Alleged conman case: Cash taken from kid's money jar

By Edward Gay

Loizos Michaels in 2010. File photo / Brett Phibbs
Loizos Michaels in 2010. File photo / Brett Phibbs

An alleged conman made threats against an investor's family after tricking him into handing over money for a film studio, a court has been told.

Australian investor Adam Hansen told the Auckland District Court today that he handed up to $170,000 to Loizos Michaels in the belief that the money would be used to set up a multimillion-dollar film studio on Australia's Sunshine Coast in 2004.

He said he made a series of payments and was promised a $300,000 salary to work for Michaels as security and personal assistant.

But instead, he was left with no money, lost most of his possessions and his family was threatened.

Michaels has denied 31 Serious Fraud Office charges of deception connected to an alleged $3 million fraud.

Mr Hansen said Michaels - through associates - made demands for investment money, some of which was put into envelopes and hidden on the floor of the luxury Marcos sportscar that Michaels was driving.

He told the court that most of the money came from the sale of his investment property. When that was all gone, Michaels asked him to find other investors. He even took money out of his children's money jar.

Michaels told him the money would be used to finance the movie studio and he would one day receive a 30 to 40 euro return on each Australian cent he invested.

``I said I was very nervous and doubtful about the outcome. He said not to be doubtful because it was part of my test in humility and honour.''

Michaels also spoke of his connections to the Japanese criminal underworld.

Mr Hansen said that in the early days of the film company an associate died of a heart attack but Michaels said the man had been killed by the Japanese Yakuza.

``He led us to believe that [the man's] heart attack wasn't a heart attack but was a lethal injection from people he knew, and an example of some of the things he could do.''

He told the court Michaels also spoke of family ties to the Cyprus mafia and a cruise ship company.

There were plans to buy a gold mine and to open a casino onboard a cruise ship off the Sunshine Coast.

Michaels also allegedly promised Mr Hansen a house on Queensland's exclusive Sovereign Island so he could entertain international investors and film stars.

Mr Hansen said Michaels told him to pack up his house on the Sunshine Coast and get ready for the move. Mr Hansen said he did as he was told but after three days the removal truck was repossessed and he lost most of his possessions.

He told the court how later he insisted Michaels show him some ``good faith'' and return some of his money.

``He asked me do I know who I'm talking to and if I didn't do what he told me to do then I better watch out for my family.''

Despite the threat, Mr Hansen agreed to fly to Townsville in Queensland where Michaels told him a ship connected to the new international cruise line company was coming in.

Ten days after arriving in Townsville, there was no boat.

Mr Hansen has yet to be cross-examined by Michaels' lawyer Peter Kaye.

The trial continues.

- APNZ

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