Captain Crook continues dodgy endeavours

He’s done it all before. The man who claimed to be ‘Royal Caribbean cruise line commander Brad Collins’ to dupe women out of their money is a convicted felon who was jailed in Melbourne more than a decade ago for the same tricks. 

Mandurah Mail revealed last week that the man had scammed women in Mandurah and Perth over the past year by getting them to fork out cash for travel down-payments, events and flights.

Today, we reveal the man’s true identity. He is, in fact, Brett Turton – a forklift driver who pulled the same scam on at least 10 Victorian women between 2002 and 2005, claiming that he was a US fighter pilot, a Qantas pilot or a British Airways pilot. The ruse netted him a total of about $64,000.

Brett Turton (right) after being awarded a 'Pride of Workmanship Award' in 2014.

Brett Turton (right) after being awarded a 'Pride of Workmanship Award' in 2014.

Dubbed the “Catch Me If You Can” scammer by the press because of the similarities between his crimes and those of Leonardo DiCaprio’s con man character Frank Abagnale in the 2002 Hollywood film of the same name, Mr Turton was convicted in 2005 of 35 charges of obtaining property or financial advantage by deception.

He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, with a minimum of 10 months before being eligible for parole. 

One of his first victims was his de facto partner, who promised to stand by him after his sentencing despite having been fleeced of $20,000. The pair re-settled in Perth after his release from jail and have two children together.

The con man befriended his WA victims just as he had in Victoria – sometimes at a pub, and almost always using a fake American accent.

Another Mandurah victim

Last week, the Mail revealed Mandurah women Bree Hunter and Dianne Dunstan had both met the scammer separately on dating website Oasis.

Ms Hunter quit her job to take a position he had offered her, and also gave him money for a travel visa.

All the while, Mr Turton was in a de facto relationship with Ms Dunstan, who gave him about $500 for incidentals and money for a trip they were planning to the US.

He obviously thought, ‘here’s an easy one’.

Mandurah scam victim

And he was also involved with a Perth woman, who wanted to remain anonymous when she told the Mail about their relationship.

Grant Morgan, meanwhile, was duped into letting Mr Turton stay in his Dawesville property for about 10 days.

Since then, two further victims have come forward.

WAToday reported Perth woman Annabelle Morgan had met Mr Turton on Oasis and he then moved in, spending five months sponging off her. He sent her broke and added insult to injury by giving her a ring that he claimed was worth $30,000. It turned out to be worthless.

Another Mandurah woman, who did not want to be named fared just as badly.

The woman, who said she dated Mr Turton for four months, told Mandurah Mail he stole $3000 that was meant for “Japan shares”, a ring ($799) and a flight to Bali that never happened ($800).

I was in such a bad place emotionally and going through a divorce.

Mandurah scam victim

The woman said she transferred the money into his bank account. 

She said Mr Turton was living in Rivervale before he moved into her house.

“I didn’t see him very often...he always had some kind of excuse why we couldn’t go out,’ she said. 

“Then one day he turned up to my place and didn’t leave.”

Unlike other victims, the woman said Mr Turton told her his real name.

The victim said he preyed on “vulnerable women”. 

“I was in such a bad place emotionally and going through a divorce,” she said. 

“He obviously thought, ‘here’s an easy one’.”

The woman said he accidentally called her in an American accent on a few occasions.

“I picked him up on it and said, ‘what the hell are you speaking like an American for?’ and he said, ‘Oh I’ve been down the wharf and the Americans are in, so I’ve picked up their accent’,” she said.

“To me it was really weird...it was just so dodgy.”

The woman said she reported him to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network .

Do you know anything about Brett Turton? Contact Mandurah Mail via email editor.mandurahmail@fairfaxmedia.com.au

WA not aware of his past 

A WA Police Media spokeswoman told the Mail they had conducted inquiries and were not aware of police investigating the matter. 

She said the matter may have been referred to Consumer Protection.  

But Consumer Protection were none the wiser.

“...Sorry, but we have no record of a Brett Turton in our scam database,” a spokesman said. 

Mr Turton did not respond to attempts to contact him on numbers supplied by his victims.  

His work history since being released from jail isn’t entirely clear, but it is known that he worked for Toll Express, where he won an award in 2014 after being nominated by colleague Andrew Liakishev.

Mr Liakishev, who is now the Toll Holdings Ltd WA branch manager, said he did not want to comment about Mr Turton or why he no longer worked for the business.

Follow Carla Hildebrandt on Twitter @hildebrandt_c or to get in contact email carla.hildebrandt@fairfaxmedia.com.au