News and Analysis
The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator. Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.
15 stories this week:
What are the relevant statutes and which government authorities are responsible for investigating and enforcing them? – 19 November 2021
An Informative article outlining the Australian legislative framework and the Corporations Act 2001. It also outlines the role of ASIC and other regulatory bodies and what powers they have. The article also details what conduct is most commonly the subject of securities enforcement and the legal issues that commonly arise, in enforcement investigations.
Former WA public servant Paul Whyte sentenced to 12 years in jail for stealing taxpayer millions – 19 November 2021
Paul Whyte has been sentenced to 12 years in jail for masterminding the theft of $27 million of taxpayers’ money and using it to fund a lavish lifestyle. He committed his crimes over 11 years, while he was one of WA’s top public servants, in the state government department that looks after public housing. The funds were taken through an elaborate fake invoice scheme, which involved three shell companies.
Court orders Melissa Caddick’s financial services company Maliver to be wound up – 22 November 2021
Dozens of investors, who were swindled out of millions of dollars by missing Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick, are a step closer to getting some of their money back. ASIC has been pursuing court action to recoup more than $23 million left owing to 72 clients.
ASIC boss urges ‘great caution’ to cryptocurrency investors – 22 November 2021
Corporate regulator Joe Longo, has urged consumers to show a high degree of caution towards the cryptocurrency craze, urging people to be careful about putting their savings into an unregulated asset class that many do not fully understand.
Watch out for fake online deals and avoid scammers this sales season – 22 November 2021
Australians have already lost about $12.9 million to online shopping including classifieds scams so far this year, and the ACCC is urging consumers to watch out for dodgy deals as pre-holiday sales approach.
Woman who stole $940k from employer left gambling app on auto while she slept – 23 November 2021
Rachel Naomi Perri pleaded guilty to stealing $940,000 from her employer, whilst working as an account manager at the Tasmanian Veterinary Hospital. The money was used to fund her addiction to an online gambling game that does not pay out real money.
How migration fraud works and ways to avoid visa scams in Australia – 23 November 2021
Pre-pandemic data showed the Department of Home Affairs received an average of around 500 visa scam reports per year, from people who use unregistered ‘migration agents.
Former Palm Island mayor Alf Lacey’s fraud charge dropped, magistrate claims lack of evidence – 23 November 2021
Alf Lacey has been charged with fraud amounting to at least $100,000 and failure to correct a register of interests, while serving as mayor of Palm Island in 2020.
Before Richard Ludwig’s company went bust, he and his pre-insolvency advisers smuggled more than $740,000 out of the business – 24 November 2021
With the advice of two pre-insolvency advisers, Richard Ludwig arranged to illegally smuggle more than $740,000 out of his company Cap Coast Telecoms before it went into liquidation. ASIC has admitted the pre-insolvency industry is largely unregulated.
Scamwatch: Dodgy investment scams are doing the rounds – 24 November 2021
Scam awareness week is this week. Article outlines the most common and recent scams targeting Australians. Fake bond offers and Job offers, threats, Osko payments and investment scams are the most common.
What will the ATO do if you are scammed out of your crypto? – 24 November 2021
Article discuss how the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) view crypto losses and the chances of getting your money back if your scammed. With more and more Australians holding crypto, this area is only going to become more mainstream over the next few years.
Former MP Barry Urban sentenced to three years in jail over fake medals, lies about qualifications – 25 November 2021
Disgraced former West Australian MP Barry Urban, has been sentenced to three years jail, for an elaborate series of lies he told over two decades about his university qualifications and military service.
Adelaide Brighton Cement employee Glenda Burgess deceived previous employer, court told – 25 November 2021
Glenda Burgess (a Senior Accounts Manager) at Adelaide Brighton Cement has been found guilty of deceiving her employer out of $12 million. She made false entries allowing a customer to only pay $20 million for $32 million worth of cement and hid ”Concrete Supply’s” debts, increased their credit limits without authorisation and had created several large manual entries benefiting ”Concrete Supply’. Concrete Supply was not complicit in the crimes.
Fake volunteer firefighter Sharon Tully Hill jailed over Black Summer relief payments fraud – 25 November 2021
Sharon Tully Hill who posed as a volunteer firefighter, despite never being one, fraudulently claimed disaster relief funds from the Black Summer bushfires has been sent to jail. She received $190,000 through bushfire relief payments but has never volunteered for the RFS.
Leaked emails reveal how Macquarie Bank became entangled in an $80 billion scandal – 26 November 2021
Australia’s largest investment bank Macquarie is among 100 banks and financial institutions under investigation over a scheme estimated to have cost governments $80 billion. Leaked documents reveal that, inside Macquarie, their practices were thought to be a legal loophole which was tolerated – although not endorsed – by the German tax authorities.
11 stories this week:
Griffith University: Most Deserving Whistleblowers Get No Protection New Research Shows – 12 November 2021
New research from Griffith University’s Whistling While They Work” project has revealed more than half of all public interest whistleblowers who experience serious repercussions for reporting wrongdoing receive no remedies for detriment they suffer, despite Australia’s long history of whistleblower protection laws and public sector policies.
ACCC probes flower industry over claims customers are being scammed into buying from ‘local’ florists – 13 November 2021
A whistleblower at one of Australia’s largest online flower retailers said she was trained to deliberately mislead customers. The conglomerate ”Roses Only” appears to give the false impression the businesses were local shops. The ACCC is investigating ‘deceptive’ practices in the flower delivery industry.
Forum executive to face court for first time – 13 November 2021
A hearing in March will hear from Forum Group director Vincenzo Tesoriero (Bill Papas’s business partner) about his role in allegedly scamming Westpac and other banks of about $400 million. Tesoriero is asking the court to end a freezing order on his assets, which include a vast portfolio of property and a luxury yacht.
Retirees lose $2.8 million to alleged fake bond scam – 13 November 2021
A US man living in Sydney’s east faced court on Saturday after being allegedly scamming retirees of more than $2.8 million via fake bonds, mainly through self-managed super funds and then channelling the money to his personal bitcoin account.
Government waits until after election to change whistleblower laws, support for protection high – 15 November 2021
New research shows that a majority of Australians want more legal protections for public servants to act as whistleblowers. Assistant attorney general Amanda Stoker told the National Whistleblowing Symposium last week, the federal government was preparing to amend the Public Interest Disclosure Act to better protect those in the public sector.
AFP raids Sydney EverBlu offices as part of ASIC investigation – 16 November 2021
The Sydney offices of controversial stockbroker EverBlu Capital were one of several sites in Sydney and the Gold Coast raided by federal police as part of a sweeping corporate investigation. EverBlu has come under scrutiny in the past, for its disclosure of paying influencers shares and stock options to promote listed companies in which it had advisory roles. Now its alleged they are entangled with cannabis stock ”Creso Pharma”.
Melbourne man who allegedly stole $1.4m from victims in international diamond scam charged – 17 November 2021
A 42-year-old man from Melbourne’s south-east claimed to own a diamond mine in Sierra Leone, West Africa, when he allegedly approached his victims and offered them the opportunity to invest in the mine. Once he received initial payment, the man allegedly asked for equipment and various gifts for his employees, before on-selling the items in an offshore shop.
Whistleblower ordered to end media crusade – 17 November 2021
Troy Stolz – a former compliance auditor with ClubsNSW – last year spoke out about a widespread and “alarming” failure to comply with money laundering laws in pubs and clubs across the state. Now he is being barred from continuing a media campaign against his former employer, while he is sued for leaking documents.
ASIC sues MLC for multiple insurance failures – 19 November 2021
ASIC claimed that MLC’s failure to implement appropriate systems and controls resulted in unpaid insurance benefits, premiums being charged without notice and underpaid refunds. It was alleged MLC’s conduct led to over $17.5 million in financial harm to over 260,000 customers
Former Labor MP Craig Thomson granted bail after being charged over alleged visa migration fraud – 19 November 2021
Former federal Labor MP Craig Thomson will “vigorously fight” charges over his involvement in an alleged multi-million-dollar visa migration fraud. Police allege Mr Thomson was the “prime facilitator” or common thread of the scheme between migration agencies and visa applicants.
Millennials forking out millions to online shopping scams – 19 November 2021
The rise in online shopping scams has been fuelled by the rapid growth of online shopping, with brick-and-mortar retailers closed throughout the pandemic due to lockdowns. A report published by Reviews.org found New South Wales residents had been hit the hardest by online shopping scams, recording a loss of $1.55 million to date through 2021. Victoria closely trailed behind at $1.51 million, while Queenslanders reported a loss of more than $888,000 to date.
11 stories this week:
Adelaide father-of-three Joshua Luke Matheson handed five-year jail term over $500k tax fraud – 5 November 2021
Joshua Luke Matheson received more than $29,000 after filing a fraudulent tax return. He made up false employers and income to defraud the Australian Tax Office out of half a million dollars and has been jailed for five years.
Invasive surveillance: Are regulators ready to deal with Facebook’s ‘metaverse’ – 6 November 2021
As Australian lawmakers struggle to regulate social media’s misinformation, conspiracies and extremist content, they are already facing the push to make an even more invasive technology, part of everyday life. A new generation of the internet will enable the real physical world and virtual worlds to seamlessly converge. This means mass data harvesting and highly targeted advertising.
(Access to digital verision of SMH required to read article)
Labor proposes anti-scam centre, calls for crackdown on social media companies profiting from fraud – 7 November 2021
In response to record fraud, the federal opposition is proposing a national anti-scam centre to combat what it calls a “scamdemic” of online and phone fraudsters. Scammers stole $851 million from Australians last year, a record amount according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
NSW Governor Margaret Beazley ignores reporters’ questions over bullying claims – 8 November 2021
NSW Governor Margaret Beazley has ignored reporters’ questions about investigations of bullying allegations against her by an anonymous whistleblower. The person claimed Ms Beazley’s “unjustified criticism or complaints” and “constantly changing goal posts” have been leaving employees “in tears at their desks”.
Fake Gold Coast lawyer banned from running law firm, as police seek missing money – 8 November 2021
A fake Gold Coast lawyer, who allegedly lost more than $430,000 in clients’ money, has been banned from managing a legal practice and is being investigated by police.
Queensland Police warn of ‘sophisticated’ email scam after grazier loses thousands of dollars – 9 November 2021
A Queensland grazier was paying what appeared to be a legitimate business invoice, when he fell victim to a ‘very sophisticated’ email scam. Business email compromise (BEC) was the number 1 scam in Australia in 2019, with losses amassing $132 million.
Crypto criminals are blackmailing Instagram users into swindling friends – 10 November 2021
The latest crypto scam forces Instagram users to make videos directing their followers to phony get-rich-quick schemes. Scammers use a combination of social engineering, cryptocurrency, and old-fashioned blackmail.
Bank fraudster points finger at boyfriend – 10 November 2021
A bank teller behind bars over a $2.25 million fraud says her then-boyfriend, was the one who raised the potential of accessing the victim’s millions.
Government reveals plan to reform Australia’s whistleblowing laws – 11 November 2021
Assistant Attorney General Amanda Stoker, has outlined a government plan to bring public sector whistleblowing laws in line with the reformed corporate whistleblowing scheme. These changes are due to new research, showing the current scheme is failing to protect those who speak out about wrongdoing.
Remote employee surveillance is dangerous territory – 11 November 2021
Electric monitoring of home workers by companies is rising rapidly and research shows how misuse of this technology can allow employers to invade staff privacy easily, due to lack of government regulation.
Refugees from Sydney’s Tamil community targetted by social media investment scam – 12 November 2021
The ‘Hope’ Business scheme promised rapid returns on investments and commissions for signing up family and friends, before it vanished without a trace. At least 100 members of Sydney’s Tamil community have been caught up the scam.
11 stories this week:
Why Sydney woman stole $3.5m from Commonwealth Bank – 30 October 2021
A former Commonwealth Bank employee who stole $3.5m to pay for a lavish lifestyle and appease an abusive ex has been jailed. Hsin-Yu Tsai, used her position as a customer service officer to move millions of dollars out of the accounts of unsuspecting clients.
Telcos take action as text, phone call scams hit record high – 31 October 2021
Australians have reported a record $77.8 million in losses due to text and phone call scams. This is more than double the amount reported over the same period last year. Telcos will now be forced to identify and block text message scams under new rules.
Scammers behind $SQUID coin disappear with $4.3 million in ‘invested’ cash – 2 November 2021
Cryptocurrency scammers have made off with approximately A$4.38 million, after setting up a fake currency playing off the popularity of Netflix’s hit show, Squid Game. Billed as a “play-to-earn” cryptocurrency, $SQUID allowed people to buy tokens to play in online games and potentially grow their wealth. With zero option to cash out, the scam should have been clear as day.
ASIC sues major Gold Coast timeshare company – 2 November 2021
A timeshare company is being sued over allegations customers paid up to $25,000 to join its investment scheme, only to find a lack of availability when they went to book a getaway.
(Digital access required to read article.)
Perth Racing whistleblower pushed to resign after calling out inappropriate conduct of her boss – 2 November 2021
The Perth Racing employee who blew the whistle on former managing director John Yovich’s alleged serious workplace misconduct, was allegedly pushed to resign less than three months later. The employee was allegedly given an ultimatum; either accept a damages payout and leave on good terms, or proceed with the investigation which could lead to termination. She resigned.
CVS director of organized retail crime explains how professional thieves are stealing $2,000 from stores in just 2 minutes – 2 November 2021
The lack of regulation surrounding online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, means that an estimated $US500 ($AU673) billion in illicit stolen and counterfeit goods are sold on third-party marketplaces, like Amazon each year.
