Sunday, December 14, 2014

Oz Conman Rocco Mark Calabrese reeled in for stealing prawns

Over a criminal career spanning decades, Rocco Calabrese has demonstrated a willingness to pinch almost anything, from gold bricks to tonnes of prawns and luxury cars. With slick charm and a knack for hiding in plain sight, the prolific conman has swindled a small fortune from businesses, the wealthy and even associates of underworld identities.

But Calabrese, also known as Rocco De Gonza and a host of other aliases, is now facing more than 70 fraud and deception charges allegedly racked up during a crime spree that dates back at least seven years."The guy is more slippery than an eel swimming in olive oil."
Calabrese's penchant for bling and designer clothes is part of an image he created to look successful and "connected". When caught out in scam, he would often claim to be a close mate of Mick Gatto.

"I don't know the guy. My name gets thrown around like confetti and people who do that deserve a good belting," Mr Gatto told The Sunday Age.
Calabrese, who had amassed at least three dozen criminal convictions by 2010, came to the attention of Victorian authorities again in late 2011, just months after being released from jail on a "good behaviour" bond. Police arrested Calabrese after a stolen Maserati he was driving ran out of petrol in the middle of the city.

Investigations revealed Calabrese had been using fake cheques and bank transfers to scam everything from seafood to luxury cars. The bankrupt had set up a shell company, Gourmet Produce Pantry, as a front to steal 5500 kilograms of prawns worth more than $82,000.

Calabrese has pleaded guilty to five charges in the County Court stemming from these scams and will be sentenced next year. A medical expert has claimed he suffers from "encapsulated psychotic disorder", a diagnosis that is under review.
Calabrese's name also appeared in a major Australian Tax Office gold trading scheme. ATO has estimated the elaborate scam cost taxpayers more than $65 million, but industry sources have put the final cost at potentially more than $200 million in faked and misappropriated GST payments."Kukulka also bought from other sources, including spending $1.5 million in just six days with Melbourne fraudster-turned-bullion dealer Rocco Calabrese, Mr Kukulka’s bank records show."

Calabrese, aka Rocco De Gonza, had been bankrupt twice, jailed for three dozen deception offences in 2002, and convicted again in 2010 for running corporations while disqualified."


http://www.smh.com.au/national/a-golden-fleecing-the-mystery-of-the-missing-missions-20140712-zt5mf.html