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US Secret Service help in fraud case

ROCKHAMPTON police are going to need help from the United States Secret Service to convict a local woman of allegedly scamming more than $500,000 from victims over the internet.

But it’s going to take at least two months for the city’s forensic unit to obtain the information.

Caribbean-born Shirley Marilyn La Ragy, 42, is accused of operating a large-scale Nigerian fraud network from her North Rockhampton home.

Yesterday her second attempt at bail was refused in Rockhampton Magistrates Court.

Her 21-year-old son is now forced to look after his six-year-old sister until the matters are finalised in the court system, which could take months or years.

Police Prosecutor Constable Darryl Cox said it would take several months for the United States Secret Service to gather the forensic evidence.

It’s alleged La Ragy was part of a “crime syndicate” in which she lied to people in America, asking them for monetary help.

Constable Cox said she established relationships with her victims so she could then defraud them.

“It’s through the relationship she created that she had intimate knowledge of the complainant,” Constable Cox said.

La Ragy is charged with six counts of fraud and one count of possessing tainted property.

No one else has been charged but police are continuing their investigation with her associates.

Magistrate Tom Bradshaw said it was too risky to free La Ragy as the alleged scam involved a number of countries and it was done over the internet, which was hard to police.

Just two days after she was arrested, police say, one of her victims received a threatening email.

The email told the man that La Ragy was not involved and that he would be “punished” for reporting information to the police.

“You want to destroy the world and reprimand the innocent,” the email read.

“You will not go unpunished … I will reveal your secrets.”

Constable Cox said the email was sent under La Ragy’s ID but was not from her.

La Ragy was arrested on Wednesday in her Cooper Street home by State Fraud and Corporate Crime police.

Her computer was seized along with more than a dozen brown paper bags of evidence, including four bundles of cash that totalled $29,350.

Police said she used different names online as part of her scam – Doctor Juliette Williams, Shirley Joseph, Marilyn Joseph and Juliette Kreoger.

From four complainants, police claimed Laragy La Ragy scammed a total of $US428,915 (more than $520,000 Australian).

Defence solicitor Danny Yarrow said La Ragy, who had lived in Rockhampton for about five years, planned to become a nurse.

She is currently in the middle of studies at Rockhampton TAFE.

He said the matter would be strongly contested in court.

La Ragy will appear again on September 23 for a committal mention.

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August 6, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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