How to prevent a phishing attack online – 3 November 2021
New malware threats such as crypto-ransomware and phishing scams are rising exponentially. These complex scams are designed to trick users into revealing banking details, account passwords, or other personal information, from which the attackers steal money or in the most severe cases, the user’s identity. Article outlines eight tips to cyber safety.
Facebook to shut down controversial facial recognition – 3 November 2021
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to ditch face recognition technology used on the Facebook app. It follows a class action lawsuit in the US, in which a federal judge approved a settlement of $650 million against Facebook, for allegedly using face-tagging and other biometric data without users’ permission.
Geraldton financial adviser Thomas ‘Graham’ Greenaway jailed for $2.9m Aboriginal trust theft – 4 November 2021
Geraldton financial adviser Thomas ‘Graham’ Greenaway will spend at least four years in jail for stealing $2.9 million from an Aboriginal charitable trust, while he was the trustee. A District Court judge has also ordered the 70-year-old to repay $2.1 million to the Yugunga-Nya People’s Trust.
Qoin rejects potential class action allegations of ‘pyramid selling’, deception, citing ‘witch hunt’ – 4 November 2021
Salerno Law states it will review whether BPS financial Ltd and Gold Coast digital currency “Qoin” have been “engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct … making false or misleading representations … conducting pyramid selling of financial products” and “fraud”, and whether it has failed to “comply with financial services obligations” and “consumer guarantees”. The BPS director has dismissed the allegations, describing them as part of a “witch hunt”.
Former Papunya shop manager Bruce Ross pleads guilty to theft – 4 November 2021
A former shop manager in a remote Aboriginal community has escaped jail time after admitting to stealing thousands of dollars from the business. He created a fake invoice which he sent to a Commonwealth bureaucrat to try to cover his tracks and has pleaded guilty.
14 stories this week:
Former Renewal SA chief executive John Hanlon calls for permanent stay on corruption charges – 22 October 2021
A former senior public servant accused of making fraudulent travel claims, will argue the prosecution case against him amounts to an abuse of process.
New whistleblower accuses Facebook of wrongdoing: report – 22 October 2021
An unnamed whistleblower has filed a complaint with US financial regulator Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging Facebook managers routinely undermined efforts to combat misinformation and other problematic content, for fear of angering then US president Donald Trump or for turning off the users who are key to profits. The information related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Dodgy association may sink Australian Swimming League – 24 October 2021
The Australian Swimming League – an ambitious plan backed by Swimming Australia to stage a series of made-for-TV race meets involving Olympic athletes – is uncertain to go ahead after the project’s founder (David Brandi) and principal investor was convicted of tax fraud and banned from serving as a company director.
Australia plans to force parental consent for minors on social media – 25 October 2021
Australia plans to make social media companies obtain parental consent for users under the age of 16 and threaten fines of up to A$10 million for internet platforms which fail to comply, under draft legislation published recently. The new proposed rules would put Australia among the most stringent countries in terms of age controls for social media, and build on efforts to rein in the power of Big Tech following mandatory licencing payments for media outlets and plans to toughen laws against online misinformation and defamation.
Melbourne’s – Top Private Investigators The Herald Sun has researched some famous criminal cases over the years and interviewed the high-profile investigators involved – 26 October 2021
Great article explaining what a Private Investigator really does in this common age and what motivates criminals. Our very own AIPI President Andrew Patterson and AIPI members Forde Nicolaides, Timothy Carrodus, Dean Newlan and Wayne Gladman were interviewed.
(Access to digital version of herald sun required to read this article.)
Cape York man on trial for fraud after allegedly striking multi-million-dollar mining deal on native title land – 26 October 2021
Larry Joe Woosup, a Cape York man who allegedly struck a multi-million-dollar deal with a mining company behind the backs of other traditional owners and siphoned off cash for his own use has appeared in court. Mr Woosup is accused of striking a deal with a mining company, without the consent of other traditional owners.
Parliament should intervene to protect whistleblower’s communications to MP, committee says – 26 October 2021
The powerful Privileges Committee has found some of the documents to be given to ClubsNSW in the case against whistleblower Troy Stolz should be protected by parliamentary privilege.
‘Anyone with a laptop’: How cyber criminals are getting smarter at stealing money – 26 October 2021
Hacking has become big business. The latest data from the Australian Cyber Security Centre shows self-reported losses from cybercrime totalled more than $33 billion in the last financial year. Article details how cyber criminals change you mobile number and then research your personal information, to then gain access to bank accounts.
Crown lucky to escape the Victorian royal commission with its licence intact – 27 October 2021
According to the findings of a royal commission, Crown dodged paying hundreds of millions of dollars in state taxes, consorted with criminal gangs and facilitated money laundering on an epic scale. It also failed to prevent staff from being jailed in China and shredded responsible gambling laws. Yet despite class actions and attention from financial crime agency AUSTRAC Crown, gets to keep its prized Victorian casino licence.
Former lawyer Tracey-Anne Smith who ripped off elderly clients walks from court after defrauding WWII refugee – 28 October 2021
Anne Smith, a Gold Coast lawyer has ripped off the estates of eight elderly clients and was found guilty of professional misconduct for deceiving and defrauding them.
Maria Carmela Pau, accused of issuing fake COVID exemptions, appears in court – 28 October 2021
A Queensland woman who allegedly posed as a doctor and issued hundreds of fake COVID-19 exemption certificates has appeared in court. Police allege she told officers she issued about 600 false documents to give people exemptions from having COVID tests, being vaccinated or needing to wear a mask.
Disgraced Labor MP Barry Urban remanded in custody after lying to WA Parliament – 29 October 2021
Disgraced former WA politician Barry Urban has been remanded in custody while he awaits being sentenced for forging university qualifications and repeatedly lying about his supposed police and military service.
Australia’s CBA pleads guilty for fraud charges – 29 October 2021
ASIC has announced that CBA has pleaded guilty to 30 criminal charges for mis-selling consumer credit insurance between 2011 and 2015. Scrutiny of Australian lenders and financial institutions has ramped up significantly since a Royal Commission inquiry in 2018 found widespread shortcomings in the sector, forcing companies and regulators to take swift action.
ASIC issues warning on Whistleblowing Policies – 29 October 2021
ASIC reviewed a sample of whistleblowing policies and found that the majority were not compliant with the requirements under the Corporations Act. In particular, ASIC is concerned that a number of the policies contained unclear, incomplete or inaccurate information about how potential whistleblowers can make a qualifying disclosure and about whistleblower protections that are available under the Corporations Act.
12 stories this week:
Ex-Boeing test pilot indicted for fraud in 737 Max probe – 15 October 2021
Boeing’s former 737 MAX pilot, Mark Forkner, was indicted for fraud for allegedly misleading regulators about problems tied to the aircraft’s two fatal crashes. The ex-chief technical pilot is the first Boeing employee to be charged over the 737 Max’s failures. Three hundred and forty-six people perished in both accidents.
Court hears about complex web of companies as former Bellamy’s director Jan Cameron faces Hobart court – 19 October 2021
Ms Cameron who is the Former Bellamy’s director and Kathmandu’s founder, is facing charges of failing to disclose information in respect of a substantial holding in a company and allegedly making a false or misleading statement in a document lodged with ASIC in 2017. The prosecution told the court that Ms Cameron engaged in “share-warehousing,” or holding an interest in a company through entities or other arrangements without their name being directly linked to the holding.
Unauthorised electronic transaction complaints rocket – 19 October 2021
Complaints involving unauthorised financial transactions and scams are rising fast, as use of online services during the pandemic increases and fraudsters become more active. Electronic banking grievances made to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) increased by 76 per cent during the year ended June 30, compared with the same period a year earlier.
NSW police charge two Central Coast men over COVID grants fraud and drug supply – 20 October 2021
Cybercrime squad detectives have charged two men over alleged COVID-19-related rorts and drug supply on the New South Wales Central Coast. One of the men, was accused of lodging fake ‘Job Saver’ and business grant applications for himself and on behalf of others, obtaining about $90,000.
Overwhelming support for fining dodgy finance executives – 20 October 2021
New polling shows that nine in ten Australians, want finance executives to pay a penalty when they break the law. The findings, from a quarterly survey by consumer advocacy group Choice, come just one week before the Coalition is expected to introduce its Compensation Scheme of Last Resort (CSLR) and Financial Accountability Regime (FAR) bills into the House of Representatives.
The compensation scheme, a recommendation from the Hayne royal commission, attempts to protect people who cannot seek redress because the financial services firm that did them wrong has collapsed.
Australian charities need to get better at mitigating fraud risks – 20 October 2021
Cybersecurity incidents in the not-for-profit sector are increasingly common and sophisticated, with recent attacks experienced with Anglicare Sydney, UnitingCare Queensland, and Oxfam Australia, to name a few. However, recent research by PwC highlights that in-house cybersecurity skills are not being prioritised, reflecting a dire need for charities to cost-effectively invest in technology that can prevent and protect them against the latest threats.
Crypto Senate inquiry recommends laws to set Australia up as digital innovation hub – 20 October 2021
A Senate inquiry has recommended changes to taxation laws, licensing and regulatory regimes to encourage digital and crypto-asset businesses to set up in Australia. Tax discounts and a new licensing regime are among the committee’s recommendations. If passed into law, the industry believes Australia could become a digital innovation hub.
Sydney Commonwealth Bank clerk admits stealing $2.4 million to buy house, luxury goods – 20 October 2021
While working as a Customer Service Specialist in 2015, CBA clerk Hsin-Yu Tsai, transferred $2.25m from one customers account into a secretly Netbank savings account. She also withdrew $150,000 in cash from the same customer’s account. She paid off a home and bought luxury items with the proceeds of her fraud.
Underpayments bill balloons to record $148 million last year – 20 October 2021
Australia’s wages watchdog (The Fair Work Ombudsman) recouped almost $150 million for workers in the last financial year, a record figure five times greater than the $30 million it recovered three years earlier and an indication employees are being underpaid on a grand scale.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen tells Australian politicians to regulate social media or be ignored – 21 October 2021
A former Facebook data scientist has told Australian politicians that Facebook fears regulation and that Australia should team up with the US in a bid to rein in its power. Frances Haugen quit Facebook earlier this year and told a congressional hearing, that Facebook’s products were harming children and fuelling polarisation.
Court issues warrant for arrest of Forum Group’s Bill Papas – 21 October 2021
The Federal Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of Forum Group CEO Bill Papas, that is expected to eventually trigger his extradition from Greece to Australia, to face fraud allegations. The arrest warrant comes amid Papas’ alleged failure to adhere to court orders, breaching freezing orders and showing no intention to return to Australia to face fraud allegations from multiple banks.
Mark Zuckerberg Will Be Added as a Defendant in Lawsuit Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal – 21 October 2021
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, might be held personally liable for damages in a consumer protection lawsuit filed in Washington. It is alleged that the social media giant had misled consumers about its privacy policies.
12 stories this week:
China billionaire involved in iron ore bribery: Dealings with Australia revealed – 6 October 2021
The Pandora papers have revealed that Du Shuanghua, a Chinese billionaire who confessed to paying bribes for Australian iron ore, continued to trade with major Aussie companies for years even after the scandal became public in 2010.
Bank fraud syndicate facing 200 charges – 7 October 2021
Two former bank employees and two accountants have been charged with more than 200 offences, over a scheme that allegedly netted hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent loans. Police set up a strike force to investigate the syndicate and have now arrested eight people.
ACCC calls for banks to name-check transactions to stop ‘rapidly rising’ scams – 8 October 2021
It has been revealed that Australian banks do not block transactions where the name listed by the sender does not match the account details of the recipient. The ACCC has asked major to update their processes to stop customers from transferring money to fraudsters, after an industry body accused the sector of ‘victim blaming’ to avoid responsibility for scam losses.
Australia urges US to follow its lead in regulating social media giants – 9 October 2021
Facebook has been under scrutiny this week after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked tens of thousands of documents showing it withheld research into the harms of its products.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says the government is not joking over plans to regulate social media – 10 October 2021
Australia has intervened in the global push to regulate tech giants, writing to the US Senate to urge it to follow the nation’s lead to make social media companies deliver safer products.
The fallen Star: Sydney’s cleanskin casino caught in ‘dirty’ company – 10 October 2021
‘Star Entertainment’ has been enabling suspected money laundering, organised crime, large-scale fraud and foreign interference within its Australian casinos for years, even though its board was warned its anti-money-laundering controls were failing. According to multiple casino and law-enforcement agents, between 2014 and 2021, Star cultivated high-roller gamblers who are allegedly associated with criminal or foreign-influence operations
Innovation investment is key to consumer trust – 11 October 2021
The rapid digitisation of business including accelerated development of new practices and rapid on-boarding of new suppliers, has been celebrated as the silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic, but digital identity fraud and cyber attacks will remain.
University investigates claims of research misconduct in studies on ageing – 13 October 2021
The University of NSW has launched a review of allegations of research misconduct in several taxpayer-funded studies such as the research into ageing. The review comes after a well-known scientific sleuth went public with allegations some papers showed evidence of image or data error, or manipulation.
Demands for Premier to face IBAC grilling don’t stack up – 13 October 2021
The calls for Daniel Andrews to be hauled before Victoria’s anti-corruption commission, to face coercive questioning in a public hearing about the alleged misuse of taxpayer funds for political purposes are misguided as IBAC tends to hold a public hearing only if it has strong evidence of alleged wrongdoing.
Sydney inner west man charged over $20m payroll fraud – 14 October 2021
A Sydney man has become the 14th person to face charges over an elaborate $20 million payroll tax fraud and money laundering scheme. It is alleged that the man received and possessed a total of $456,150 that was proceeds of an illegal scheme to siphon off money that should have been remitted to the ATO, and that he was reckless as to the fact that the money was the proceeds of crime.
