Tracey Todd says she and her family could end up with nothing. Photo: Anna Warr
Tracey Todd says she and her family could end up with nothing. Photo: Anna Warr

Mum reveals investment fraud nightmare

EXCLUSIVE

IT has already cost this woman her marriage, now an investment property nightmare that has ensnared scores of people across Australia has left her with no choice but to sell the home in which she raised her children.

Even then she may end up with nothing.

Meanwhile, the man who allegedly masterminded the fraud has also recently separated from his wife and his mansion is on the market, with creditors of his failed empire owed more than $40 million.

Tracey Todd, with her kids Asher and Freya, has been forced to sell the family home.
Tracey Todd, with her kids Asher and Freya, has been forced to sell the family home.

But that is where the similarities between Tracey Todd and Richard Marlborough end.

His company, Members Alliance, cold-called the Todds in early 2014. At the time the couple was struggling to make ends meet. By contrast, Marlborough was about to take delivery of a Rolls Royce worth nearly $700,000. He and his fellow directors are now fighting criminal charges over the Members Alliance scandal. The Rolls has been repossessed.

Richard Marlborough, seen leaving the police watch house in Brisbane, allegedly masterminded the fraud.
Richard Marlborough, seen leaving the police watch house in Brisbane, allegedly masterminded the fraud.

Ms Todd told News Corp Australia no mention of investment property was made in the cold-call. That only happened near the end of six hours of face-to-face presentations that painted a dire picture: they would retire with unpaid debts and be unable to financially help their children.

"They said 'this is actually about your kids' future'," Ms Todd recalled. "They were really trying to scare us."

Tracey Todd's Bowen Queensland investment property in January this year.
Tracey Todd's Bowen Queensland investment property in January this year.

Members Alliance said the answer to their plight was an investment property, which would lower their tax bill and increasing their asset base. The company tried to get them to sign a contract straight away. They resisted.

But after three days of three aggressive follow-up calls each day, they agreed to a house and land package in the Queensland town of Bowen, halfway between Townsville and Mackay.

By mid-2014, the house was supposedly at lockup stage. The bank paid out.

But the house wasn't at lockup at all. It was just a skeleton, and remained so until the start of this year.

Tracey Todd faces a loss of $250,000. Photo: Anna Warr
Tracey Todd faces a loss of $250,000. Photo: Anna Warr

Ms Todd has since got the Bowen dwelling finished with help from the Queensland Building and Construction Commission. It is up for sale. She faces a loss of $250,000.

That is more than she owes ANZ, even though it eventually compensated her for the advance drawdowns.

"We have to sell our home here in Wollongong to cover the loss against Bowen," Ms Todd said. "We are potentially now walking away with nothing from the sale of both places."

Coincidentally, Marlborough's four-bedroom four-bathroom Gold Coast mansion, which boasts a swim-up wet bar and views of one of Australia's best resort golf courses, recently hit the market.

It is insured for $2.5 million, according to court documents seen by News Corp Australia. It has been valued at $1.6 million.

Earlier this year Marlborough, now a bankrupt, was charged with offences including "dishonestly causing a financial detriment to persons investing in properties".

The case is listed for mention in Brisbane Magistrates Court on December 10. He is defending the allegations, as are the other Members Alliance directors.