A con man who swindled the Australian government out of almost $90,000 finally faces deportation, following decades of tracking by a private investigator.
The PI was hired by Michael Boghdadi Asaad’s stepdaughter, whom he abandoned after fleeing Canada for Australia in the late 1980s, following years of crime in the USA.
After leaving Canada, the 80-year-old arrived in Australia using a Canadian passport in the name of Rick Michaels.
Asaad was able to evade both the authorities and the private investigator who were trying to track him down, by gaining a late registration birth certificate which stated he was born in New Norfolk, Tasmania.
The birth certificate enabled him to obtain a passport, which he used to receive exactly $89,161.44 from Centrelink between 2002 and 2009.
Asaad’s step-daughter and her private investigator Bill Hagler told the Daily Mail they suspected Asaad had used an alias to regain entry to the US after he didn’t show up to a Sydney court in late 2017 over a hit-and-run driving offence.
“Conman of the Western world” evades detection until 2017
Mr Hagler is a former bounty hunter who has captured some of America’s most wanted fugitives, yet Asaad was able to keep him at bay for decades.
Mr Hagler told Daily Mail Australia that Asaad was the ‘conman of the Western world’ and the ‘best of the best’ when it came to fraud criminals.
‘He’s very, very smart and so slick. He can make every deal in the book,’ Mr Hagler told Daily Mail Australia.
He said Asaad would have chosen Australia because the laws are not as strict on white collar crimes as they are in the United States.
“He left [the US] when they started out handing out life sentences for the types of crimes he committed.”
But in 2017, Asaad’s crimes caught up with him, after authorities identified him as Egyptian-born Farouk Asaad when he tried to claim at aged pension.
Daily Mail Australia reported that Asaad was being held at Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney and was finally set to be deported, following his 50-year criminal career.
Decades of crime catch up with Asaad
Asaad’s criminal history dates back to 1993 and includes a string of crimes, including drugs related offences.
In 1993, he was convicted of heroin dealing and served 11 months behind bars, according to Queensland Supreme Court documents viewed by Daily Mail Australia.
Private Investigator, Mr Hagler told the publication it was Asaad’s connection to Harry Lahood that led him to the drug trade.
‘He agreed to become a mule in the drug business. Never before has this conman been involved in drugs. Normally a conman doesn’t get involved in drugs. He cons people – he cons banks,’ Mr Hagler reportedly said.
The court documents also state that Asaad was convicted of a string of fraud-related offences stretching from 1994 to 2009, as well as several bail breaches.
At age 72, Asaad declared bankruptcy, owing almost $400,000, then proceeded to open a pizza restaurant on the Gold Coast.
Two years later, in 2005, Asaad was convicted of preparing to leave Australia as an undischarged bankrupt – as well as conducting business while bankrupt – and sentenced to three months jail.
The Daily Mail Australia reports Asaad was later convicted of failing to declare bankruptcy to an exclusive Perth school which one of his sons attended in 2004, racking up a debt of $16,000.
In 2010, Asaad was jailed for a further nine months after failing to declare to businesses he was bankrupt.
The end of the road for Asaad
Now, at 80 years of age, Asaad faces deportation, which he fought on the grounds that was “unreasonably harsh”, according to Brisbane Times.
Brisbane Times reports that Asaad suffers heart problems, diabetes, arthritis, dental problems and an abdominal hernia, while his 16-year-old son is severely intellectually disabled.
According to the report, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton accepted the boy was very attached to his father and would suffer emotionally through further physical separation.
However, he proceeded to rule that Asaad’s visa should be cancelled because he had a lack of respect for the law and would likely reoffend.
Asaad will remain in immigration detention until he is deported.
The Asaad case highlights the important role private investigators play, not only in personal cases, but in criminal cases throughout Australia and the world.
This article was originally published here.