Bill Papas’s companies earned $500 million from fraud, liquidators allege – 14 October 2021
Alleged fraudster Bill Papas may have committed criminal offences according to liquidators, after allegedly siphoning off more than $500 million from Westpac and other major banks since 2013. That is the key finding of a damning liquidators’ report looking into the failure of his equipment leasing company Forum Finance and its related entities. He is also being investigated by the Financial Crimes Squad (a division of NSW Police)
Singapore patrol robots stoke fears of surveillance state – 16 October 2021
Singapore has trialled patrol robots that blast warnings at people engaging in “undesirable social behaviour”, adding to an arsenal of surveillance technology in the tightly controlled city-state that is fuelling privacy concerns.
12 stories this week:
Tech firms asked to clarify fraud and scam prevention controls – 1 October 2021
The UK’s Treasury department is questioning tech giants such as Google (GOOGL), eBay (EBAY), Facebook (FB), and Amazon (AMZN) on what they are doing to fight economic crime, prevent fraud, and protect consumers on their platforms.
FCC proposes new rules to combat SIM swapping scams – 1 October 2021
SIM swapping scams have been on the rise these past couple of years, and since most online services these days are tied to people’s phone numbers, the technique has the potential to ruin victims’ lives. The Federal Communications Commission is seeking to create new rules that would help prevent SIM swapping scams and port-out fraud, both of which are techniques designed to hijack people’s phone numbers and identities.
Business woman embezzled $1m from family company – 2 October 2021
A former North Queensland lawyer and Ingham business owner has faced court after embezzling more than a million dollars from the company, she owned with her two brothers.
(Digital Access required to read article.)
Australian financial institutions want AML loopholes solved – 4 October 2021
Australian banks and fintechs have raised concerns to the senate over major loopholes in the country’s anti-money laundering legislation. Organisations have outlined support for ‘Tranche 2’ legislation that would have Designated Non-financial Business and Professions (DNFBPs) such as law firms, accountants, and real estate agents coming under similar laws to banks, emitters, and wagering companies in relation to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime (AML/CTF).
Scamwatch issues warning over new photo text Flubot malware – 4 October 2021
The notorious Flubot scammers have rolled out a sneaky new tactic designed to catch Aussies unawares, after their two other ploys were widely reported on. Now Australians are being duped into thinking their photos have been shared online.
‘Tearing our societies apart’: Facebook whistleblower’s revelations fuel concern in Australia – 4 October 2021
Facebook has been accused of “paying for its profits with our safety” and “causing ethnic violence around the world”. Former employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen said the internal documents she leaked to the Wall Street Journal, demonstrate Facebook had embraced algorithms that amplified hate speech in pursuit of profits, claims the company has strongly disputed.
Clock is ticking: the walls are closing in on the $2.8tr crypto market – 4 October 2021
The cryptocurrency market is under a lot of regulatory and governmental pressure. In the US, Securities and Exchange Commission wants the power to regulate crypto assets as securities, arguing that the sector is rife with fraud, scams and abuses.
White House plans 30-country meeting on cybercrime and ransomware – 5 October 2021
Top US national security advisers will gather officials from 30 countries this month with plans to combat the growing threat of ransomware and other cyber crime. They are looking at improving law enforcement collaboration on issues like the illicit use of cryptocurrency.
Pandora Papers show mystery foreign investors making it harder for Australians to buy property – 5 October 2021
Pandora Papers show Rio Tinto continued to trade with Chinese billionaire Du Shuanghua after bribery scandal
Almost 12 million leaked documents – known as the Pandora Papers – have shed light on how complicated, offshore business structures are being used in Australia to shroud corporate ownership in secrecy. Since around 2016, there have been calls for a register of beneficial ownership, to force details of ultimate company owners into public view. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-05/pandora-papers-show-impact-of-mystery-foreign-property-investors/100515630
Home buyer caught in $100,000 bank scam hits out at ‘dismissive’ NAB – 5 October 2021
Complying with anti-money laundering laws and protecting customers against scams are two costly and mounting tasks for the major banks. NAB is working on a mammoth internal project, called Apollo, that involves examining millions of customer accounts to ensure identification details are up-to-date.
Investment scam losses reported to ACCC set to double in 2021 – 5 October 2021
Australians lost more than $851 million to scams in 2020 – the worst year on record – and it looks like 2021 will be another banner year for scammers. People aged 65 and older were the group that had lost the most to investment scams as of August this year and people aged 18 to 24 had reported $1.7 million in losses to the ACCC as of August – a 259% jump on all of 2020.
13 stories this week:
Aussie crypto kid gets over seven years in US jail for Ponzi scheme – 16 September 2021
Stefan Qin, a 24-year-old Brisbane man, used investor’s money on a lavish lifestyle, including a $US23,000-a-month Manhattan penthouse apartment. Federal prosecutors said Qin defrauded more than 100 people out of about AUD $123 million. Investors thought they’d found a sure thing — a hedge fund that was generating 500 per cent returns by exploiting the price gaps between cryptocurrencies on 40 exchanges throughout the world.
ANZ reports a 73% year-on-year increase in scams for the first eight months of 2021 – 23 September 2021
ANZ had seen a 73% increase in scams being detected or reported by customers, compared to the same time last year. The most prevalent and successful scam involves criminals gaining remote access to consumer customer computers and the devices. ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliot, has encouraged the Standing Committee of Economics, to prioritise the need to raise further awareness and address the rising number of scams.
Bitcoin trader takes banks to court over cryptocurrency ‘discrimination’ – 24 September 2021
The ACT Civil and & Administration Tribunal, will hear a case between Canberra man Allan Flynn and two of the nation’s biggest banks, over their decision to stop doing business with him, because he operated a cryptocurrency trading platform. If successful this could have enormous ramifications for the bitcoin-shy Australian banking sector.
Bitcoin.org website offline after being hacked – 25 September 2021
Bitcoin.org suffered a breach Thursday that has already cost unsuspecting bitcoin users lots of money. Visitors to the site were greeted with an invitation to send bitcoin to the “Bitcoin Foundation” with hackers promising they would double funds sent to the address.
Australia: An Increasingly Global Approach – 27 September 2021
This article considers the major Australian government investigative, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies involved in domestic and transnational investigations, with a particular focus on their increasing need to adopt a global approach to adequately protect Australians from criminal threats, both local and international.
Foreign ownership investigation of A-League soccer teams reveals human rights concerns, match-fixing links – 27 September 2021
An investigation into foreign ownership of Australian soccer clubs, has uncovered links to an Indonesian executive, jailed over a major match-fixing scandal and accusations of “sportswashing”, by one of the wealthiest Arab states.
Papas executive accused of failing to act on 2018 whistleblower report – 27 September 2021
A senior executive at Bill Papas’ business has repeatedly claimed he only learned about the $400 million fraud in June this year, despite being warned of potential contract irregularities in 2018 by an internal “whistleblower”.
Anthony James Hill pleads guilty to fraud-related charges after stealing $28,000 from New Norfolk Golf Club – 27 September 2021
Anthony James Hill pleaded guilty to 37 fraud-related charges after stealing more than $28,000 from the New Norfolk Golf Club, while acting as Treasurer and being entrenched in a decade long romance scam.
Phone scams are ‘exploding’ and costing vulnerable Australians millions, new data shows – 28 September 2021
Australians have lost $63.6 million to scams involving unsolicited calls or text messages so far this year, according to the ACCC’s Scamwatch program. Indigenous Australians in particular, are seeing increasing financial losses from phone-based scams. Experts are calling for vigilance and for people to report potential fraud.
PwC opens investigation into racist misconduct at staff event – 29 September 2021
Professional services firm PwC is facing accusations of racist misconduct among its staff at a company-run event, with one diversity and inclusion leader said to have mocked Chinese accents.
Sydney inner west man charged over $20m payroll fraud – 29 September 2021
It is alleged that an Earlwood man received and possessed $456,150 that was proceeds of an illegal scheme to siphon off money that should have been remitted to the ATO, and that he was reckless as to the fact that the money was the proceeds of crime.
Financial firms brace for ‘pitiless’ month of new laws – 30 September 2021
Banks, fund managers and insurers will from October become subject to a raft of new regulations flowing from the Hayne royal commission, including a controversial rule forcing them to “dob in” themselves and their business partners for suspected breaches of the law.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
China bans cryptocurrency transactions – 1 October 2021
China has declared the use of digital currencies illegal, saying they disrupt the financial system and are used in money-laundering and other crimes.
12 stories this week:
Eudunda Farmers Limited accused of wage theft of more than $1 million in regional SA as union launches legal action – 14 September 2021
SA’s shop workers union claims Eudunda Farmers Limited owes more than $1 million in unpaid wages. Claims are that 64 current and former employees were underpaid and misclassified.
Fears alleged fraudster Papas ploughed Westpac millions into shares – 16 September 2021
Westpac ‘not holding breath’ on alleged fraudster’s return to Australia, court hears. Bill Papas is suspected of depositing at least $2 million of money he allegedly defrauded from Westpac into building a sizeable share portfolio held on an online trading platform, MacroVue.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to article.)
Scamwatch: Don’t fall for scammers pretending to be Federal Police – 17 September 2021
Australian Community Media has compiled a list of current scams identified on sites such as scamwatch.gov.au, www.cyber.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website, dedicated to informing people about fraudulent and dishonest activities.
Accounting body in go-slow on KPMG cheating scandal – 17 September 2021
The main professional body for accountants has yet to investigate or take any disciplinary action against KPMG Australia partners or staff, over systemic exam cheating by its partners and staff, despite being first told about the matter 18 months ago.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to article.)
China ramps up hunt for illegal cryptocurrency operations – 17 September 2021
China is ramping up its search for illegal cryptocurrency miners, who are trying to disguise their operations as research institutions and data centres, according to a new report. Moving mining rigs between locations makes activity harder for authorities to trace.
16 million Aussies warned of dangerous Commonwealth Bank email scam – 18 September 2021
Australians have been warned of a new scam using Commonwealth Bank signage, which attempts to lure victims into sharing personal and financial details. Whilst the sender appears to be ‘NetBank’, the email has actually been sent from scammers.
We need a federal watchdog with teeth – 18 September 2021
Large donations to parties or ministers are frequently bribes for access and influence. The Coalition has been promising a federal integrity commission for nearly three years. Recent High Court decisions show it would be possible to control such donations by reducing the reporting threshold, capping individual and aggregated donations. Article discusses this in detail.
Research beats regulation in avoiding bad social media influencers – 20 September 2021
ASIC is reviewing activities of Australian finance influencers to understand their business models and how the financial services law applies to these activities. This action however has come too late to protect many consumers.
Lack of regulation means some cryptocurrency start-ups are being ‘debanked’, with investors also at risk – 21 September 2021
There are 400 digital currency exchanges in Australia and around one in six people own cryptocurrency totalling $8 billion. However due to lack of regulation, banks are banning crypto start ups known as ‘debanking’. A senate inquiry looking at ways to regulate cryptocurrency and digital assets.
‘Woeful’: ANZ chief slams business preparedness for cyberattacks – 21 September 2021
ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott says the majority of Australian businesses are hopelessly unprepared for cyberattacks, a mounting threat as the digitisation of society gains pace and criminals exploit vulnerabilities during COVID-19.
Financial crimes increasing even more under COVID-19 as some burglars switch to fraud – 22 September 2021
A loophole has allowed criminals to change drivers licence details online and commit identity fraud. SA Police’s Financial and Cybercrime Investigation Branch said some burglars, had switched from in-person crime to online theft during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Put your man pants on’: Building watchdog tells ASIC to do its job – 23 September 2021
NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler has launched a blistering attack on the nation’s corporate regulator, telling it to do more to help crack down on misconduct in the construction industry and in particular the collapse of the Ralan Group.
12 stories this week:
Australia appoints former Macquarie boss to oversee financial regulators – 10 September 2021
The Australian Government has appointed Nicholas Moore, to chair a new Regulatory Review Board to report on the effectiveness of the country’s banking and corporate regulators. The new agency was established in response to the recommendations of a 2018 survey of fraud in the banking, insurance and pension fund sectors criticized by regulatory agencies.
Identity theft rises a ‘staggering’ 500% in August as scams skyrocket – 10 September 2021
Australians have lost $192 million to scams in eight months of this year compared to $175 million lost last year. More than $2.2 million was lost to identity theft in August 2021 – a 500% increase on the $352,950 lost in July. This is a 700% increase compared to August 2020.
Are mortgage brokers a weak link in the fight against financial crime? – 10 September 2021
Mortgage brokers were put on notice this week about the risk of financial crime, with government agency AUSTRAC raising the general risk level to ‘high’ and citing the broker channel specifically as a potential point of access for fraudsters.
Papas suspected of transferring Forum cash to personal accounts – 10 September 2021
The alleged Westpac fraudster Bill Papas is suspected of shifting hundreds of thousands of dollars from his businesses to personal bank accounts. This means he allegedly had access to large sums of money prior to Westpac being granted asset and account freezing orders in early July.
Competition winners become victims of Facebook scams – 11 September 2021
Competitions being run by legitimate WA businesses on Facebook, are being hijacked by scammers who create a bogus page, using a similar modified name of the real business. Entrants then receive a message from the fake profile saying they have won, but they need to register their details by clicking on a link. The link goes to a fake website confirming the win, but the ‘winners’ must provide their personal and financial details first to get the prize.
Innovation or ‘anarchy’? Bitcoin’s gains abroad underscore tensions at home – 13 September 2021
Australia’s primary financial crimes regulator has warned that the growing size of the cryptocurrency market is creating new risks of fraud. Cryptocurrency transactions may appear on a digital ledger, however the actual details of the parties involved in the transactions, are often not known.
