By Mia Egerton-Warburton
Police have launched raids on two convicted fraudsters at the centre of a homeless housing bill dispute.
Perth City Apartment Hotel owner Eddie Kamil and hotel accountant Anthony Collie were demanding $40,000 from the state government for accommodating around 40 rough sleepers who showed up in the days after Fremantle’s ‘tent city’ was dismantled.
Mr Kamil claimed the 11 rooms booked at his hotel were arranged by Department of Communities staff, however, the department denied making any booking and Mr Kamil was unable to provide the name of the person who made the request.
According to Nine News Perth, police investigating the homeless bill scandal have since executed search warrants on two residential properties – one being Mr Kamil’s home, where he was arrested.
Mr Collie was arrested and taken into custody in the lobby of the hotel by WA Police financial crime squad detectives over an alleged credit card scam.
He has been charged with 51 counts of stealing as a servant and three counts of engaging directly or indirectly in a transaction that involved any money or other property that is the proceeds of an offence.
A WA Police spokeswoman said it will be alleged Mr Collie refunded customer EFTPOS payments into his personal bank account on multiple occasions in 2018 while working at the hotel without the authority of the business.
A convicted fraudster and a conman
A closer look into Mr Kamil and Mr Collie’s pasts revealed the pair had both served jail sentences for fraud, sparking concerns over the legitimacy of their $40,000 hotel bill claim.
Mr Kamil was sentenced to 15 months jail in 2008 and disqualified from holding a real estate licence for 10 years after he used his then-girlfriend’s identity to buy a unit without her knowledge or consent.
When the developer became aware of the scheme and tried to pull out of the sale, Mr Kamil forged a document to lock them into the contract.
During his District Court sentencing, the judge found Mr Kamil had defrauded the state and misused his position as a real estate agent for financial gain.
Mr Kamil was also named in a separate 2019 Supreme Court civil proceeding between another tenant and his strata company over allegations he allowed a blacklisted prostitute to stay at the venue on multiple occasions while she entertained clients and an alleged drug dealer.
The case was dismissed by consent in 2020 and the allegations were never proven.
Mr Kamil rejected them as hearsay and told WAtoday his criminal past was not relevant to the plight of the homeless people in limbo at his hotel.
“I do not believe all that stuff has got any relevance, my past has no relevance ... people change,” he said.
“At the end of the day, if the government don’t pay me, I don’t care, because I know I’ve done a good deed.“
He said he and Mr Collie had learned their lessons and moved on from their pasts.
Mr Collie – who originally told journalists on Tuesday his name was Anthony Coll, before being exposed by Nine News Perth – was convicted in 2015 of defrauding nearly $200,000 from investors through a fake computer service business.
It was the second time he was jailed for fraud-related offences, the first time being in 2006.