A woman whose house and identity was stolen by overseas scammers has been forced to sue the government to retrieve her money.
International fraudsters, who are still at large, pocketed $430,000 when they sold the four-bedroom Canberra house in 2014 in a sophisticated scam spanning several months and countries, including South Africa, Australia and Indonesia.
Fresh details of the crime were aired in the ACT Supreme Court last week, as court documents reveal the thieves went to elaborate lengths to steal the home, conning real estate agents, lawyers and a bank along the way.
However, even though her home was sold without her knowledge, the woman is not entitled to reclaim it.
Despite an international police investigation, the fraudster is yet to be caught and it is unclear how many people may have been responsible for the sophisticated scam that shocked Canberra’s real estate industry.
The victim was living in South Africa at the time, but the fraud only came to light several months after the sale when she contacted her agent about maintenance on the property and because she hadn’t received any statements for almost nine months.
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