Former detective in court over fraud scam

Former detective Michael Featherstone is facing court on fraud and money laundering charges.
Former detective Michael Featherstone is facing court on fraud and money laundering charges.

A former director of software companies that were part of an alleged telemarketing scam says he accepted the job after being swindled out of compensation for a brain injury.

But John Kane later realised he had "been used and groomed" by former detective Michael John Featherstone, he told a Brisbane court on Thursday.

Mr Kane was testifying in the committal hearing of Michael Featherstone and his son Zach.

The pair are charged with fraud and money laundering over their involvement in an alleged scam the prosecution argues raked in millions of dollars from hundreds of victims in 2013 and 2014.

It is alleged the scammers ran a call centre, referred to as a boiler room by police, involving sales people pressuring unsuspecting victims to invest money thinking they would make good returns.

Victims were allegedly cold called and offered investments in products or packages that did not exist.

Police allege companies would disappear to be rebranded and replaced by another entity that continued to operate the apparent scam.

Earlier court proceedings were told of instances of "dummy" directors, the use of false names by staff, the shredding of "mountains" of paperwork and the withdrawal of cash before a business was shut down.

Mr Kane told Brisbane Magistrates Court hearing on Thursday he met Michael Featherstone after coming out of rehabilitation for the brain injury sustained in a crash while riding a motorbike.

He was paid $440,000 compensation but that was fraudulently taken from him by another man, the court was told.

Mr Kane said Michael Featherstone felt sorry for him, offering him a job as director of a software company.

"I was very poor and down on my luck with that previous bad experience and he offered me some kind of income," he told the court.

Mr Kane became director of several companies, resigning before the businesses ceased trading.

But he later realised he had "been used and groomed" by Michael Featherstone and was also sued by victims for hundreds of thousands of dollars, he said.

Another witness Michael Cunich told the hearing he was to receive $300 a week for being a silent company director, but "as it turned out ... they'd forget maybe nine times out of 10" to pay him.

When he phoned to chase up the money they'd have "all the excuses in the world", Mr Cunich said.

He told the court Michael Featherstone "seemed to be the boss (and) he was in control of the situation" when Mr Cunich went to sign paperwork.

Married at First Sight groom Daniel Webb, together with Kirsty Maria Lester, brothers Patrik Rasmus Goransson and Charlie Mikael Goransson and Nicholas John Forbes have already been committed to stand trial in the Brisbane District Court over the alleged scam.

Australian Associated Press