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Conmen Suspected Over Miami Murder

Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday February 24, 1998

By GREG BEARUP Chief Police Reporter

A Sydney man, Mr Anthony "Dale" Pike, murdered in Miami a week ago, may have been killed by people attempting to wrest control of his father's exclusive Spanish island resort, Miami detectives said yesterday.

Mr Pike's naked body was found last Monday by a sailboarder in a secluded forest at Virginia Key beach, just hours after he had arrived to talk to business people about a hotel deal involving his father's exclusive resort, Pikes Hotel, on the Spanish island of Ibiza.

Yesterday Miami detectives charged one of the men Mr Pike had flown in to interview, film producer Enrico Forti, with one count of grand theft and another of fraud.

"Mr Pike snr was being scammed," Detective Catherine Carter said.

"Anthony [Dale] had come to Miami to deal with these people, to try to get back some of the money that was taken from his father."

Detectives said that they were still searching for another man in connection to the murder but believe he may have fled the country.

Maria Mauralis, a reporter with the Miami Herald, said yesterday that Forti lived in an exclusive area of Miami, Williams Island, near Oprah Winfrey's house.

She said that he had come to notice recently through a deal to make a movie about the life of Andrew Cunanan, the man who murdered the clothes manufacturer Gianni Versace.

Forti had purchased the rights to film on the houseboat where Cunanan committed suicide, although the boat has since been destroyed.

It is believed that Forti and another man had tried to swindle Mr Pike's father, Mr Tony Pike snr, out of his exclusive hotel, Pikes Hotel, a favoured haunt of rich actors and musicians.

Part of the scam is thought to have involved the exchange of contracts with Mr Pike snr which were passed off as draft contracts.

Mr Pike jnr's brother, Bradley, who lives in Sydney, said his father would fly back into Australia today with the body and that the family hoped to cremate him on Friday.

He said that he was pleased with the progress of the police investigation in Miami.

Mr Pike's girlfriend, Ms Vaike Neene, who lives at Collaroy, said he had been extremely anxious about the trip to Miami.

Det Carter said Mr Pike arrived last Sunday night to try to settle things with Forti.

"He was supposed to be picked up by Mr Forti with the understanding they were all going to sit down and talk about the money that had been taken from his father and try to get some of the money back," Det Carter said. "Mr Forti picked him up at the airport and now he's dead."

Forti was remanded in custody without bail.

© 1998 Sydney Morning Herald

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