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Camper trailer customers’ money vanishes like Mirage

GONE UNDER: A court has heard it is unlikely Mirage RV customers will get their money back.
GONE UNDER: A court has heard it is unlikely Mirage RV customers will get their money back.

CUSTOMERS who paid a total of more than $300,000 for camper trailers are unlikely to ever get their money back from the Coast man who took their money, a court has heard.

Peter John Nulty, the former company director of business Mirage RV, pleaded guilty in Maroochydore Magistrates Court to taking payment from eight customers without delivering the trailers they ordered between September 2013 and July 2014.

The 48-year-old's business suffered severe fire damage in February 2014 in which a number a trailers were destroyed.

Solicitor Robert Vise, who represented the Office of Fair Trading, said the eight customers paid a total of $317,939.61 for camper trailers they did not receive.

They included one customer who paid $49,425 after the fire.

Mr Vise said Mirage RV had not been able to supply the other seven customers' trailers in the five months leading up to the fire and Nulty should have been very careful accepting money after the fire.

Peter John Nulty.
Peter John Nulty. john mccutcheon

He said customers were given revised delivery dates but none received their trailers.

Two customers were given dates when refunds would be paid but the the actual payments did not eventuate.

Defence solicitor Michael Beirne said his client had tried to keep the business trading when he chose to use money to pay suppliers rather than refund customers.

Mr Beirne said Mirage RV had supplied six camper trailers to other customers and a number of almost complete camper trailers were destroyed in the fire.

Mr Beirne said some insurance money from the fire had been paid by way of cash and equipment to the business but no money was received for loss of wages.

He said Nulty had gained legal advice and taken indications from earlier payments that more insurance money was on its way.

"He thought the company could trade out of these difficulties and supply the goods," Mr Beirne said.

The court heard Nulty had lost his business, his marriage had broken down and he had lost $250,000 of his own money.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist said there was little hope the victims would recover their money.

"It is very difficult to see how that is ever going to be repaid," Mr Stjernqvist said.

He fined Nulty $40,000 for the offences and ordered he pay $317,939.61 compensation to the victims.

Convictions were not recorded.

Nulty's two companies, Mirage RV Pty Ltd and PJ and PT Nulty, were also fined $100,000 each.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the fine sent a strong message to other traders.

"Taking money from customers to prop up ailing finances invariably leads to a deeper financial hole and leaves the business and its owners open to prosecution," Mr Bauer said.

"As a consumer, you have a right to expect that goods and services you pay for will be delivered as promised."

Topics:  camper trailer court sunshine coast


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