Government issues warning over new text scam targeting people in lockdown – 13 September 2021
The government has urged Victorians to be on the lookout for a scam, following the announcement of a new round of coronavirus business grants. The scam text message asks people to click on a link and update financial information.
China uses anti-fraud app to track access to overseas financial news – 14 September 2021
Chinese police are using a new anti-fraud app installed on more than 200 million mobile phones, to identify and question people who have viewed overseas financial news sites. The app blocks suspicious phone calls and reports malware.
(Access to AFR digital required to read article.)
Former Perth finance broker sentenced on loan fraud – 15 September 2021
Former Perth finance broker Eric-John Larry Pryor has been sentenced in the Perth Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to two charges of fraud and one charge of giving false information. Mr Pryor obtained a $28,000 pecuniary advantage for himself and others, by fraudulently brokering two of the loans for an amount well above the purchase price of the financed vehicle.
US watchdog fines KPMG Australia over ‘widespread’ cheating on online training tests – 15 September 2021
KPMG Australia has been fined US$450,000 by the US audit watchdog over “widespread” cheating on online training tests covering professional independence, auditing and accounting.
Cyber attacks on the rise across Australia, with one attack every eight minutes – 15 September 2021
Last financial year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre received over 67,500 cybercrime reports, with self-reported losses totalling $33 billion. A quarter of the attacks were associated with critical infrastructure.
Six Melbourne men charged over major international phone scam – 16 September 2021
Six Melbourne men have been charged over a sophisticated international phone scam. Detectives allege the new phones the victims had paid for, were intercepted by thieves before they were delivered, and that they were then exported out of the country to be on-sold.
12 stories this week:
Charges laid after nearly $180,000 obtained through email scam – Cybercrime Squad – 3 September 2021
Cybercrime Squad detectives have charged a woman after nearly $180,000 was allegedly netted through a business email compromise scam.
ASIC enforcers dish out warning to banks – 3 September 2021
Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) deputy chairman Sarah Court said speedier investigations and enforceable undertakings would also be a priority as the regulator pressed the reset button on its “why not litigate” strategy.
Westpac warns about ‘sophisticated’ scams impacting under 30s – 4 September 2021
New research reveals that more than 1.2 million Australians have been scammed in the past 12 months, with people under 30 twice as likely to have been targeted during Covid-19. The most common scams are investment scams (180 per cent increase), while remote access scams are up by 370 per cent on what they were in 2020.
Sports Flick founder under NSW Police investigation – 6 September 2021
Dylan Azzopardi, a Western Sydney man behind a now-defunct sports streaming start-up that offered $US60 million for the UEFA Champions League, is under investigation by NSW Police over allegations of fraud. It is alleged that Mr Azzopardi used $2.5 million provided to him for personal use, rather than to pay the company handling the international rights for the Rugby League World Cup.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)
Mortgage brokers warned about financial crime as AUSTRAC ups risk level to ‘high’ – 6 September 2021
AUSTRAC, has urged brokers to be on guard as it rates the nation’s risk level as ‘high’ in its latest report. Their report specifically mentioned the role of mortgage brokers in fraud, and cited hundreds of loans placed with major banks and lenders, that they had identified as being fraudulent and involved with money laundering. https://www.brokernews.com.au/news/breaking-news/mortgage-brokers-warned-about-financial-crime-as-austrac-ups-risk-level-to-high-278622.aspx
Federal court says BitConnect promoter guilty of fraud charges – 6 September 2021
Glenn Arcaro, the former director, and promoter of crypto exchange Bitconnect has been found guilty by the federal court of fraud and for funnelling more than $2 billion from investors.
Cybercrime on the Rise and a Booming Housing Market – 6 September 2021
An informative article on Cybercrime that provides detail on the most common forms of cybercrime and who they should be reported to. The cost to the Australian community is measured conservatory at over $ 3.5 billion dollars a year, according to a report commissioned by the Australian Institute of Criminology.
Flubot scammers warn ‘last chance’ for fake parcel delivery – 7 September 2021
Australia’s scam watchdog has warned that the malicious “Flubot” scam has updated its fake text messages, in a bid to get access to your personal phone information. Flubot is a form of software known as malware that has the potential to immediately access a user’s passwords and financial information.
New Australian surveillance laws give police powers to alter Facebook and Twitter posts – 7 September 2021
A new law gives Australian police unprecedented powers for online surveillance, data interception and altering data. These powers, outlined in the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill, raise concerns over potential misuse, privacy and security.
Scamwatch: Vaccine passport scams – what to look out for – 8 September 2021
The Australian Community Media has provided a comprehensive list of current scams identified on sites such as scamwatch.gov.au, www.cyber.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website, dedicated to informing people about fraudulent and dishonest activities.
Bitcoin trader kicked out of 90 banks over cryptocurrency concerns – 8 September 2021
A bitcoin trader says she is running out of options after being booted from 90 banks across Australia. Buying and selling cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin could see you have your bank account shut down, a parliament inquiry has heard. The situation was causing the company to move to offshore banking due to being ‘debanked’.
Police Issue Warning Over Fake AFP Phone Scam – 9 September 2021
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is warning community members about a scam involving fake police representatives, attempting to con money from the public. They tell victims they have identified suspicious activity linked to their bank accounts and request personal details.
13 stories this week:
Fake Australian Federal Police money scam targeting West Australians – 26 August 2021
The Australian Federal Police issued the alert of scammers falsely identifying themselves as Federal Agents and telling victims, they had identified suspicious activity linked to their bank accounts. They then requested personal details including a Medicare number, address and bank details.
Pyramid scheme-style ‘investment app’ scamming most vulnerable during COVID pandemic – 26 August 2021
Investment Apps are the modern version of pyramid schemes to scam people. The first people to sign up make money, so they encourage others to join. They are often run by overseas groups making recovery of the money difficult.
Most common scam calls and how to prevent them – 27 August 2021
Thanks to COVID, lockdowns and working from home, increased virtual presence has created fertile ground for online fraudsters and identity thieves. There have been 214 million scam calls blocked since rules requiring telcos to detect, trace and block the nuisance calls were introduced in December last year.
$25 million crypto scam hits Australians – 27 August 2021
In the first six months this year, Australians have lost A$70million ($50.5 million) from fraudulent investments, of which half was from crypto scams. Scammers lure investors is by using fake trading platforms with celebrity endorsements and the attractive bait of “high earnings.”
Pump and dump ‘manipulation’ plagues cryptocurrency markets – 30 August 2021
Free brokerage, lockdown boredom, and social trading had increased the success of pump-and-dump schemes on the stock market. A pump-and-dump scam, typically involves inside groups of manipulators, taking positions in an altcoin or digital token, prior to a pump signal to buy the asset, in a coordinated manner for social media users. The dump involves a pre-planned crash – colloquially known as a “rugging” or rug pull.
Fixing Freedom Foods cost $28m, with more to come – 30 August 2021
Freedom Foods remains under investigation by the corporate regulator over allegations that it breached continuous disclosure and financial reporting obligations. The company expects legal costs to continue; it is facing US arbitration from key supplier Blue Diamond Growers over a licensing agreement, which could end in more large costs. Freedom Foods is also facing two investor class action claims, and is being sued by its former group general counsel and company secretary.
Victorian woman fleeced $10,000 from ‘harrowing’ phone scam – 31 August 2021
A Victorian woman has been fleeced of $10,000 following an elaborate mobile phone scam. The retired university lecturer was tricked into believing she was part of a $2 million sting, being threatened with a fake warrant and ordered to drive to her local bank to withdraw cash and go to the post office.
Adelaide Brighton Cement accounts manager found guilty of multi-million-dollar deception – 30 August 2021
A former Adelaide Brighton Cement manager has been found guilty of deceiving the company out of millions of dollars to benefit one of its customers. Ms Burgess hid Concrete Supply’s debts from her own employer, increased their credit limits and had created several large manual entries benefiting the customer ‘Concrete Supply’.
ASIC new enforcement approach more targeted and proportionate – 31 August 2021
Last week, ASIC published its corporate plan which said it would continue as an active litigator against misconduct, but that litigation would be reserved for cases involving the most substantial harm to market integrity, investors and consumers. Hill and Wilcox lawyers said this new approach will allow for more balance in responding to technical or inadvertent contraventions, where the entity concerned had promptly remediated any persons impacted.
Backlash as new iPhone update will cause devices to ‘spy’ on owners – 31 August 2021
Apple is launching a new surveillance system on more than one billion active iPhones, iPads and Macs. Under the new design, your phone will now perform these searches on Apple’s behalf before your photos have even reached their iCloud servers, and … if enough ‘forbidden content’ is discovered, law-enforcement will be notified.
Govt: it’s time to regulate cryptocurrency – 31 August 2021
Cryptocurrency could benefit the Australian economy “to the tens of billions”. The government is looking closely at regulations affecting cryptocurrency as it considers how to handle digital assets and encourage innovation in the broader blockchain ecosystem.
‘AntiVaxMomma’ accused of selling fake vaccination cards – 1 September 2021
A New Jersey woman has sold several hundred fake COVID-19 vaccination cards at $US200 ($273) each. For an extra $US250, a second scammer would then enter a bogus card buyer’s name into a New York state vaccination database, which feeds systems used to verify vaccine status at places they’re required, such as concerts and sporting events.
Australian policymakers demand answers from Lex Greensill – 1 September 2021
Lex Greensill from Greensill Capital has been sent a list of questions from a parliamentary committee seeking more information on supply chain finance schemes. Committee members want to know more about what products he marketed to the Australian government and whether any Australian entities were involved in his “future receivables” financing programs.
15 stories this week:
Been bombarded by spam texts and ghost phone calls? You’re not alone – 22 August 2021
Garbled text messages and ghost calls are targeting mobile phones and delivering malware designed to steal passwords and data. The ‘Flubot’ scam which prompts users to download an app which installs malware that could access personal data and banking details is really dangerous, with targets loosing thousands of dollars. The ACCC estimates Australians lost more than $850million to scammers last year.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)
How a now-defunct site on the dark web led police to the biggest cryptocurrency seizure in Australia – 20 August 2021
Data from the 2013 investigation of Silk Rd (Online black market hosted on the dark web and used predominantly to buy and sell illegal drugs) was shared with police across the world, and authorities have continued to make arrests related to the now-defunct site. New information from the FBI, has led to the largest ever cryptocurrency seizure by law enforcement in Australia. A record $8.49 million in cryptocurrency, understood to be Bitcoin, was seized during raids carried out at properties across metro and regional Victoria, part of an estimated $13.1 million worth of assets restrained by police.
Home Affairs worker unlawfully obtained almost $10,000 through visa scheme – 20 August 2021
A corruption investigation has found that a former visa processing officer who was an employee of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, used their role to receive ‘substantial’ sums of money and engaged in ‘dishonest and deceitful’ conduct.
‘A lot of people are sleepwalking into it’: the expert raising concerns over AI – 20 August 2021
Kate Crawford, one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars on the social and political implications of artificial intelligence, explains the risk and threats to human rights of facial recognition technology, biometric technology and surveillance.
Stripped bishop a ‘failed property tycoon,’ says flock – 21 August 2021
Bishop Daniel, the head of the NSW Coptic Orthodox Church, is the subject of a police investigation following allegations of serious fraud within the church. calculated to exceed $35 million. They relate, in part, to the buying and selling of property owned by the Coptic Church. and appointing himself as the sole trustee of the church’s property trust.
Locked-down Australians warned of COVID-19 disaster payment scams – 23 August 2021
The Australian government has warned of scams targeting people relying on COVID-19 disaster payments. Some of the reported scams involved criminals purporting to be from the government and asking for a victim’s financial details.
ClubsNSW tells court it’s facing ‘oppressive’ campaign from pokies whistleblower Troy Stolz – 23 August 2021
ClubsNSW is seeking a federal court order to stop Stolz making public statements, to media outlets, about its motives or conduct while it sues him for allegedly breaching its confidence. Lawyers for the industry body tell judge that former employee Stolz is obstructing justice and would continue to do so ‘unless’ restrained.
Ex ABF officer ordered to repay stolen $94,000 – 24 August 2021
Former Australian Border Force (ABF) officer Pablo Olivares has been sentenced to more than two years’ imprisonment and ordered to repay $93,898.75 after pleading guilty to forgery and theft. The investigation, found Olivares made134 unauthorised corporate credit card cash withdrawals, hotel bookings and car rental bookings. He also used falsified medical certifications and statutory declarations.
Drysdale fraudsters’ case adjourned – 24 August 2021
A Drysdale couple are facing jail for an $80k fraud scheme. The court heard the pair worked to systematically defraud the company out of income from customers, creating false invoices and suggesting clients would get a better rate if they paid cash.
Australians duped by JB Hi-Fi, Myer and Woolworths gift card scams – 24 August 2021
Aussies are being warned about a new scam where payments are being demanded via retail gifts cards from Woolworths, JB Hi-Fi and Myer or cash paid to couriers, with one man losing $50,000.
Poly Network says it has recovered all $610 million it lost in cryptocurrency heist – 24 August 2021
Poly Network, a decentralized finance platform that saw a hacker named “Mr. White Hat” exploit a vulnerability in its code to steal $610 million in Ethereum, Shiba Inu and other cryptocurrencies, says it has recovered all the money it lost in the theft.
Fresh wave of concern for crypto scams as bitcoin’s value skyrockets – 24 August 2021
A new release from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed that Australians have lost more than $70 million to investment scams this year so far, with projected losses set to reach $140 million by the end of the year. More than half of the $70 million in losses were to cryptocurrency, especially through bitcoin, and cryptocurrency scams were also the most commonly reported type of investment scam.
