by Chris Griffith
Published 12 May 1996 in The Sunday Mail
Between 1990 and 1995, at least a dozen victims each gave Mr X tens of thousands of dollars to import customised American cars and motorcycles, and to have the cars converted to right-hand drive.
Given a new identity by the CJC, Mr X had agreed to expose bikies involved in a stolen Harley-Davidson motorcycle racket, drug running, and bashings.
Instead he ran a business registered by him at 557 Coronation Drive, the CJC headquarters before fleeing to the United States in September last year.
He was last traced to Pomona, Los Angeles. It is understood bikie gangs have placed a contract on his life.
Yesterday the chairman of the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee, Mr Vince Lester, said the committee had asked the CJC to provide a full briefing on its dealings with Mr X.
Mr Lester said his committee expected to have the CJC's report on Monday.
He said the committee would study the report and then decide whether to release it.
He would not be drawn on whether the report would be made public, however committee sources said it was highly probable the report would be released by Wednesday and formally tabled in parliament.
"It will be up to authorities to read the report and decide what they want to do, and for the offended people to take up the issue with the state Attorney-General and the federal Attorney-General" Mr Lester said.
Mr Lester would not be drawn on what specifically the report would address, but victims of the scam said several glaring questions remained.
To what extent was the CJC aware of Mr X's past financial dealings involving a business deregistered in March 1992 when it gave him a new identity, and with it, renewed financial credibility?
It is understood Mr X established his new business with CJC approval, and he obtained a passport, bank account, credit cards, health care card, driver's licence and vehicle registration using his new name.
And did the CJC, as some victims claimed, tell the police to back off and not investigate the alleged car scam and help the victims recover their money because Mr X was a protected CJC witness at the time?
David Clay, of the Rockhampton Motor Company, who lost $39,000, said he was sceptical about the parliamentary committee's exercise because it had only sought the CJC's story.
"I think common sense would tell you they've only got one side of the story -- I've heard nothing from the CJC", he said.
While saying he was sympathetic to the plight of the victims, Mr Lester warned he would not allow the CJC to become the scapegoat for other peoples' mistakes which he said the CJC was not necessarily to blame for.
And he said the victims had to accept there was a risk involved in trusting a stranger with tens of thousands of dollars to purchase overseas cars.
"If people make a poor investment, they have to live with it, not to expect the government to fix it up.
"I'm sorry for the people who lost money, but let that be a lesson to everyone else."
However Mr Lester's argument do not wash with victims such as Mr Clay, who said Mr X would have been unable to con many of his victims without the financial credibility given to him by the CJC.
Victims also point to the fact that a Brisbane couple had warned authorities about Mr X well before he was placed on the CJC's witness protection scheme.
The couple had lost $6,500 to Mr X way back in 1990.