Profiteering follows Australia’s worst bushfiresFebruary 20th, 2009 - 7:22 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, Feb 20 (DPA) Two weeks after forest fires in Australia claimed 209 lives, razed 1,830 homes and left 7,500 homeless, profiteers were stalking the blackened region north of Melbourne.
“Overwhelmingly, we’ve seen the very best of human behaviour over the last couple of weeks but there are a few sharks out there,” Victoria state Premier John Brumby said Friday. “There are a few vultures who have been trying to get in and snap up cheap property while people are vulnerable.”
Real estate agent Moray Sharp said he had received calls from people asking if there were cheap deals on land because the fires had created forced sellers.
“There are people who are just seeking to make profit from other people’s misery,” he told national broadcaster ABC. “Locally, we just can’t understand how people can think like that.”
A 31-year-old woman was charged after falsely claiming that her father died in the blazes and that she was entitled to a government grant. She had already lied to obtain a grant to pay for a burial.