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Australia Queensland scam to support 'next Taylor Swift' nets close to $1m

11:35  05 december  2019
11:35  05 december  2019 Source:   9news.com.au

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A man and a woman from Queensland 's Sunshine Coast are facing multiple counts of fraud after allegedly telling their victims they were investing in the next Taylor Swift . The Grand Ole Opry is one of Nashville's most famous music venues since it was founded in 1925. Credit:Shutterstock.

Investors hand over almost $ 1 MILLION to support the ' next Taylor Swift ' - but the unknown Australian artist had no idea of the 'pyramid scheme' scam . Investors lost $ 1 million after financing the career of a young Australian singer. They were convinced by two alleged scammers from Queensland to pay

Investors have lost almost $1 million after two accused scammers allegedly convinced them to finance the career of a young Australian singer they dubbed the "next Taylor Swift".

Tanya Pluckhahn and Aaron Parsons from the Sunshine Coast are facing multiple counts of fraud after allegedly hitting up their friends and telling them they were investing in singer Alys Ffion who was trying to make it big in Nashville.

The pair allegedly claimed to be raising money to help the local singer, who travelled to Nashville a few years ago to break into the US country music market.

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a person holding a guitar: The unidentified songstress knew nothing about it and had no idea she'd become the face of a major scam.© 9News The unidentified songstress knew nothing about it and had no idea she'd become the face of a major scam.

But Ffion knew nothing about it and had no idea she'd become the face of a major scam.

"The ploy was to prop her career up and she was going to have a possible extended career, and these investors would receive substantial gains back," detective acting inspector Daren Edwards said.

Instead, police say the pair used investors' money to fund their own lives, using it to buy cars and pay bills associated with their hospitality business at Alexander Headland.

Insp Edwards said five victims of the Ponzi-style scheme had come forward, with a sixth withdrawing his complaint after he received about $80,000 back from the pair.

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Backers, who collectively handed over about $900,000, were allegedly told they'd get regular payments based on the singer's musical success.

"When one investor paid money in ... they would then on-pay some money ... for example if an investor paid in $100,000 they might see $20,000 back," Insp Edwards said.

"It gave them the effect they thought they were getting returns ... it (also) helped get other investors and staved off the people making further inquires trying to ascertain what happened to their money."

a woman posing for a picture: The woman accused of carrying out the ponzi-style scam.© 9News The woman accused of carrying out the ponzi-style scam.

Insp Edwards said Ffion, who is now back on the Sunshine Coast, was as much a victim of the scam as the duped investors.

"She's a nice young lady ... her career was starting to develop on social media. It's a shame and no doubt she feels very bad about what has occurred."

Officers say it's likely there are more victims of the 2016 scam and have urged people to come forward.

Ms Pluckhahn, 41, and Mr Parsons, 44, both from Mount Coolum, were arrested yesterday and are each facing five counts of fraud.

They will appear in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on January 6 next year.

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