AFP issues warning about fake arrest warrant email scam – 25 August 2021
Hundreds of Australians have been contacted by scammers falsely identifying themselves as Federal Agents. The scammers often work by telling victims they have identified suspicious activity linked to their bank accounts, then request personal details including a Medicare number, address and bank details. They target people via email and social media with fake arrest warrants, then call their victims and demand payments – ordering them to deposit money into a nominated bank account or purchase online vouchers.
Woman jailed for Centrelink, Medicare scam – 25 August 2021
Tammy Theresa Power, a Queensland woman has admitted scamming the government to obtain more than $50,000 in social security and Medicare payments while on parole for similar fraud. Power made changes to the bank details of 68 people who were registered with Centrelink, redirecting their social security payments into accounts she controlled.
Investment scams in Australia: What is the true cost? – 25 August 2021
Investment scams reported to the ACCC-run Scamwatch have cost Australians over $70 million in the first half of 2021, and projected losses are set to reach $140 million by the end of the year. The article highlights some of the main investment scams impacting Australians, and warning signs to look out for.
7 stories this week:
How can Australian businesses protect themselves from invoice fraud – 13 August 2021
According to the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams Report, businesses lost over $A128m to business email compromise scams – that’s nearly $A2.5m a week. Scammers are exploiting the pandemic and are scamming businesses out of their much needed cash, with total invoice fraud losses jumping by 180%. Detail of invoice scams and how to avoid them are detailed in this article.
An anonymous hacker stole $813 million in cryptocurrency, then gave it back – 14 August 2021
An anonymous hacker who stole more than US$600 million ($813m) from the decentralised finance platform, Poly Network, has returned virtually all of the money – and apparently turned down a half-million-dollar reward offered by the company for exposing its security vulnerability.
The Dark Side of bitcoin that no one knows – 14 August 2021
Article details the scams and fraudulent activities associated with bitcoin. The risks are due to the anonymous nature of bitcoin, the associated virus and malware attacks and the lack of protection against hackers who steal the private keys of users through phishing attacks.
Police explain Oxford ‘money mule’s’ links to Australian fraud – 15 August 2021
Sydney mum Mary Ann Abellanoza, an accountant at Silversea cruises, siphoned off $3.7m over five years. In 2019, she was jailed for eight years. Police described Mackenzie as part of an ‘international ring of money launderers’ responsible for moving the proceeds of the fraud.
Continuous disclosure reforms, the new mental element for civil penalty actions, and shareholder class actions – 16 August 2021
Article by Clayton Utz, details some of the considerations that are likely to arise in shareholder or securities class actions in relation to amended Australia’s continuous disclosure laws.
A third of financial institutions have increased AI and ML in response to money laundering – 17 August 2021
A third of financial institutions are accelerating their AI and machine learning (ML) adoption for anti-money laundering (AML) technology in response to COVID-19, according to a new AML technology study by software company SAS, accounting organisation KPMG, and the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (Acams).
Check your bank account for mysterious $8.19 charge – 17 August 2021
The Commonwealth Bank has issued a warning to thousands of Australian customers to watch out for a rogue outgoing payment of around $8. This indicates that your bank account may have been compromised with scammers using horror movie streaming platform Shudder.
10 stories this week:
Manhunt for alleged Bitcoin scammer who conned 400,000 people – 6 August 2021
A worldwide manhunt has been launched for a bitcoin scammer, Faruk Fatih Ozer (Founder of Thodex), who allegedly went on the run with $US2 billion. The alleged scam is thought to be the largest con in Turkish history, having scammed approx. 400,000 people – 6 August 2021
Further fraud charges laid against Canberra ECEC director – 6 August 2021
The former director of a Canberra based early childhood education and care (ECEC) service has received a further 80 fraud charges as the case, which sees her accused of defrauding the business of more than $375,000 unfolds. The director allegedly made payments from the service bank account into her own.https://thesector.com.au/2021/08/06/further-fraud-charges-laid-against-canberra-ecec-director/
Forum Group creditors claim to be owed $580M – 6 August 2021
Administrators appointed to the embattled Forum Group have revealed a lengthy list of at least 112 creditors that together claim to be owed more than $580 million by the company.
Advisers banned over corporate breaches – 9 August 2021
ASIC has announced that Gold Coast-based advisers? Trent Allan and Fabrizio Urrutia? have? each? received a five-year ban for breaching financial services? laws. The duo are said to not be adequately trained or competent to provide financial services, including life insurance advice and did not comply with financial services laws.
Ex-Tigers intern behind years-long fraud – 9 August 2021
Adam David Jones collected nearly $900,000 from an Illegal scam targeting retirement funds and businesses transactions. He infiltrated business records and anticipated when large transactions were to occur. He later targeted large sums stored in superannuation accounts.
Pair deny $135k Tasmanian council fraud – 10 August 2021
A couple have faced court accused of defrauding a Tasmanian council to the tune of $135,000. Casey Maree Bryant, is facing more than a hundred charges in total, including counts of fraud, dishonestly acquiring a financial advantage and inserting false information as data.
Millions paid to directors: New details of Westpac’s Forum fraud emerge – 11 August 2021
Westpac has accused Bill Papas’ Forum Finance of forging signatures of staff at French giant Veolia’s New Zealand offices on faked contracts that extracted an additional $44 million from the bank. It is also alleged that Mazcon (Greek company), allegedly received $16 million as part of the allegedly fraudulent scheme and that Vince Tesoriero (Papa’s business partner), received $28 million in cash.
Internal controls lag in the face of transformation: KPMG – 11 August 2021
A new poll conducted by KPMG that surveyed nearly 300 respondents from across 100 organisations – financial risk managers, accountants, internal auditors and compliance managers among them – found that nearly half had yet to automate internal controls.
Aussies warned of fake Bitcoin trading websites as cryptocurrency scams increase – 12 August 2021
Aussies looking to invest in boom cryptocurrency Bitcoin are being warned to carefully check the credentials of their trading platform, after a spike in scams was detected. Consumers need to remember Bitcoin is unregulated.
Poly Network cryptocurrency hack sees hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Ethereum, other coins stolen – 12 August 2021
Hackers behind one of the biggest ever cryptocurrency heists, have returned more than a third of the $832 million in digital coins they stole, according to the company Poly Network, at the centre of the hack.
13 stories this week:
Nudie co-founder tax fraud claims near $250m – 29 July 2021
Australian liquidator John Sheahan has launched new legal action in Israel against members of the Binetter family, which if successful would lift the total he has realised from tax fraud claims to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. The pursuit of the Binetters is a 15-year saga that began in July 2006 when the Tax Office began auditing companies set up by Emil and Erwin Binetter, who had built a property group as well as co-founding the Nudie Juice business.
ASIC sues AMP for corporate super rip off – 30 July 2021
ASIC has started civil proceedings in the Federal Court against six AMP companies that charged fees on corporate superannuation accounts, where no services were provided. The regulator estimates more than 1500 customers were charged more than $600,000 in fees for financial advice even though those customers were told they were no longer able to access the service.
Mining magnate accused of hiding assets overseas in order to avoid $38.5m in income tax – 30 July 2021
Bob Johnson, the founder of leading mining technology provider Maptek, faced the Adelaide Magistrates Court, after being charged last week in relation to an alleged taxation fraud, spanning 15 years and totalling more than $38.5 million. He is accused of hiding assets overseas.
US man pleads guilty over attempted $430m COVID fraud on NSW – 30 July 2021
A man in Texas has pleaded guilty to attempting to swindle $430 million from the NSW government by offering to sell 50 million COVID-19 protective masks he did not have. Arael Doolittle, could face up to five years in jail.
(Access to digital version of SMH required.)
Risk compliance for business critical as security industry evolves – 2 August 2021
Following recent high profile cyber-attacks, cyber security has become a top-of-mind issue for many CEOs and COOs. The nation’s $6 billion security industry is expected to grow 3 per cent a year over the next five years. The growth is part of shifts in the industry towards a more tailored, integrated and risk-based approach, where human capital is combined with the latest technology to provide more effective and compliant security solutions.
Immense Support Shown for Whistleblowers at Historic Three-Day Event – 2 August 2021
National Whistleblower Day 2021 was the largest gathering of whistleblower supporters in history, and stretched across three days. Day one focused on global whistleblowers and the urgent need for countries to adopt effective whistleblower laws and protections. Panels included experts from Australia and the United Kingdom, as well as industry whistleblowers.
Former Weston Creek Children’s Centre director Emma Morton now facing 80 fraud charges – 2 August 2021
Emma Morton is accused of stealing money from the Weston Creek Children’s Centre. Ms Morton allegedly made payments from the centre’s bank account into her own.
It is the second time more charges have been laid against Ms Morton, who is now accused of 80 counts of fraud.
The sophisticated scam that cost Julia $100k – 3 August 2021
There have been about 7,000 reports of remote access scams this year, according to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, with more than $8 million lost. This is Julia’s story and how she lost 100k.
Directors Under Pressure – New Australian Standard In Play – 3 August 2021
Standards Australia published their new guide to “Fraud and Corruption Control” (Australian Standard AS8001:2021) in June, their first significant update in the area since 2008. The Standard is intended to apply to all organisations operating in Australia, both for-profit and not-for-profit.
In recognition of the new cloud-based infrastructure, organisations must now plan to prevent, detect, and respond to external attacks, particularly cyber attacks. The act also provides new guidance on the accountabilities of boards and senior management in controlling organisational fraud and corruption risk.
Nephew allegedly distributed $1.3 million in fraud proceeds for Michael Ibrahim – 3 August 2021
A nephew (Abraham Sayour) of drug kingpin Michael Ibrahim, has been charged for his handling of $1.37 million in an alleged fraud and money laundering scheme, led by construction boss George Alex. It is alleged that Mr Sayour used two bank accounts to receive and distribute funds, from a scheme using labour hire and payroll companies, to siphon money that should have gone to the Australian Taxation Office.
Michael Gunner confirms investigations underway into alleged misconduct within territory’s ICAC – 3 August 2021
Multiple investigations are underway into allegations of misconduct within the Northern Territory’s anti-corruption watchdog. The investigations follow a series of exclusive Sky News stories, that detail complaints about the handling of conflicts of interest in the Office of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, and other allegations about the leaking of confidential information.
Bill Papas suffering from ‘extreme anxiety’ after getting sued by Westpac – 4 July 2021
Article provides an update on Bill Papas and the alleged long running and calculated and elaborate fraud against several banks in excess of 400 billion.
Number of investment scams soars during COVID pandemic – 4 August 2021
ASIC has revealed that the number of investment scams reported during the COVID-19 pandemic has “increased dramatically” since pre-pandemic. It is believed the increase in scams is due to more people spending time online during lockdowns, while over 75 per cent of reports were related to crypto-asset scams.
12 stories this week:
Melbourne couple sentenced to prison for $54,000 COVID-19 fraud – 24 July 2021
A man and woman living in Melbourne have been sentenced to prison over a series of fraudulent COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments (PLDP), totalling $54,000
Who is Bill Papas, the man at the centre of Westpac’s ‘elaborate fraud’ allegations? – 24 July 2021
Westpac, Societe Generale and Sumitomo are said to have lost $400m due to alleged fraud by the Sydney businessman Bill Papas from Forum Finance. Westpac has now obtained freezing orders from the Federal Court and is trying to track down and seize any properties Mr Papas may own across the world.
Forum Group: The entity at the centre of staggering $400m fraud allegations is “open for business”https://greekcitytimes.com/2021/07/27/forum-group-the-entity-at-the-centre-of-staggering-400m-fraud-allegations-is-open-for-business/
Australians more gullible than most for tech support scams – Microsoft Survey – 26 July 2021
Australians are more likely than any other nation (except India) to be victims of tech support scams because we are an affluent target. A Microsoft report shows 31% of Australian Millennials (aged 24-37), 30% of Gen Xers (aged 38-53) and 16% of Gen Zers (aged 18-23) were the most susceptible and continued tech support scam interaction. 61% of these were males.
Growth at what cost? How CEOs of Australian banks are incentivised to take risk – 27 July 2021
The Monash University research team identified a direct link between ASIC investigating or penalising a company, and the way CEOs are paid. A recent study is among the first to directly link CEO incentive pay to adverse firm events such as fraud and money laundering of Australian banks. The research found that adverse firm events are 42% more likely to occur when the majority of CEO pay comprises stock options and shares.
When the fixer from Wagga met the conmen from Shanghai – 28 July 2021
An ABC investigation unravels how the former MP (Daryl Maguire) did favours for Mr Liu’s company, which allegedly swindled vast sums from Australians and became embroiled in a devastating international fraud.
New ASIC chair Joseph Longo warns about unregulated cryptocurrency trading and other economic threats to pandemic recovery – 29 July 2021
New ASIC boss Joseph Longo’s focus is helping people and businesses through COVID and shutting down pandemic scams. He is particularly worried about unregulated cryptocurrency investments and scams. Mr Longo says decisions to prosecute are ultimately up to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
ATM skimmers fleece millions from Melbourne bank customers – 29 July 2021
Police have released images of five men believed to be linked to an international ATM skimming scam, that has fleeced millions of dollars from Melbourne bank customers this year. At least 28 machines around Melbourne have been compromised since March, in an elaborate scheme believed to have links to Eastern European crime gangs.
(Access to the digital version of the Age required to read article.)
Premier’s office was warned about Maguire’s business associate two years before corruption inquiry – 29 July 2021
Businessman, Jimmy Yang, is accused of widespread fraud and entangled in a financial scam that took $46 million from more than 900 retirees.
Maptek founder accused of $38.5m tax fraud – 30 July 2021
The 74-year-old Adelaide-based mining tech entrepreneur Bob Johnson, has been charged with hiding overseas assets over 15 years to avoid $38.5 million in income tax. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will allege that Dr Johnson failed to disclose overseas trust assets in his income tax returns, in an effort to evade income tax in Australia between 1999 and 2013.
