MAFS star in court on fraud charges
FORMER Gold Coast police detective and accused fraudster Michael Featherstone has been refused government funding to fight charges linked to an alleged boiler room scam because he is "living above his means", a court has heard.
Featherstone and his son Zach were in 2016 charged with fraud after a 20-month probe by Queensland's corruption watchdog into an alleged cold calling syndicate operating on the Glitter strip.
They were among 12 people charged with fraud offences in relation to the alleged $15 million to $20 million boiler-room operation.
MAFS star Daniel Webb is also facing two fraud charges of more than $30,000, police say was gained from the syndicate.
Webb previously starred on Channel 9's hit reality TV show Married At First Sight.
The 35-year-old car broker also plays rugby league for the Currumbin Eagles.
The scheme allegedly targeted more than 600 victims and police claim investors were asked to pay $500-1000 for a four-day trial of betting and investment software and then made to sign 12-month contracts.
In a hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday, Michael Featherstone, Webb and most other alleged members of the syndicate were charged with fresh fraud and money laundering offences.
The court dismissed all previous charges laid against the parties before substituting the new offences.
During the hearing, defence lawyer for Featherstone, Chris Hannay told the court Michael Featherstone and his son Zach had been refused Legal Aid Queensland funding for their matters.
Mr Hannay said he was appealing the refusal to provide the cash and was waiting for a list of reasons from the taxpayer funded legal service as to why the former detective's defence would not be covered.
"It's getting ridiculous," Mr Hannay said.
"He's (Michael Featherstone) been through some substantial hardships as a result of this matter."
Mr Hannay told the court Legal Aid Queensland had advised Featherstone he would not be granted funding for his defence because he was "living above his means".
"Whatever that means," Mr Hannay added.
Bikie associate Jason Trouchet, 45, also accused of involvement in the boiler room scam.
Police have alleged Trouchet - a key figure in the infamous 2013 Broadbeach bikie brawl - was a silent member of the Mongols and largely responsible for drug distribution on the coast.
Featherstone's wife Zoei Charissa Keong was also charged over the alleged syndicate and both parties previously indicated they would fight the charges.
Ms Keong was found dead on Christmas Day last year.
The matter will return to court on October 1, when arguments around the alleged circumstances offending will take place.