Creditor Gary Palmer doesn’t believe he will get the $9930 owed to him by a former Grafton web auction site developer.
Creditor Gary Palmer doesn’t believe he will get the $9930 owed to him by a former Grafton web auction site developer.

Investor asks Zane where money is

GARY Palmer will always regret spending his parents’ inheritance buying a share in an online auction site set up by young former Grafton entrepreneur Zane Samuels, because now he has lost the lot.

Mr Palmer, a Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card pensioner, believes he will never see any of the $9930 that remains from the investment he made in the internet auction site Auction Australia started by the Clarence Valley-educated Mr Samuels.

And Mr Palmer doesn’t expect any of the other investors, who spent an estimated $140,000 on Mr Samuels’ company, to see their money either.

Zane Samuels came to prominence in 2006 as an 18-year-old entrepreneur who started an internet auction site that was claimed would rival auction giant, eBay. He featured on Today Tonight and in the Examiner. The auction site, dedicated to traders in Australia, drew interest from thousands.

His mother called him a baby Richard Branson and it was his intention to be a millionaire by the time he was 21.

But on September 12 last year Mr Samuels was declared bankrupt. Then on December 23 his mother Christina, who once ran Ranbuild Sheds in South Grafton, and step-father Keith Samuels, were also declared bankrupt. They had run a general store in Nymboida that went bust and Ranbuild also had financial difficulties while they were at the helm. Christina Samuels (or Stewart as she was sometimes known) also worked for a time as an advertising consultant to The Daily Examiner.

Creditors across the world are believed to be chasing money from Zane Samuels.

Mr Palmer, from south of Eden on the NSW coast, spent $10,000 he inherited from his parents buying an ‘e class’ share in Auction Australia, but believes most of that money is now lost.

He had been encouraged to use the Auction Australia site after watching the Today Tonight episode and was encouraged to transfer the 300 Harley-Davidson motorcycle items he had on eBay to the new site.

“Everything seemed to be going along fine, and after about four months I got an email asking if I would like to invest,” he said.

“They got 10 people to buy one each of the $10,000 ‘e class’ shares and two to buy two ‘e class’ shares, which would have raised about $140,000.”

But before long the business went bad, with Mr Samuels claiming there were technical failings with the website that he was trying to remedy.

Auction Australia has not traded since November 2007.

Mr Palmer is now keen for creditors of the Samuels to come forward.

He said that the Samuels were required to notify the Australian Securities and Investment Commission with a list of creditors, but if they failed to provide a complete list, their period of bankruptcy could be extended to five or eight years.

The Daily Examiner was unable to contact the Samuels. They are believed to be residing in the ACT.

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