ASIC sues AMP companies over fees for no services allegations – 30 July 2021
ASIC has commenced Federal Court proceedings against six companies that are, or were, part of AMP Limited (ASX: AMP), alleging the entities charged fees for no service on 1500 corporate superannuation accounts.
High-flying accountant with multiple Block properties jailed over ‘calculated’ GST fraud – 30 July 2021
David Brandi, a wealthy accountant and property-owner, whose purchased homes from ‘The Block’ and a high-profile nightclub, learned his fate in the County court, over a complex GST fraud committed more than 10 years ago. It is alleged that he ended up pocketing $135,248.67 in false GST refunds in statements lodged with the ATO.
13 stories this week:
SAPOL search uncovers stash of fake driver’s licences – 16 July 2021
An ongoing SA Police investigation into identity theft has seen four alleged offenders arrested after a search of a home uncovered more than 100 fake or stolen licences, health and bank cards, along with amounts of amphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Bigwig in the big house: Ex-education boss jailed for school funds rorts – 16 July 2021
Former Education Department chief Nino Napoli, is in prison after being jailed this week after he and family members defrauded school funds in calculated rorting over a period of seven years. Napoli approved fake invoices and dodgy contracts totalling $500,000 by concealing his connections to relatives’ businesses, and either used department money or directed banker schools to pay invoices.
Are you ready for the Fraud & Corruption Control changes? – 16 July 2021
Adam Simms Partner, Forensic Services, was invited to be part of the review of the existing Standard and gives us insights into the new Australian Standard AS8001:2008 – Fraud & Corruption Control that was released on 11 June, 2021. This Standard is considered the benchmark when it comes to how organisations can mitigate fraud and corruption risks. This Standard is of particular importance to Boards, and importantly how they assess their cyber risks.
Revealed: Alleged Westpac fraudsters in multimillion-dollar property binge – 16 July 2021
The alleged $360 million fraud by Bill Papas’ Forum Finance against Westpac has been described by a judge as “a long-running, calculated and elaborate fraud which would rank high in the catalogue of corporate misfeasance”. The fraud is alleged to have been conducted between 2018 and 2021.
Whistleblower alerted Forum auditors to potential fraud
An internal whistleblower at the Forum Group of Companies emerged within two weeks of Westpac contacting Bill Papas about anomalies regarding a contract with corporate client WesTrac.
No AMP heads on pikes after ASIC drops criminal probe – 17 July 2021
ASIC drops criminal investigation into AMP’s fees for no services scandal after the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions found the case should not be taken to court.
(Access to digtal version of SMH/AFR required to read this article.)
Aussie crypto mogul fights extradition to the US – 17 July 2021
Australian bitcoin mogul Greg Dwyer is fighting extradition to the United States from his home in Bermuda even after his co-accused in one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency scandals have presented themselves to US authorities.
(Access to digtal version of SMH required to read this article.)
ClubsNSW seeks court order to stop pokies whistleblower speaking to media – 17 July 2021
ClubsNSW is aiming to stop pokies whistleblower Troy Stolz talking to the media about a case the lobby group is mounting against him, in the federal court. The move is a dramatic escalation in the legal fight between the powerful lobby group and Troy Stolz, its former anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing manager.
Scamwatch: Remote access scams increase 184 per cent – 19 July 2021
So far this year scammers have stolen more than $7.2 million from Australians by gaining access to home computers, an increase of 184 per cent compared to the same period last year. Australian Community Media has compiled a list of current scams identified on sites such as scamwatch.gov.au, www.cyber.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website dedicated to informing people about fraudulent and dishonest activities.
Ex-Young Rich Lister Craig Gore loses fraud appeal = 21 July 2021
Craig Gore, who once owned a race car team and shone briefly as a Gold Coast developer, had lawyers file an appeal against a verdict that found he had swindled investors in a debenture scheme. They included everyday Australians setting up self-managed superannuation funds.
A key event in the guilty verdict centred on evidence of Gore’s knowledge of the business having a substantial debt owed to the ATO.
(Digital version of AFR required to read article.)
Westpac accuses Forum and Papas of 100 frauds – 22 July 2021
The details of the extent of Mr Papas’s fraud were detailed in a statement of claim filed by the bank this week against Mr Papas, his business partner Vincenzo Tesoriero, Forum Finance and its related companies.
AMP sexual harassment victim left fuming from Boe Pahari’s $50m payout – 22 July 2021
A sexual harassment victim (Julia Szlakowski) is furious after Boe Pahari who allegedly made inappropriate advances and drove her out of the company is set to get a $50 million “golden parachute” payout.
Firms ‘face extinction’ for failing women – 22 July 2021
Ms Szlakowski has called on companies and investors to “conduct themselves within the moral and ethical norms of their customer base, or rightly risk extinction”.
15 stories this week:
New data reveals AFCA received a whopping 70,000 complaints in the last year generating millions of dollars worth of refunds to Aussies – 8 July 2021
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), a non-government ombudsman, received 70,000 complaints over the 2021 financial year and secured more than $240 million in compensation and refunds. The most complained about products were: Credit cards (14%) Home loans (9%) and Personal transaction accounts (8%)
Long-running, calculated and elaborate fraud’: Firm at the centre of Westpac scandal to be wound up – 9 July 2021
The Federal Court has ordered the company “Forum Finance” at the centre of an alleged $250 million fraud against banking giant Westpac be placed into liquidation, while the exact whereabouts of its football personality (Bill Papas) the director remain unknown.
Major crypto scammer sentenced to 15 years in prison – 9 July 2021
The mastermind behind what the government says is one of the largest cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes prosecuted in the US has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. Roger Nils-Jonas Karlsson, defrauded thousands of victims and stole tens of millions of dollars over 10 years.
MAFS star to face trial over fraud scam – 9 July 2021
It is alleged that Daniel Webb who was a reality television contestant, was involved with a multi-million dollar “boiler room” telemarketing scam. The prosecution argues the scam raked in about $24 million from hundreds of victims in 2013 and 2014.
Queensland director hit with ASIC penalty – 9 July 2021
A Queensland director has been disqualified from managing corporations for three years following an investigation by ASIC. He “failed to exercise his powers and discharge as a director with care and diligence, good faith and in the best interest of the companies; failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the companies complied with their obligations to keep accurate written financial records; and failed to assist the liquidators by not delivering the companies’ books and records”.
Shred Away Identity Theft – 10 July 2021
The Labor Government is reminding people to dispose of confidential documents securely, while working from home to protect themselves from identity theft. This is often done by scammers physically stealing personal information through mailboxes or discarded documents or fake emails.
Australians lost $7.2 million in home computer scam – 12 July 2021
ACCC’s Scamwatch said scammers have stolen more than $7.2 million from Australians by gaining access to home computers so far this year. Scammers take advantage of the ability to remotely access people’s computers or smart phones.
‘Real and present danger’: Government considers making company directors personally liable for cyber attacks – 13 July 2021
Company directors could be held personally responsible for cyber attacks, under new standards being discussed with industry.
Corporate watchdog takes SmileDirectClub to court, alleging thousands misled by teeth straightening insurance claims – 13 July 2021
Tens of thousands of Australians ordered clear teeth aligners and underwent treatment after allegedly being incorrectly told, their health insurance would cover part of it. ASIC has alleged this was false and misleading.
Australians losing billions of dollars to cyber crime: Report – 13 July 2021
A report published by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) said citizens were losing billions of dollars every year to cyber crime. It found that Australians spend A$1.4 billion on preventing cyber crime every year and A$597 million on dealing with the consequences of cyber attacks.
British police seize record $545m haul of cryptocurrency – 14 July 2021
British police have seized record hauls of cryptocurrency totalling A$545 million as part of an investigation into money laundering, after organised crime groups moved into cyptocurrencies to wash their dirty money.
Japan bank reveals $100 million Forum Finance exposure – 14 July 2021
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking of Japan has become the latest major bank trapped by an alleged fraud carried out by Sydney-based firm Forum Finance, with an exposure of nearly $100 million.
Finfluencers are on the rise, so are they friend or foe? It can be murky territory – 14 July 2021
The laws around providing unlicensed financial advice are murky. Recently there have been calls for more regulation and oversight with the influx of finfluencers. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-07-14/finfluencer-tik-tok-instagram-social-media-financial-advice/100289102
Cyber criminals increasingly target builders – 14 July 2021
Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting the construction industry and, as large builders improve their guard and systems, hackers are training their sights on smaller companies such as consultants, contractors and suppliers.
Fraudsters discover the easiest way to rob a bank – 15 July 2021
A good article summarising how invoice financing fraud has occurred with the Forum Finance and Westpac situation and why these incidents continue to occur. Forum Finance, sold products (ie case waste management devices) – to large reputable customers that paid using a Westpac loan. Westpac, however, paid the money directly to the vendor business and relied on that business to pass on the lease payments that were being made by the customer. The invoices presented to the bank showing what the reputable customer owed facilitated the transfer, while the assets were the collateral that could be taken if the customer never paid. The problem is that the products allegedly didn’t exist: the invoices appear to be fabricated, while the lease payments weren’t made by the customer but by the business to keep up appearances. The whereabouts of the balance is now a mystery.
12 stories this week:
ASIC warns about social media-driven ‘pump and dump’ scams – 2 July 2021
“Pump and dump” is a scam in which criminals artificially inflate the price of a stock, by promoting fake news or positive depictions of a company, in order to increase trading and profit by later selling the inflated shares. Melbourne trader Gabriel Govinda has appeared in the Magistrate’s Court faced with 23 charges of market manipulation and 19 charges of illegal dissemination of information.
Westpac alleges football tycoon’s firm engaged in $200m fraud – 2 July 2021
Federal Court proceedings have been filed against ‘Forum Finance’, after the discovery of allegedly fraudulent activity of $200 million involving a finance company controlled by the owner of the Sydney Olympic Football Club, Bill Papas.
‘Long-running, calculated and elaborate fraud’: Firm at the centre of Westpac scandal to be wound up – 9 July 2021
Dirty money: How the banks and AUSTRAC are fighting back against financial crime – 2 July 2021
Financial crimes watchdog AUSTRAC raised concerns about NABs compliance this week, as the financial industry is confronted with complex anti-money laundering, as criminals become more and more sophisticated.
Black Hats, tax havens: Australia’s biggest insider trading probe revealed – 3 July 2021
A questionable transfer of Nuix shares to Stephen Doyle’s Swiss-based brother Ross, is now part of an ASIC investigation into whether the family, may have pulled off one of the country’s biggest insider trading heists, using companies in offshore tax havens to disguise their tracks.
Senior cardinal, 9 others, face Vatican fraud tri – 3 July 2021
An influential Cardinal Angelo Becciu and nine others will be tried over alleged financial wrongdoing linked to the purchase of a plush London property. Becciu will be prosecuted over embezzlement, abuse of power and witness tampering.
The Trump Organization has been charged with tax fraud. What could that mean for the former president’s company – 4 July 2021
Former US president Donald Trump’s company was hit with charges of criminal tax fraud this week, with allegations it helped executives cheat their own taxes.
Alleged fraudster moved $8 million of clients’ money through Crown casino – 5 July 2021
Crown Resorts has called an immediate inquiry into claims an alleged fugitive corporate fraudster (Michael Gu) laundered millions of dollars through its Melbourne casino. Mr Gu then either withdrew the money or used it for gambling.
‘I smell a rat’: Westpac alleged fraud leaves trail of forged signatures, false documents – 6 July 2021
Westpac says at least seven major corporate customers including Coles, Woolworths, Veolia and WesTrac have been caught up in an alleged fraud involving fake invoices and forged signatures that could cost the bank more than $290 million.
Prison disciplinary hearings held ‘in the dark’ with little transparency – 7 July 2021
Victoria’s Ombudsman has found that prisoners were denied basic procedural fairness, because there was no formal requirement for written reasons for decisions and no internal review processes in place.
5 giveaway signs of stock market scams and how to avoid them – 7 July 2021
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch reported recently that last year alone, Australians lost $176.1 million to scams, up by almost 23 per cent in 2019. Article details how investors spot stock market scammers and, more importantly, how to avoid them.
Family Court judge resigns amid sexual harassment investigation – 8 July 2021
Joe Harman a Family Court judge, based in Parramatta has resigned after an independent investigation found that he had sexually harassed two junior female court staff and had a history of breaching protocol. https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/biglaw/31872-family-court-judge-resigns-amid-sexual-harassment-investigation
10 stories this week:
Not-for-profit fraudster tells court she was catfished by American soldier – 24 June 2021
A mother-of-two who stole almost $150,000 from a community not-for-profit while employed as a financial controller and coordinator, says she was being catfished by a fake American soldier who romanced her online.
Pyrmont penthouse owned by former Nuix CFO raided in criminal probe – 24 June 2021
The Australian Federal Police raided the offices of Macquarie-backed tech group Nuix as well as an apartment, following the launch of a criminal investigation by ASIC. The subjects of the probe are the recently departed Nuix chief financial officer Stephen Doyle, 50, and his Swiss-based brother Ross.
(Access to SMH digital version required to read article.)
NT ICAC makes improper conduct findings over Darwin Turf Club grandstand grant – 25 June 2021
The Northern Territory’s anti-corruption watchdog has made findings of “improper conduct” against the Chief Minister’s former chief of staff, three members of the Darwin Turf Club and a company director over a $12 million government grant for a new grandstand.
What The Heck Is A Crypto Tumbler And Is It Even Legal? – 28 June 2021
A cryptocurrency tumbler – also known as a crypto mixer or crypto mixing service – is a paid service in which you can mix potentially traceable coins (for example, stolen coins) with other, clean coins in an effort to make it harder to trace them. There are no specific laws that prohibit cryptocurrency tumbling. However, using a cryptocurrency tumbler to conceal other illegal activity could still land you in hot water.
