Hedges Heist

Reporter: Damien Hansen

It's arguably the Australia's most valuable strip of real estate, Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast's millionaire's row. The streets of Hedges and Albatross Avenues are some of Australia's most expensive properties. And it's the domain almost exclusively of one real estate agency. Tonight revelations of what two of those agents got up to make a sale allegations of price fixing, market manipulation, intimidation and even death threats. Damien Hansen investigates.

Rich, relentless and ruthless.He's possibly the most feared real estate agent in the country and this is his patch, one of the most expensive streets in the southern hemisphere.Real estate deals on the Gold Coast are cut throat."You'd swear you'd be listening to a scene out of the godfather." Rod Lambert is a Gold Coast developer. The Godfather he's referring to is the principal of Ray White Real Estate Broadbeach and former bouncer Gary Gannon. "You're shocked.. you owe me f**king, I paid your bond, I'm just letting the rent run out and f**k Gaz."The quote above is Gary Gannon using his powers of persuasion."Shut the f**k up and listen mate I'm going to teach you a f**king lesson in life mate."

Jayde Gretch is a former Ray White sales assistant and is the one Gary Gannon is persuading.Jayde claims he was owed thousands in commissions but Gannon didn't care he wanted just over $6000 in expenses Jayde had spent while working for his agency."I was feared for my life… I made a cheque to Mr Gannon for the amount that he had prepared and presented the invoice to me for" says Jayde.

"Damien to this day I have not experienced a confrontation of the type that ensued it was in my wildest dreams I could not predict his response" says Adrian. Adrian Slinger experienced Gannon's unique form of negotiation when he signed up Ray White Broadbeach's chief agent Michael Kollosche."I was bitterly disappointed with the result" said Adrian. So Adrian looked to take legal action, refusing to sign over the commission. He says Gannon and Kollosche then paid him a visit.

Adrian's made complaints to police as well as to the Office of Fair Trading but Gannon and Kollosche's unorthodox methods don't stop there. "I would describe it as potentially one of the biggest fraud, property fraud scandals in Australian history" says Rob Lambert. Rob Lambert's Albertross Avenue property is at the centre of major fraud squad investigation.

"I trusted Michael Kollosche, we went to the same school, he presented valuations to me and I found out it was all a very very complex and purposefully constructed fraud." The scheme is complicated and involves what's called a put and call option. A legal way of buying a house then reselling it before settlement. But its alleged Kollosche and others used the scheme to inflate prices with the money for the higher priced second sale never changing hands. But it did mean sales records showed the higher price.

It meant official valuations were inflated and agents could justifiably ask higher prices at the next sale. Rod Lambert says he was that next sale. Tricked into paying perhaps 2 and half million dollars more than he should. "I'm not the sort of person is going to sit back knowing these people have done this to me and my family and destroyed twenty five years of my hard work and my toil and let them continue on" says Rob. Kollosche sold Lambert the home in 2008 for $10.5 million, official paperwork showed a previous purchase price of $10.59 million. A good deal. What he didn't know was just months earlier it'd had really sold 7.85 million.

Consumer crusader Neil Jenman says it's called hydrolicing, hoisting prices artificially beyond their true value and its hard to tell just how many Hedges homes have been pumped up. "It throws a lot of these sales in to doubt because the prices that they've been quoted as being sold at are probably not the real price that they've been sold at" says Neil. Numerous complaints have been made to Ray White CEO Brian White by Adrian Slinger and Rob Lambert.

Bryan White in response told us;

"We look forward to presenting the evidence and vindicating our actions should Mr Lambert elect to pursue his allegations through the legal channel. We maintain this is a baseless claim."

On allegations against Gary Gannon, the Ray White went on to say his behaviour was unacceptable.

"Mr Gannon has agreed to undergo anger management counselling and we support him in this action. The franchise agreement between Ray White and Mr Gannon has been placed under review pending the outcomes of such counselling."