Massage parlour stirs probe

Narrogin Observer
Bon Levi has been labelled a fraudster and one of Australia’s most notorious conmen.
Camera IconBon Levi has been labelled a fraudster and one of Australia’s most notorious conmen. Credit: WA News

Authorities are investigating whether convicted fraudster Bon Levi is breaking any laws at a new massage business in Narrogin.

Levi, who has faced prison time and was labelled one of Australia’s most “notorious conmen” by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, has advertised for a business partner and masseuses at the Egerton Street premise.

The Observer can reveal the Consumer Protection commissioner is now reviewing the situation.

The signage has sparked concern in Narrogin prompting the Shire to investigate what activity was taking place.

An ad posted in the Egerton Street shop window makes offers to investors and “girls” to work in the parlour.

“Opening 15 shops in WA rapidly, you can be a partner in each,” the sign said.

“I will train you to be a winner and you may expects (sic) up to $7500 a week paid to you in ‘cash’ once all shops are established.

“You need $40,000 to buy partnership in WA.”

The ad goes on to claim, “I am 74 and my last girlfriend was 22yrs (sic)”.

Another ad reads: “Girls, 18 to 35 part-time, days and nights. Earn up to $1000 a week.”

Narrogin chief executive Dale Stewart said the Shire was aware of the community concern.

“Staff are working with both the proprietor and landlord to ascertain the nature of the business proposed to ensure that appropriate applications for approval are sought prior to commencement of trading,” he said.

“Depending on the nature of the trading proposal, the Shire officers may refer the proposal to council for advertising and determination of whether the particular activities are permissible in the location proposed.”

In 2008, Levi was sent to prison for 10 months, six months suspended, for five counts of contempt of court. At the time, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel labelled Levi a “fraudster” and one of Australia’s most “notorious conmen”.

Levi, also known as Ron Frederick, has a long list of convictions, dating as far back as the late 90s in the US where he was sent toprison for a scam which involved selling franchises for two businesses.

In 2011, the Supreme Court of WA ordered Levi and associate Colin Burton to be permanently restrained from carrying on any unregistered business in WA and placing misleading recruitment advertisements.

Levi was fined more than $12,000 in the same year for misleading advertisements of massage parlours.

A newspaper report in 2011said the FBI estimated Mr Levi had conned more than $2 million from American investors in the late1990s.

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