| Sunshine Coast Daily
MAROOCHYDORE - The value of an alleged family gold heist has skyrocketed from $150,000 up to $1 million “and climbing”, a court has heard.
Peter Milton Walker, 70, and his daughter-in-law, Jessica Ann Groff, 40, were arrested on outstanding warrants and extradited from Ballina to the Sunshine Coast in July this year.
It came six years after the pair and Mr Walker’s son, Chris Walker, were alleged to have swindled a Papua New Guinea man out of $150,000 in gold (2419 grams) through an apparent business deal.
Maroochydore Magistrates Court today heard the value of the trio’s alleged crimes had now tipped $1 million.
“And climbing … it’s a lot of gold from Papua New Guinea,” Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist told the court as Peter Walker’s matters were mentioned.
“The more you dig into this, Mr Cooper, the more you’re going to be amazed,” Mr Stjernqvist told Mr Walker’s legal representative Matthew Cooper.
Ms Groff appeared before court from custody via videolink. Prosecutor Melissa Campbell dropped a single fraud charge against her, but filed six new stealing charges.
Mr Stjernqvist said the stealing charges would ultimately proceed to the District Court given the value was greater than $30,000, and they would be contested.
He said the alleged stealing related to all three co-offenders. None have entered pleas to their charges.
Chris Walker was arrested on 18 November last year in Queensland and is currently on bail.
His and his co-accused’s matters were adjourned for mention on 4 October.
The court heard the co-defendants’ charges arise from the same circumstances.