Trump family business may face charges – 28 June 2021
Legal attorneys are investigating “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the Trump Organisation, including tax and insurance fraud, falsification of business records and corporate perks and gifts.
Crypto scam losses rocket to record high – 28 June 2021
Investment scams of all types are on the rise. Money lost to scams involving bitcoin since the start of this year already equal the entire losses of 2020. The Australian Competition and Consumers Commission (ACCC) had $176 million in losses reported to it during 2020. In 2019, losses amounted to $143 million, up from $107 million in 2018.
(Access financial version of SMH required to read article.)
Since 2012, Australia has become “significantly” more corrupt – 29 June 2021
Transparency International Australia chief executive Serena Lillywhite shares a range of issues, which she believes are impairing Australia’s reputation as a democracy, which actively targets corruption. We are one of the 21 nations where perceived corruption has worsened “significantly”, over the past eight years.
Melissa Caddick convinced 72 investors to hand over $23m to ‘sham’ business, court told – 29 June 2021
In Federal court, it has been revealed that Melissa Caddick faked many documents in the “quite elaborate fraud”, she used to swindle trusting investors out of more than $23m. She operated 37 bank accounts, sent investors fictitious portfolio evaluations and kept “meticulous” records. Provisional liquidators have been appointed.
Former WA director charged with multiple offences – 1 July 2021
Joanne Jennifer Pellew from Western Australia, has been charged with breaching her directors’ duties, making a false or misleading statement to ASIC and managing a corporation while disqualified.
Westpac detects huge potential fraud, bank to pay compo for deficient financial advice to share traders – 2 July 2021
Westpac has uncovered “sophisticated and externally perpetrated” potential fraud, estimated at about $200m and has kicked off court action in response. The proceedings are against ‘Forum Finance’ over a portfolio of equipment leases. ASIC announced Westpac would pay $87m in compensation to former clients of its financial advisers.
13 stories this week:
5 best VPN in Australia – 18 June 2021
A good article explaining Virtual Private Networks and how your network can be completely accessible to tracking and surveillance by your Internet Provider, as it is provided by them, and they ultimately host it. Article lists popular VPNS that are secure and can’t access your data.
Bank took 8 years to report $1.4m fraud – 18 June 2021
George Vrettakos is only now facing justice after defrauding more than $1.4 million from CBA. The significant delay – caused by the Commonwealth Bank failure to report his fraud to police – may mean George Vrettakos escapes jail time.
Ex-con and bankrupt advised Melissa Caddick on tax affairs – 19 June 2021
Missing fraudster Melissa Caddick, who misappropriated millions of dollars from her clients, used the services of a former bankrupt accountant (Cyril “John” Pearson) who had been banned for 10 years from managing a corporation as well as jailed for embezzling money from a superannuation fund.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)
Billionaire tax dodging exposed (just not in Australia, home of the opaque ultra rich) – 18 June 2021
For years there has been a push for greater transparency on the tax affairs of the rich who can use sophisticated tactics to minimise what they pay. This ‘push’ could potentially inadvertently reveal details of the tax affairs of an individual or entity, which would breach confidentiality laws
Qld govt consults on media shield laws – 18 June 2021
Currently Queensland and Tasmania are the only states without specific media shield laws. In August, new QLD laws will mean Journalists will be protected from revealing confidential whistleblower sources. Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman has released a discussion paper on these laws.
Former Australian spy Witness K spared jail time over conspiracy charges relating to alleged spying on East Timor – 19 June 2021
The former Australian spy dubbed Witness K, has been given a three-month suspended sentence, for conspiring to reveal classified information about an alleged spying operation, during oil and gas treaty negotiations, between Australia and East Timor.
We have filed a case under your name’: Beware of tax scams – they’ll be everywhere this EOFY – 19 June 2021
According to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report, scams targeting Australians last year cost an estimated $851 million. Posing as the Australian Taxation Office in particular has been a key vehicle for scammers to target victims, with considerable success over the years.
Scammers sending out knock-off crypto wallets that could steal your coin – 19 June 2021
Scammers have begun sending out fake hardware wallets to Ledger customers in an attempt to steal the cryptocurrency from their Bitcoin wallets.
‘Deeply disturbing’ allegations threaten to bring Toshiba to its knees – 21 June 2021
For the last six years, scandals and economic missteps have plagued Toshiba. Recently an ‘Explosive’ report critical of Toshiba’s management claimed they “devised a plan to effectively prevent shareholders from exercising their … voting rights at the AGM” and they had persuaded Japan’s trade ministry to help keep the activists at bay by exerting “undue influence on some shareholders”.
Scammers target would-be tenants as housing crisis continues – 21 June 2021
Scammers are offering fake properties to convince people to hand over money or personal information. Australians lost more than $300,000 to rental and accommodation scams in the nine months to September last year – an increase of 76 per cent compared to the same time the previous year.
Former Sony Music employees consider class action lawsuit – 23 June 2021
A dozen former employees of Sony Music Australia, have approached a law firm, to investigate launching a class action lawsuit against the global music empire, following an investigation into workplace culture at the company’s Australian offices.
AFP raids Nuix office amid criminal investigation by market regulator – 24 June 2021
The Australian Federal Police raided the offices of Macquarie-backed tech group Nuix as well as an apartment in Pyrmont on Thursday following the launch of a criminal investigation by the corporate regulator.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)
ClubsNSW demands pokies whistleblower stop crowdfunding for court case – 24 June 2021
Troy Stolz turned to GoFundMe to raise money for a court battle with former employer ClubsNSW, but lawyers have demanded he take down his page and return donations or face further court action.
11 stories this week:
Scope of Victoria’s Crown royal commission expanded, budget near-doubled after ‘significant’ revelations – 11 June 2021
The scope, length and budget for Victoria’s Crown royal commission has been expanded from $10m to $19.75m after ‘significant’ revelations and matters have emerged. The Victorian investigation will determine if Crown is fit to hold a gaming licence for its Melbourne casino, while a separate royal commission is doing the same for the Perth venue.
Former Mayor’s banker son-in-law sacked, charged amid fraud claims – 11 June 2021
The banker son-in-law (Andre Andrada) of a former southeast Queensland mayor has been dismissed from his senior finance position and charged by police amid allegations of fraud.
(Access to the Courier Mail required to read article.)
Crypto crackdown underway as ATO locks in data-matching program – 11 June 2021
The ATO’s cryptocurrency data-matching program, will now scrutinise cryptocurrency transactions and account information from designated service providers for a further three financial years to 2022-23. According to the ATO, the data will uncover individuals who have failed to report a disposal of cryptocurrency and the appropriate capital gain or loss in their income tax return.
Australia’s great CCTV security risk – 11 June 2021
Sydney alone has more than 60,000 increasingly sophisticated CCTV cameras. Australia’s Internet of Things (IoT) market grows, individual CCTV cameras are becoming internet-enabled which also makes them hackable. In the mind of an attacker, it means there could be 60,000 entry points through which they could attempt access.
Bid to use criminal cash to refund scam victims – 11 June 2021
A survey suggests, that a policy of refunding scam victims using money from criminals’ frozen bank accounts would be popular.
Financial crime task force takes aim at cryptocurrency, pandemic fraud – 12 June 2021
The peak agency looking at financial crime is preparing to crack down on cryptocurrency transactions, to head off their role in tax avoidance while also combatting efforts by criminals from using digital currency such as bitcoin to bring cash back home.
(Access To the Australian digital version required to read article.)
Sony, Sackings, Fines, now Global Bullying & Harassment Investigation – 13 June 2021
Sony is back in the headlines as global bosses finally investigate the Australian operations for questionable conduct, that has been going on for decades at the scandal ridden Company. The latest investigation follows new claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment at its Sony Music operation.
Young woman loses $150k in crypto investment scam – 13 June 2021
A 25-year-old woman’s online dating venture took an expensive turn when she was scammed out of $150,000 in a fake cryptocurrency investment.
Nuix CEO and CFO step down after disastrous IPO – 15 June 2021
Nuix announced that its CFO Stephen Doyle was being “terminated by mutual agreement.” Half an hour later, CEO Rod Vawdrey had given notice of his decision to retire. Their departures follow a joint investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Australian Financial Review which exposed serious culture and governance issues, missed sales forecasts and a previous attempted coup to oust Mr Vawdrey.
Convictions of fraud and insolvent trading set aside – 17 June 2021
A founder of collapsed whitegoods supplier Kleenmaid could face a fourth trial for charges, including fraud after winning an appeal based on whether juries should consider mental health concerns.
South Australia’s Tailem Bend Netball Club loses $150,000 in online invoice scam – 17 June 2021
The Tailem Bend Netball Club has lost $150,000 in an online scam. Scammers hacked the club’s email and sent invoices to the club with incorrect accounts
13 stories this week:
ME Bank faces criminal prosecution by corporate regulator – 27 May 2021
Industry-super-linked ME Bank has been hit with a criminal lawsuit by the corporate regulator after 3700 home loan customers were incorrectly charged interest on mortgages.
‘Clearview AI’ Hit With Legal Complaints In 5 Countries, Accused of Face Recognition Abuse – 27 May 2021
Clearview AI, the American maker of a controversial facial recognition tool used mostly by police, is facing a downpour of legal complaints across Europe, alleging privacy violations based on internal documents showing the company’s algorithm at work.
Future of Australian steelworks in doubt as UK fraud office investigates Gupta – 27 May 2021
The future of the Whyalla Steelworks in South Australia hangs in the balance as the fallout continues from the recent collapse of Greensill Capital. The UK Serious Fraud Office announced that it was investigating Greensill Capital over “suspected fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering… including its financing arrangements with Greensill Capital.” It was also that the Gupta-owned Wyelands Bank, which is currently being wound up, has been under investigation since 2018.
‘Toxic breach of trust’: Investments watchdog sends fraud warning – 28 May 2021
A spate of investment scams highlight the dangers posed by deceptive financial advisers who abuse the trust of friends and family. As an example an investment manager was sentenced to at least four years in jail for stealing $2.9 million from 13 clients. Making 167 authorised transactions from clients’ accounts, he spent the money paying off debts and personal expenses including rent, holidays and school fees.
How Brad lost $5600 in Domain email scam – 31 May 2021
Domain revealed to its customers it had been the victim of a cyber attack that allowed scammers to access personal information, including email addresses and phone numbers of people who have made property enquires. So far this year, Australians have reported 18,689 phishing attacks, and have lost $887,390 to those scams. Brad was one of those vicitms losing $5600.
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Google promotes bond scam amid police probe – 31 May 2021
Google is continuing to make money by unwittingly promoting new websites that funnel investors into a complex fraud schemes. They tricks consumers with fake high-yield bond prospectuses in which savings are siphoned through the cryptocurrency ecosystem. There is an ongoing NSW police investigation into the matter.
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Further six charged after cryptocurrency money laundering investigation – Cybercrime Squad – 31 May 2021
A further six people have been charged by Cybercrime Squad detectives as part of an ongoing investigation into a criminal syndicate allegedly involved in laundering money via cryptocurrency, across state and territory borders.
Former policeman who made up same-sex relationship found guilty of fraud – 31 May 2021
A former police officer (Okan Yesilhat) who was found to have fabricated a lengthy same-sex relationship to claim a $6 million inheritance, has been found guilty of misappropriating funds from the deceased’s accounts within hours of his death.
Freedom Foods loses fraud case in Federal Court – 31 May 2021
Australian-owned Freedom Food has been slammed in the Federal Court over fraud and breach of contract allegations put forward by Blue Diamond Growers (BDG). BDG claimed Freedom Foods used other suppliers for nut-based and non-organic almond based products for manufacture and sale in Australia and New Zealand, when their agreement should have precluded that. Freedom Foods claimed this was not true.
ATO signals crypto crackdown as tax time looms – 31 May 2021
The anonymous nature of trading crypto assets has led many taxpayers to believe their investments were untraceable. The ATO will employ data-matching methods to link transactions from cryptocurrency-designated service providers to individuals’ tax returns, to ensure investors are paying the right amount of tax.
Pfizer warns on fake online COVID vaccine shots – 1 June 2021
Fraud experts remain concerned about the potential for vaccine fraud to make its way to Australia, after Interpol issued a global warning this year about fake vaccines and treatments being sold online.
Warning about ‘unsuspecting friends’ sharing hoax app – 3 June 2021
The Commonwealth Bank has issued warning against a hoax app called “Hope Business” which has cost them thousands of dollars. It claims that anyone can earn significant returns after transferring funds to use as an investment, while completing in app tasks.
Automotive fraud and scams skyrocket in 2021, according to the ACCC – 3 June 2021
Automotive fraud and scams have skyrocketed in 2021, according to the ACCC. 97 per cent of reported cases claimed the seller was enlisted in the military or to work for the Department of Defence, under the pretence they were selling their vehicle prior to deployment.
13 stories this week:
Financial Crime Compliance – What About the “Little Guys?” – 19 May 2021
Big-name firms and international financial institutions may survive investigations for alleged regulatory failings and breaches, but most medium and small firms will not, so they need independent expert advice to ensure compliance solutions are tailored to their needs.
Westpac accused of sacking senior executive over whistleblower complaints to CEO – 22 May 2021
Westpac dismissed a senior risk executive (Amanda Ware) just months after chief executive Peter King advised her to seek whistleblower protections. She has now filed a lawsuit claiming unfair dismissal, because she raised a series of concerns about compliance gaps and risk failings with the bank’s top executives.
Whistleblowers shouldn’t face prison for doing the right thing – 23 May 2021
The Human Rights Law Centre has welcomed the findings of a Senate inquiry into press freedom to better protect whistleblowers and public interest journalism in Australia. The final report was published and made 17 recommendations. These included proposed reforms to secrecy and espionage laws that potentially criminalise public interest journalism and a call for long-awaited improvements to federal whistleblower protections.
