Reenarto, left, and Charles Caston.
Reenarto, left, and Charles Caston.

‘Dodgy brothers’ con elderly victims of $70k

FROM Beenleigh and Ipswich to Nambour and Gympie, two fake tradie brothers conned their mostly elderly victims out of nearly $70,000, Gympie District Court was told yesterday.

In uncontested prosecution submissions, the court was told Reenarto and Charles Jacob Caston betrayed the trust and vulnerability of people they stole from or conned into paying exorbitantly high prices for badly done home maintenance work.

In one case a home owner was charged $14,500 for termite control which consisted of letting off two termite bombs of "the kind that can be bought in a supermarket."

Reenarto Caston pleaded guilty to stealing petrol from a Greenslopes service station on January 13, 2016 and to dishonestly obtaining $61,000 from fraud victims between August 8, 2018, and January 5, 2019.

FAKE TRADIES: Reenato Caston and his brother Charles Jacob Caston on their way from Gympie District Court yesterday.
FAKE TRADIES: Reenato Caston and his brother Charles Jacob Caston on their way from Gympie District Court yesterday.

Charles Caston pleaded guilty to fraud at Beenleigh on December 1, last year and attempted fraud at Basin Pocket, Ipswich on December 14 last year.

Reenarto Caston also pleaded guilty to dishonestly obtaining a benefit at Nambour on January 7.

The court was told that on August 9, at Gympie, Reenarto Caston told a 77-year-old woman he would paint her house and obtained a cheque from her for $6500.

He returned with Charles Caston the next day and successfully asked her for another $10,000.

Another cheque for $12,000 followed, before they returned to do the overpriced termite control job.

The woman declined however to pay $3000 for the removal of a snake which she was told they had found in her back yard.

The Castons also obtained a cheque for $400, which one of the brothers amended by adding another zero.

When the bank rang the woman to tell her she did not have $4000 in her account, she said she had only agreed to pay $400.

That was the beginning of the end for the Caston brothers.

Police found Charles Caston at a camp site and Reenarto at Pomona Showgrounds, in a caravan said to be worth $8500, not counting the $14,500 they found inside.

The court was told that money and assets found by police were more than enough to compensate victims, but the problem was the technical legal issue of how to turn the caravan, now in police custody, into cash, for distribution among complainants.

Judge Long adjourned the case to Maroochydore District Court on Tuesday week, to allow him to research the compensation issue and granted the brothers bail.