ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

One of our town’s greatest financial minds has fallen victim to a bitcoin scam this week, leading him to question his own assumptions about himself.

Back in 1972, David Gowings purchased a one-acre block in the French Quarter with a heritage four-bedroom Queenslander on it for $45,000. Because he was the son of some individual, he only had to pony up three-quarters of the sale price and had the mortgage done and dusted before Lord Mountbatten was blown to pieces by Irish republicans in 1979.

The 73-year-old explained at length to our reporter that he was also a very early investor in CSL and BHP. His financial advisor also put him on to the Macquarie Group when it was just a subsidiary of Hill Samuel.

Because he was born in 1950, Mr. Gowings is very wealthy. He had the opportunity, family backing, and courage to make a lot of money – and he did.

Which is why, he tells The Advocate, that getting scammed out of $10,000 has absolutely boiled his piss.

“It’s not rare for me to receive cold calls from places like Bell Potter, the McDonald’s of private wealth management in this country, investment opportunities for sophisticated investors like me,” he said.

“Which is why I didn’t immediately hang up on the polite and professional Punjabi man who called last month. I know he’s Punjabi because I asked him. My father spent some time in India under the Raj so I know my korma from my Khalistans [forlorn chuckled]. At least I thought I did.”

Mr. Gowings detailed a rather crude scam in which the victim is instructed to simply purchase Bitcoin from reputable Australian brokers and send it on to the scammer.

“It was remarkably easy to purchase the Bitcoin. I just entered my credit card details and copy-pasted the wallet to send it to. When I asked if he received it, I got no reply,” he said.

“I phoned my son who just laughed. He said, ‘How much did they sting you for, you silly old bastard?’ and that’s when I knew I’d been had. My son then stopped his chuckling and said he was sorry. He said, ‘Not so clever now are you, Warren Buffett!’ and I had my own chuckle.”

More to come.


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