HELIDON – cult leader Debra Geileskey has been allegedly travelling on a false passport claiming to be a diplomat from a fictitious country called Caledonia Australis.
The sect leader, who attracted followers by claiming to receive messages from the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, allegedly had postage stamps issued from the fictitious country and used them to successfully send mail to the US.
Academic Mike Garde, who has been studying Geileskey’s Magnificat Meal Movement for a PhD, claims Geileskey has also been caught running a gold investment scam. As well she had allegedly presented promissory notes amounting to more than $530 million to a New Jersey bank to establish Caledonia Australis, but the notes were determined to be not negotiable.
Mr Garde said his research showed Geileskey was forced by a court to pay a wealthy former follower $680,000 loaned to her for a property purchase after the cult leader initially refused to repay it.
Claire Mansour, of Beverley Hills in the US, filed a law suit against Geileskey in 2004 to recover the money.
The Helidon woman came to public attention in the 1990s when she moved to Toowoomba and attracted followers to her movement by claiming to receive messages from the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ. Hundreds of Catholics from around Queensland moved to her Helidon headquarters in a former convent.
At the height of her popularity, 400 people gathered for monthly services.
Many followers abandoned the cult after her husband Gordon Geileskey labelled her a fake.
In her home shire of Gatton, authorities have cracked down on the MMM, selling off five properties belonging to cult members because of rates arrears of at least three years.
Council finance and administration director Derek Sellers said the land owners had claimed to have copyrighted their names and, in response to rates notices, had demanded large sums of money for breach of copyright.
Neighbours of Geileskey, Hank and Judy Deucker, said they hoped Australian authorities would now investigate the cult leader’s business affairs.
But they were sceptical the latest revelations would persuade followers to leave because they appeared to have been brainwashed.