Bill Potts appears in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for two men charged with over 60 counts of fraud and identity theft.
Identity thief on run for decade, cops say
Emmaline Stigwood | 26 November, 2011 | Gold Coast Bulletin
A Nerang man on the run for almost 10 years has congratulated police for discovering his true identity after he was caught out ordering a birth certificate in the name of a dead man.
Police this week put out a call for help to identify the man they arrested after an incident at the Births Deaths and Marriages office in Brisbane on Tuesday.
A registry worker, suspicious about the man’s requests for a birth certificate, called police who allege the man ran from the scene, then violently resisted arrest, refusing to give any details, saying “I will not tell.”
But yesterday Peter Anthony Short, 64, appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court where both state and federal police opposed his release on bail, saying he was a ‘crafty’ identity thief who had evaded authorities.
It is alleged Short had been wanted since 2002, when he failed to appear at court in Southport on charges relating to having false passports, weapons and piles of banking documents in false names used to dishonestly get money.
Police prosecutor Fiona Pedersen yesterday said Short was still refusing to give his address, his criminal history dated back to 1978 and it was unknown how many passports or false documents he might have now.
She said at least five different identities had been linked to Short but it was unknown if he had used the aliases for financial gain.
Ms Pedersen said the first clue about his identity came after police contacted the elderly mother of the dead teenager whose birth certificate Short had tried to obtain.
The mother, whose son died in the 1970s, told police a stranger had called her recently asking for her maiden name, claiming he was researching his family history.
Luckily she was suspicious and noted the mobile phone number of the caller, the court was told.
With that mobile number, plus fingerprints taken this week, police unearthed two names – John Brown and Peter Waters.
Extensive investigations then led them to the real identity, which earned the lead investigator a congratulatory handshake from Short.
The court was told Short had lost contact with his ex-wife, who still lives at Nerang, and his adult children but had travelled overseas on false passports.
His solicitor Bill Potts argued for bail, saying the police case at best was that of a ‘low level defrauder’ and Short was now an aged man with health problems.
Magistrate Pam Dowse said she had concerns and allowed Mr Potts an adjournment until Friday for more information.