Conman still on the job

by Chris Griffith
Published 20 October 1996 in The Sunday Mail


my face


A convicted conman who represented himself as a doctor, pastor and lawyer continues to operate as a "legal adviser'' in Queensland.

Last week The Sunday Mail revealed a man claiming to legally represent more than 5000 participants of the Golden Sphere Pyramid Scheme was convicted criminal Donald James Cameron, 53.

He has more than 20 convictions spanning 35 years, including unlawful assault of a female, acting as a bogus doctor, forgery, stealing and false pretences.

As well as operating the Citizens for Financial Independence Association and the Church of Love and Peace, Cameron began a political party, the Christian Democratic Party, issuing flyers from the "Office of the Leader Donald James Cameron''.

Cameron gained notoriety in 1993 as the lawyer accompanying rebel graziers George and Stephanie Muirhead - when he was a prisoner.

Last week, several people contacted The Sunday Mail about Cameron's most recent activities, on Brisbane's southside.

Owners of Tandarra Caravan Park at Eagleby, Doug and Shirley Wright, said that while living in the park, Cameron had convinced widow Janet Isobelle Dodd to give him power of attorney.

They said Cameron conned Mrs Dodd out of her savings and had conspired with another woman to be the beneficiaries of a will drawn up in July, 1994.

In a later will, Mrs Dodd said she had not previously known Cameron and had been "coerced into making that prior will". She died in September last year.

In June last year, Cameron was appointed treasurer of the Eagleby Community Centre. According to former president Del Holyoake, Cameron became the centre's pastor, legal adviser and legal representative.

He said Cameron had incorrectly told members he was Don Cameron "ex-MLA", and he was going to Canberra "to be made a QC".

He performed legal work for the centre and for some members and even prosecuted a former employee for defamation.

"He has a silken tongue. He's damn clever and people don't challenge him. He'd put on his legal voice and walk around the room like a Hollywood lawyer _ with one hand on his lapel, and stroking his beard with the other."

Mr Holyoake said he paid Cameron $700 to fight a custody battle for his daughter. The money was "completely and utterly wasted".

Mr Holyoake said he sacked Cameron and repossessed two mobile phones after Cameron ran up a $1600 bill.

"But the next day he went down to the stationers in Beenleigh and bought another one in the community centre's name. He was very quick.''

Yesterday Cameron denied the claims and would not comment further.