A Riverina woman has warned people about a “Tinder con man” who has left a trail of emotional and financial damage in his wake.
Daisy Armstrong’s simple “swipe right” led to a six-month relationship with Brett Joseph, a man who once tried to swindle a hospital out of millions of dollars.
“My goal is to get this man's face and story all over social media so that other girls don't get caught out, conned and left heartbroken the same way I have been,” Ms Armstrong wrote on a Facebook page created to warn potential victims about Joseph.
“I am not the first girl he has done this to and if we don't get his face out there then I won't be the last.”
Ms Armstrong could have become yet another statistic, but for a connection to an experienced fraud squad detective. Her sister had gone to school with the daughter of retired Detective Inspector Michael Gerondis, who headed the 2009 investigation into a woman who stole more than $40 million from ING.
“I’ve done fraud investigations for years; there are red flags and this guy’s got all of them.” Mr Gerondis said.
“We did some digging and once we found the A Current Affair story, it was all done.”
In 2012, a man calling himself Hunter Baillieu, who claimed to be an heir to the Myer fortune, offered St Vincent’s Health $12 million to build a virology centre.
He was invited to a function attended by then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard and singer Delta Goodrem and his pledge led to a US-based biomedical research fund offering to match his seed funding.
When St Vincent’s ran a background check, they discovered Baillieu was really Brett Joseph, a con artist from Mudgee.
Mr Gerondis said the Armstrong family, which owned Corynnia Station at Carrathool, was still trying to work out how much they had lost.
“I told them to freeze all the accounts and then we worked back from there,” he said.
“Once you’ve got a bloke like that in your life, anything (Ms Armstrong) had access to he did as well.”
Joseph has left a trail of victims from Mudgee to Griffith, where he met Ms Armstrong.
“They’re all the same,” Mr Gerondis said. “They get your confidence by romantic means or through business, but the results are always the same.
“They think they’re smarter than everyone else and they’re happy to manipulate people, driven by ego to seek out money and success, they can’t help themselves.”
Griffith police confirmed they are investigating the matter.