trees, rolling paddocks where cattle and horses graze, and modest iron-roofed weatherboard houses. Read more >

  • Mexican stand-off

    Another runaway. Mexican businessman Carlos Cabal flees to Australia after his $1.5 billion empire collapses, ends up doing an interview in jail. In a spartan concrete room in a maximum security prison in Victoria, a man bizarrely dressed in a baby blue gown fastened at the back is struggling to explain why Australiais trying to send him back to Mexico to face what he fears will be a political show-trial. Read more >

  • The millionaire bikie

    Alex Vella, millionaire bikie. From the windows of the mansion on the hill, it looked like the Normandy beaches at dawn on D-Day. Rumbling through the peaceful paddocks on the outskirts of Sydney in the early morning light came a convoy of armed men – not a military operation, but one of the largest police raids ever staged in NSW. Read more >

  • A fuel and his money

    A gadget that abolishes exhaust-fumes? Hundreds of investors believed in it, and lost $400 million. The man who banged on the door was in no mood for negotiation. He said that unless he got his money back he was going to kill someone he was dying of cancer, so what did he have to lose? Read more >

  • Taken for a ride

    300 phantom buses. The extraordinary story of the King brothers. The $228 million collapse of the King Bros bus company is unfolding as an HIH-style saga of greed, incompetence and toothless watchdogs. Audit time was party-time at King Bros. Read more >

  • 100 stillborn babies

    100 dead babies – fingers point at the obstetrician. One of Australia’s biggest maternity hospitals asked to explain. A major inquiry is about to begin into the cause of death and injury of hundreds of newborn babies at one of Australia’s largest maternity hospitals over the past 10 years. Read more >

Looking for something specific?

Great corporate scams of the last 20 years ranging from Rene Rivkin and the mysterious death of a model to a racket in growing truffles, from the collapse of Australia’s biggest insurance company to a $60 million sting on a Swiss bank.