Notorious gang kingpin Carl Williams had the criminal lawyer known to police as Informer 3838 figured out long before most.
When the Melbourne crime boss was locked up in jail, a letter he wrote revealed just how much he knew about the true identity of the woman now known as Informer 3838.
‘There is a lot more stuff that I cannot say at the moment, but believe me I am 100 per cent right, as much as I don’t want to think I was right,’ he said in the letter sent in August 2006 and obtained by Daily Mail Australia.
Informer 3838 was a defence lawyer who acted for some of the highest-ranking and most notorious underworld figures in Melbourne.
This week, it was revealed that she passed on sensitive information to Victoria Police about those clients, raising the prospect that dozens may now appeal against their convictions and sentences and walk from prison.
While former Melbourne crime boss Carl Williams (pictured) was locked up in jail, a letter to a friend revealed just how much he knew about the true identity of Informer 3838
William’s prison letter, sent long before his brutal execution, reveals Williams believed a trusted confidante was a double agent who helped police turn his hitman into a police snitch
The information she gave to police helped convict figures like drug kingpin Tony Mokbel and drug dealer Pat Barbaro – and tilted the game in favour of police ending the notorious Melbourne gangland wars.
Williams’ prison letter revealed he believed his trusted confidante was a double agent who helped police turn a loyal servant into a police snitch.
‘I had a lot of time for [Informant 3838] and stuck up for her quite a lot of time with different people,’ he said in the letter.
But Williams, for good reason, feared she was turning crooks loyal to him into snitches.
In the letter sent long before his brutal execution, Williams said he’d been told Informer 3838 had pressured a witness to make statements against him and others.
‘[She] told me on the 24th July that she wasn’t permitted to see [witness] on the 28th July. [Informer 3838] visited [witness] for four hours.’
Williams said in the letter that the lawyer ‘didn’t want to withdraw’ from acting for the key witness in the case despite what appeared a clear conflict with her representation of Williams.
‘She was still going to do his plea, even though she was told by me and others that there is/was a conflict of interest,’ Williams wrote.
After intense pressure from Williams’ barrister the lawyer ‘reluctantly’ pulled out.
Williams aired his feelings of betrayal throughout the letter penned from prison
The hitman Williams feared had turned gave a detailed statement against him and drug lord Tony Mokbel, telling police how the murderous crew met, how they chose and targeted victims for assassination, and also identified corrupt police
‘After she was told by [defence lawyer] if she wants to stay in it, she will have to see the Ethics Board,’ Williams said in the letter.
‘If she is cleared there, we will still put a court injunction to stop her from acting for [witness].’
The hitman Williams accurately feared had turned against him gave a detailed statement against the crime boss plus drug lord Tony Mokbel, telling police how the murderous crew met, how they chose and targeted victims for assassination, and also identified corrupt police.
It was the crucial police break that ended Melbourne’s bloody underworld war which claimed at least 20 lives in the early 2000s.
THE RISE AND FALL OF CARL WILLIAMS
Early 1990s: Carl Williams is a low-level drug dealer working as a ‘gopher’ for Melbourne’s notorious Carlton Crew
October 13, 1999: On Carl Williams’ 29th birthday Jason Moran puts a .22 slug into his guts over a drug dispute
June 15, 2000: Williams murders Mark Moran outside his Aberfeldie home
June 21, 2003: Williams hires a gunman to deal with Jason Moran at a kids’ football clinic in Pascoe Vale
April 2003: Mark Mallia, a wanna-be drug baron from the western suburbs, was tortured, murdered and his body burned
October 23, 2003: Williams hires the Moran hit team to murder Michael Marshall in front of his young son in a South Yarra street
March 31, 2004: Two gunmen blast Lewis Moran inside the Brunswick Club
June 2004: Purana taskforce detectives arrest Williams
The hitman – who can now only be referred to publicly as ‘Witness B’ – received a discounted jail sentence, which he served in a secret location.
Williams was murdered in April 2010 by a fellow inmate in a secure unit of Barwon Prison after he agreed to turn rat against fellow criminals in exchange for extraordinary concessions from Victorian authorities.
In chilling CCTV footage captured from Barwon Prison, Williams is seen reading the newspaper with his killer standing behind him with the weapon that would be used to bludgeon him to death.
An official autopsy report showed Williams – who was wearing Calvin Klein underwear – was struck once to the right side of the head from behind while he sat reading the newspaper in the high-security unit’s common area he shared with two other prisoners.
He then fell to the ground where he was struck up to seven times to the left side of his head.
‘He was later dragged, face down by the offender to his cell where he remained for almost 30 minutes before being located by prison guards,’ forensic pathologist Melissa Baker wrote in a report soon after the murder.
The brutal attack saw Williams die almost instantly.
Police had already agreed to pay for his daughter Dhakota’s school fees at Melbourne’s exclusive $20,000 Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School when he was killed.
