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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 15 August 2015
NEWS 10 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 15 AUGUST 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greek Australian fraudster pleads guilty to charges in England Man who posed as a doctor and tricked patients out of £160,000 ($343,000) expected to face gaol Joseph Valadakis, 48, is expected to face a lengthy prison sentence after posing as the British royal family's doctor and extracting £160,000 from his 'patients'. Valadakis defrauded two families of vast sums after convincing them that they were the only 'commoners' he was permitted to treat. His treatments included creams consisting of snail excrement, ‘dinosaur clay’ and whale sperm that were used for massages. Valadakis' patients footed enormous medical bills on the presumption they were being treated by a real doctor. His website listed all of his supposed credentials, including a PhD in quantum physics from Cambridge University and leading a team undertaking clandestine research at University College Hospital in London. The fraudster moved to the United Kingdom from Australia in the early 1990s, and told his patients he had treated well-heeled Britons such as Theresa May, Russell Brand, Robbie Williams and Sophia Loren, after setting up the website under the pseudonym of Josef Hoffman. His cons included convincing a father of two, Phillip Randerson, that he had pancreatic cancer. Randerson's wife Emma said Valadakis scared them out of seeking a second opinion. "We trusted that he was going to cure Philip of cancer," she said in court. "He told us we would only be paying for the products that we used. He said he didn't charge for his time because this was a hobby to him. "He said he was allowed to treat 10 per cent of commoners. In return we would pay two per cent of the price of the product that we used and in return we would act as research for the government." During proceedings Valadakis said he never presented himself as a doctor, rather a biophysicist, but a jury convicted him of two charges of fraud by misrepresentation, clearing him of one fraud offence. He has now been remanded and is awaiting sentencing. $115,154 raised by radiothon Greek community reaches deep into pockets for AGWS Within the space of merely two days, the Australian Greek Welfare Society (AGWS) managed to raise more than $115,154 in its annual 3XY Radiothon Appeal for 2015, surpassing the 2014 total of $111,940. Hundreds of generous Victorians visited the 'Radiothon Centre' in person, and many more members of Melbourne's Greek community telephoned the station to pledge their donations to AGWS. The radiothon aimed to raise money in an effort to support the organisation's multifaceted work, which it has been undertaking for more than 40 years. The AGWS relies on the financial support of the community in order to continue to provide several of its valuable services for which it does not receive funding. Most of the social work- The radiothon took place over the weekend with the great support of the Greek community, providing valuable help to the AGWS. ers employed by AGWS - in particular, ones involved in crisis intervention, advocacy and support of aged members, and assisting new Greek migrants - are part of its unfunded commissions. All of the contributors came from within the Greek community, including a particularly noticeable increase in donations from Greek businesses, with the economic crisis showing no signs of dampening their generosity. The radio station and AGWS are sending out their special acknowledgements to many individual contributors, el- derly clubs, community organisations, as well as different brotherhoods and associations who helped realise this year's fundraiser. All those who are interested in making further contributions can ring the AGWS on (03) 9388 9998 to make a pledge. Guilty of murdering Riverland man Two men, who have been found guilty of murdering a Riverland man in his lounge room, will face the Supreme Court for sentenc- ing submissions next month. Darren Bascombe and John Spilios stood trial for the murder of 49-year-old Luciano Caruso at his Monash home in 2013. The jury was told the victim's head injuries were so severe that his skull had split into little pieces. The jury found both men guilty of murder and the case was adjourned for sentencing submissions on September 4. Joseph Valadakis, 48, posed as the royal family’s doctor to trick ‘commoners’ out of £160,000 for quack treatments. Campaigner appeals for parks dog ban Petition raised to enforce dog ban in Mornington Peninsula NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Tireless Victorian nature advocate Steve Karakitsos has started a campaign to ban unleashed dogs from Mornington Peninsula National Park. With fewer than 600 hooded plovers left in the state, the endangered species, which inhabits sandy beaches, has come under increasing attack by dogs running amok. "The Mornington park is the only national park in Australia that didn't enforce the dog ban even though it was declared a national park in 1988," says Mr Karakitsos, "A dog ban throughout the Mornington Peninsula is being fought over 20 years to safeguard the future of the threatened species." "Additional leash-free zones to accommodate the needs of dog walkers is also being sought from local government as part of an effective solution," he adds. According to an investigation by BirdLife Australia commissioned by Parks Victoria, dogs have been identified as the principal cause of the hooded plovers’ diminishing numbers "If anything, this highlights the importance of imposing a complete dog ban within the Mornington Peninsula National Park," stresses Karakitsos. "Given the nature and urgency of the protection of what amounts to less than 600 threatened birds, Environment Minister Lisa Neville's swift response in her role as protector of the environment is required." Apart from the site in Rye intended to be added to the repertoire of leash-free zones in the area, the St Andrews Beach Recreation Centre is also unofficially used by locals. The extinction of hooded plovers will affect other shorebirds and nesting birds of the same habitat.
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