'Bikie' con leaves families in fear A WOMAN extorted more than $125,000 from relatives in a scheme involving fictitious bikies and an imaginary detective, a court has heard. Three families with young children lived in fear for 11 months under the perceived threat of a non-existent bikie gang, police alleged. One man risked his life by swimming across a major river to escape bikies who were not there. And a family slept on a bathroom floor out of fear of being shot by snipers, Melbourne Magistrates' Court was told yesterday. The court was told one victim refinanced his home and children were taken out of schools as the families lived on the run in cabins and caravans, all the while paying a fictitious detective to ensure their safety. Debra Lee Bassani, 38, of Langwarrin, has been charged with blackmail and extorting $126,180 after allegedly concocting the scheme. Ms Bassani is also facing charges of obtaining property by deception, possessing proceeds of crime and stalking. It is alleged the extortion scheme ran from March to January. Sen-Det Ben Morris, of Oakleigh CIU, told a bail hearing the extortion scheme began after the grandmother of Ms Bassani's husband died and bequeathed her home to the family. The family was led to believe that a group of bikies were tenants. Sen-Det Morris said the victims were told the bikies were angry and "coming after them" because police warrants had been executed at the bequeathed home. The family were told Ms Bassani's father, Ron, a detective from "an elite squad", would keep them safe as long as regular payments up to $5000 were made for surveillance. Sen-Det Morris said the victims believed the money was going to Ron, but instead it was being pocketed by Ms Bassani. The court heard Ms Bassani's father had never been a policeman. Sen-Det Morris said the victims were instructed to either hand the money to Ms Bassani or leave it under the mats of the cabins and caravans in which they were staying. It was alleged Ms Bassani sent text messages to the family in the name of Ron, telling them they were under threat from the fictitious bikies. "There were three codes via SMS," Sen-Det Morris said. "One was, 'Get out'. Two was, 'Get down and hide'. Three was, 'Go to the nearest police station'." He said the third code was never used. He said Ms Bassani's family believed they were being watched because of the text messages. "(On one occasion) they were told the bikies were around, snipers were out, and they had to sleep on the floor," he said. One relative swam across the Barwon River to escape a non-existent threat, the court was told. "He was under the belief the bikies were coming to get him," Sen-Det Morris said. Ms Bassani's bail hearing was adjourned until next Wednesday , pending a psychiatric evaluation.