Man accused of stealing $230,000 before fleeing state

A MAN accused of stealing $230,000 from two Ballarat victims did so out of “greed” before fleeing to South Australia, a court heard yesterday. 

Hwee Boon Sim, 45, was arrested by Ballarat detectives in Glenelg, South Australia, on Monday before being extradited to Ballarat to face court yesterday over the alleged thefts in which he duped the two victims through a shady business deal.

Opposing Sim’s bail application, Ballarat police Criminal Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Troy Wickham said Sim had a “substantial criminal history” in New South Wales where he served more than two years’ jail for fraud related offences in 2004. 

Detective Senior Constable Wickham told the court Sim, whose wife and children live in Ballarat, was residing here between November 1 and December 31 last year when he allegedly began the deceitful offending. 

The court heard Sim developed a relationship with an “associate” with whom he organised to buy a motel, allegedly asking the associate to deposit $100,000 into his bank account. 

After depositing the money, the associate later deposited another $30,000 into Sim’s account, the court was told. 

A short time later Sim allegedly offered the same business deal to another “associate”, asking for a $100,000 deposit which was again put into his account, the court heard. 

Detective Senior Constable Wickham said Sim never transferred any of the money to the business broker and said the money had been dispersed into different accounts, including one in Singapore. 

The court heard Sim told police during a record of interview that he decided to “do a runner to South Australia” and that most of the money had been spent gambling.

Detective Senior Constable Wickham said both victims had been left “upset”, realising they would not see their money again. 

Magistrate Cynthia Toose refused Sim’s bail application. 

He was remanded to re-appear in Ballarat Magistrates Court on May 22 for a committal mention hearing.