He had started his meteoric rise to criminal fame in the 1990s, working as a ‘gopher’ for Melbourne’s notorious Carlton Crew.
He rose to be a major player in Melbourne’s underworld and was a central figure in the tit-for-tat killings that plagued the city in the early 2000s.
The lawyer herself claimed she convinced a gangland goon to squeal on Williams even though she was being pressured by the crime boss Williams and drug lord Mokbel to keep the snitch quiet.
The witness went on to give evidence that would lead to convictions over the public executions of Williams’ loathed rival Jason Moran and his friend in 2003.
It would also lead to ‘justice’ for the shooting of Michael Marshall in front of his young son later that year.
The fresh revelations of the lawyer’s involvement came after the lifting of court-imposed gag orders that had until now protected the lawyer.
The question of just how deep her involvement in the underworld went remains unanswered, with the Victorian Government on Monday ordering a Royal Commission into the matter.
Victoria Police commissioner Graham Ashton on Monday said the lawyer’s actions could impact on at least 20 convictions.
Williams was murdered in April 2010 in a secure unit of Barwon Prison after he agreed to turn rat against fellow criminals in exchange for extraordinary concessions from Victorian authorities
Police had already agreed to pay for Williams’ daughter Dhakota’s school fees at Melbourne’s exclusive $20,000 Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School when he was killed
The lawyer began working for police in mid-2003 when she met approximately six times with a Detective Sergeant of the Purana Taskforce, which was investigating Melbourne gangland crime.
The lawyer is understood to have been asked to provide a ‘Top 10’ list of crooks she helped to bring down.
They included the convictions of Rob Karam, John Higgs and Barbaro and dozens of drug smugglers involved in one of the world’s largest ecstasy hauls.
The infamous ‘Tomato Tins’ drug haul saw $440 million worth of ecstasy pills transported from Naples to Melbourne’s dock, organised by the Calabrian mafia.
INFORMER 3838’S TOP CRIMINAL BUSTS
Karam, Higgs, Pasquale Barbaro and 33 co-accused for the largest ever seizure of ecstasy in the world
Horty Mokbel, Milad Mokbel and their co-accused
Witness B – who presented with a mountain of evidence against him lead to him becoming a witness for Police
Faruk Orman for the murder of Victor Pierce
Members of the Carlton Crew
Major drug criminal and former horse racing identity Karam is serving a 35-year sentence for his involvement in the ‘Tomato Tins’ haul.
Tony Mokbel’s brothers — Horty and Milad — were also among the list, as was a gangland informer that can now only be known as Witness B.
Faruk Orman, who acted as the the getaway driver for the murder of Victor Peirce in 2002 was also among the list.
So too were members of the infamous ‘Carlton Crew’, whose members at the time featured heavily in the original Underbelly television series.
None were more infamous than Tony Mokbel, who could now walk free should he successfully appeal the severity of his sentence.
Mokbel was jailed for 30 years in 2012 for a number of charges relating to ‘The Company’ – the drug cartel he ruled for more than two decades and turned into the biggest in Australian history.
He fled from Melbourne while on bail during a trial for cocaine importation charges in March 2006, and was arrested by Greek police in Athens, Greece on 5 June 2007 and jailed for a minimum of 22 years.
Mokbel could be free as early as 2022 if his appeal is successful.
The lawyer also claims she is responsible for more than $60 million in seized properties and assets.
She is also believed to have provided information over the 2003 murder of self-proclaimed vampire gigolo and male prostitute Shane Chartres-Abbott.
Informer 3838 claimed she convinced a gangland goon to squeal on Williams all the while being pressured by the crime boss, and drug lord Tony Mokbel (pictured), to keep the snitch quiet
Chartres-Abbott was shot dead outside his home in Reservoir on June 4, 2003, the same day he was due in court over a charge of rape.
Commissioner Ashton said people needed to understand the context of how the lawyer ended up becoming an informer.
‘Melbourne was in the grip of what now is know widely as the Gangland Wars. Over the preceding 12 months numerous people had been murdered – some in very public locations and high profile criminals were vying for control of drug operations that were inflicting serious harm on the Victorian community,’ he said.
Police fear the lawyer and her family may still be at risk of death should her identity ever be fully revealed.
‘Nothing is more important to Victoria Police than the protection of human life – that is and always will be the absolute number one priority. And so I make no apologies for taking the legal actions that Victoria Police has taken in this matter.’
Commissioner Ashton told media that the decision to allow the lawyer to be an informer from 2005-2009 would not be repeated.
‘It is important to stress that Victoria Police has implemented substantial reforms since 2009 that have comprehensively changed the way that we manage informers,’ he said.
Informer 3838 helped convict figures like Tony Mokbel (pictured with his wig disguise) and Pat Barbaro and tilted the game in the notorious Melbourne gangland wars