The country town shopfront behind Chinese labour king’s empire – 23 May 2021
The old shopfront in the tiny south-west Victorian country town of Koroit was an unlikely location for the corporate headquarters of a China-linked labour hire company with earnings of more than $40 million. Mr Shi’s empire came crashing down in 2018 when the Australian Federal Police executed search warrants on several of his properties. The warrants listed Mr Shi as being suspected of 11 criminal offences, including money laundering, tax fraud, secret commissions and breaches of migration laws.
Queensland horse trainer Ben Currie not guilty of fraud over 14 races – 23 May 2021
High-profile Queensland horse trainer Ben Currie has been found not guilty of giving his horses performance-enhancing substances over a two-year period.
Scam victim Victoria Herrera to rebuild her home with a bushfire recovery grant – 23 May 2021
Victoria Herrera’s home burnt to the ground in a bushfire in December 2019. Shortly afterwards, she was conned out of her life savings and insurance money by a man who claimed to be a successful builder from Sydney.
Cryptocurrency policy must catch up – 25 May 2021
Today, 100 million people have a bitcoin wallet. Australia needs a proper regulatory framework to protect consumers and prevent harmful use.
Man arrested over alleged role in $91k puppy scam – 25 May 2021
A man has been arrested over his role in allegedly scamming more than $91,000 from people looking to buy “designer puppies” before laundering the money through cryptocurrency, as part of a multinational crime syndicate.
Former Sydney financial adviser charged over $3.3 million fraud – 26 May 2021
A former Sydney financial adviser is accused of defrauding a dozen people of almost $3.3 million. It is alleged that Gavin Fineff took funds from 12 people meant for shares holdings and diverted them to his own bank account.
Woman allegedly defrauded Macquarie Bank of $1.1 million in loans, insurance – 26 May 2021
Charleen Henegan, is facing serious charges after allegedly receiving almost $1.1 million in fraudulent loans, insurance and brokerage and commission fees from Macquarie Bank. She is accused of committing the offences through a Brisbane car yard business and allegedly forging a tax agent letter, according to court documents.
ASIC investigation leads to 6 years’ jail sentence for former financial adviser – 26 May 2021
Former financial adviser Ross Andrew Hopkins has been sentenced to a maximum six years in prison. Over a period of nearly three years, he misappropriated $2.9 million of his clients’ funds without their knowledge, and used their funds for his own benefit, such as holidays, rent, paying his own credit card debts and repaying personal loans.
‘Charismatic crook’ Foster to surrender – 26 May 2021
Peter Foster was facing 15 fraud charges after allegedly posing as a man called Bill Dawson and extricating 120 Bitcoin from a Hong Kong man in 2019 and 2020. He is planning to hand himself into Queensland Police and plead not guilty to all charges.
ME Bank slapped with criminal charges over redraw clawback – 27 May 2021
ME Bank has been taken to court and criminally charged with false and misleading behaviour and breaches of the Credit Act relating to its disastrous redraw clawback last year after an investigation by ASIC.
12 stories this week:
Landmark laws to keep children safe, stop racial hate and protect democracy online published – 12 May 2021
New internet laws will be published in the draft Online Safety Bill to protect children online and tackle some of the worst abuses on social media, including racist hate crimes.
Scammers Target NSW Citizens In Re-Emerging Remote Access Scam – 12 May 2021
A re-emerging Remote Access Scam in NSW has scammers pretending to be from financial institutions or well-known companies. They access recipient’s devices remotely, using excuses that the device isn’t functioning properly, has a virus or is sending out error messages that ‘need be fixed’. Scammers will then try to talk you into buying software or services to ‘fix’ the device, and often will ask for personal details including bank and credit card details.
WA Health denies whistleblower hotel quarantine guard’s claims as Premier defends ‘not perfect’ system – 12 May 2021
The anonymous security whistleblower, was employed by a subcontractor at the Intercontinental hotel for three months until November 2020, saying the stress of working in such an unhygenic environment that wouldn’t provide masks or sanister drove him to quit.
Sydney lawyer accused of alleged cryptocurrency scam – 13 May 2021
A Sydney-based solicitor has fronted court after being accused of playing a role in a $2.3 million cryptocurrency scam. He is alleged to have been involved in a scam in which four men, deposited $2.3 million into various bank accounts. Police have alleged that the accounts were all linked to a Sydney-based solicitor, who was paid by an international criminal syndicate.
Scams circulating Eastern District – 13 May 2021
People need to exercise caution when buying goods online, particularly items listed for sale on social media. Offenders have been known to create fake profiles in order to sell items and then block buyers shortly after. https://www.miragenews.com/scams-circulating-eastern-district-559189/
The ‘David and Goliath’ battle behind Telstra’s huge ACCC fine over its treatment of Indigenous customers – 14 May 2021
Telstra has been slapped with a $50 million fine after it was found that Indigenous customers were being pushed into phone plans they couldn’t afford, only to be hit with huge bills and in many cases, chased by debt collectors.
ASIC issues warnings on investment scams – 14 May 2021
ASIC has identified several ongoing investment scams including duping consumers into establishing self-managed super funds, and advertisements for crypto-asset and contracts for difference, disguised as fake news articles.
Make-up artist Olivia Rodgers gave multiple reasons as to why she stole $65,000 from former employer, court hears – 15 May 2021
Olivia Rose Rodgers has admitted to stealing $65,000 from Bupa Health Insurance. The court heard the 31-year-old made multiple false insurance claims on behalf of family and friends, but she was the sole beneficiary of the money.
Macquarie magic: How a consultant turned $3000 into $80 million in Nuix float – 19 May 2021
Gaps in the records of tech company Nuix have raised questions about former finance professor Anthony Castagna’s $3000 investment, which he turned into an $80 million windfall. The company may have failed to record Dr Castagna’s $3000 options package that he cashed out for $80 million, when Nuix listed on the sharemarket last December. It also raises questions about whether the company backdated the options.
Police charge woman over $250,000 fraud of not-for-profit treatment centre – 20 May 2021
A woman will face court next month charged by Inner West detectives after she allegedly defrauded a not-for-profit treatment centre of almost $250,000. It is alleged that fraudulent expense forms had been submitted for a patient who had passed away and were allegedly paid into an employee’s bank account.
Warrant issued for conman Peter Foster – 20 May 2021
Serial conman Peter Foster is the subject of an arrest warrant in Queensland after prosecutors in Sydney dropped more than a dozen charges over an alleged multi-million-dollar Bitcoin scam.
Smishing: The new scam fleecing Aussie victims of thousands – 20 May 2021
Australians are being inundated by a new form of scam whereby victims are sent text messages asking for them to share personal details which are then on-sold. The scam involves cyber criminals impersonating legitimate organisations such as banks or delivery companies and request mobile phone users to click a link.
13 stories this week:
Young Aussies are turning to crypto investment to create wealth, but there’s a dark side – 6 May 2021
It seems that more and more people own or plan to buy cryptocurrency by the end of the year. Barney Tan, an Associate Professor of Business Information Systems at the University of Sydney Business School, said the interest in digital currencies is being driven by online hype, rising prices and FOMO. Barney also warns just like with any investment, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Last year there were more than 3,000 cryptocurrency scam reports made to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission worth almost $30 million in losses. https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/young-aussies-crypto-scams/13332674
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AMA sues ex-CEO in $2.4M lawsuit – 7 May 2021
AMA, known as the biggest ‘smash repair’ business in Australia, is suing its former CEO Andy Hopkins over alleged anomalies in his spending. The defendant has been accused of claiming bonuses and incurring expenses inappropriately. The company said the Federal Court aims to secure $2.4m from Hopkins covering unauthorised expenses and a loan.
Top law firm’s invoices exposed to ANZ which employees were cooperating with ASIC investigation – 7 May 2021
During a 2014 investigation into alleged market manipulation, a group of employees at ANZ believed they were secretly giving information to the corporate regulator. What they did not know is that their lawyers, were revealing how much time and contact they had with ASIC, to their employer in invoices. This exposed the methodology behind the anonymisation technique and unmasked those employees who were meeting frequently with ASIC investigators.
Australians targeted by fake myGov email phishing scam – 7 May 2021
Australians are being warned of a new email scam in which hackers pose as myGov employees and then proceed to steal the bank details of unsuspecting victims.
Melbourne man allegedly posing as Uber driver scams $75,000 from unsuspecting passengers – 7 May 2021
Muhammad Umer has been accused of posing as an Uber driver who allegedly preyed on intoxicated revellers and lured them into his car to swipe their credit cards. He has been accused of taking more than $75,000 from 14 alleged victims.
Fraudulent debt collector jailed for almost 5 years – 7 May 2021
The court heard that Robert Cree ran number of debt recovery companies. Investigators found that the business was cold calling organisations, offering debt recovery services following payment of a subscription fee. In most cases, debts were never recovered and no service was provided. In the company’s liquidation, he also impersonated the company’s director to deceive the Official Receiver.
Does your business really need to keep that data? – 8 May 2021
Industry Professor Phillip Magness at Deakin’s Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation, argues businesses should carefully consider how much personal information they keep, given the risks of a data breach. Furthermore, the Australian Privacy Principles require an entity that is bound by the Privacy Act, to take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify personal information, when it is no longer needed for any purpose, for which it was collected.
Rio’s Mozambique ‘whistleblower’ complained of ‘obfuscation’ – 10 May 2021
The former Rio Tinto executive (Preston Chiaro) portrayed as blowing the whistle on the miner’s Mozambique coal scandal, felt he encountered ” obfuscation’ ‘ when he raised evidence in 2012 that the mines valuation was worth much less than its official carrying value.
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Smash-repairer expense claims entangle more AMA executives – 10 May 2021
AMA has alleged that several executives were tied up in illicit payments at Australia’s biggest smash repairer, including dummying up invoices to cover their tracks. The claims are contested by executives tied up in the matter, who maintain they were entitled to payments and the monies were all approved.
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Qld gourmet foodie admits tax scam – 10 May 2021
A gourmet gluten-free foodie was part of a sophisticated multimillion-dollar tax scam to pay for a friend’s luxury mansion has escaped jail. The two acted to defraud the commonwealth of over 3.6 million dollars, by setting up a fake cancer research and development tax offset claim.
Sinister COVID trend sees online love scams target younger victims – 11 May 2021
Australians lost more than $37 million to romance scams in the past year. A younger demographic is now the target of online thieves, as the popularity of dating apps grows with cryptocurrency and investment fraud being the new weapons of choice.
Internal emails reveal WHO knew of sex abuse claims in Congo – 13 May 2021
WHO has been facing widespread public allegations of systemic abuse of women by unnamed staffers in Congo during the Ebola outbreak. Emails, recordings of internal meetings, legal documents and interviews with dozens of aid workers and WHO staffers show WHO declined to comment on any specific sex abuse allegations or how they were managed and said it had taken steps to address the problem.
Crown and Star to phase out cash at all casinos to counter money-laundering fears – 14 May 2021
Australia’s biggest casino operators, Crown Resorts and The Star, have agreed to phase out cash from all of their casinos in an effort to prevent criminals from laundering money through their gaming tables.
15 stories this week:
Anatomy of a hedge fund hack – 28 April 2021
The complexity of scams, and the time and money fraudsters are prepared to invest, highlights a growing threat to smaller financial services firms. Hedge funds and family offices do not spend anywhere near enough on cyber security, which is why they are targets.
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Criminality of Australia’s banking sector going unchecked – 30 April 2021
Dr Evan Jones, a retired political economist shares his opinion on how the financial sector is a natural haven for criminality and that most systematic white-collar crime of Australian banks against borrowers is still ignored by those in authority and by the media.
Whistleblowers are being scared into silence, hampering efforts to expose corruption in Australia, research finds – 30 April 2021
Major flaws with Australia’s whistleblowing protections are scaring whistleblowers into silence and hindering journalists’ efforts to expose corruption, according to jailed journalist Peter Greste and constitutional law scholar Rebecca Ananian-Welsh.
Shifting the focus on CCTV and women’s safety – 30 April 2021
Closed-circuit television cameras on trains and city streets are meant to reassure women that there not in danger – but women don’t always see them that way. Women and girls prefer the presence of security officers and guards to cameras. Until this changes, women will feel vulnerable when moving through public spaces, particularly at night.
Deepfake nudes change the face of cyber threats, revenge porn and scams – 30 April 2021
The rise of deepfake nude technology poses radical new threats to anyone who posts images and videos of themselves on the world’s most popular social media sites. As these tools became more accessible and improved, scammers would inevitably seize on the opportunity to extort bitcoin or money from a victim, by creating a deepfake nude of a victim and threatening to share it online.
Commission welcomes sentencing of children’s cancer charity founder for fraud and theft – 1 May 2021
Mr Nesbitt, the founder and director of a former children’s cancer charity, Little Heroes Cancer Trust, was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment after he was found guilty in March 2021. He stole £87,000 from the charity and transferred £181,000 into a bank account in his name between July 2014 and May 2015.
‘Heartbreaking’: Elderly couple loses $50k in 24 hour scams – 1 May 2021
The Australian Federal Police issued a search warrant in Wollongong, as part of a cybercrime investigation into an alleged fraudulent technical support business. Police allege the business – with a professional website, an Australian 1800 business number and used Microsoft logos – linked Australian victims to offshore scammers, who would request remote access to their computers.
In Indonesia, lab workers arrested, accused of reusing swabs in coronavirus tests – 2 May 2021
Five laboratory workers were arrested in the Indonesian city of Medan and accused of reusing nasal swabs in administering as many as 20,000 tests. They face up to six years in prison for violating consumer protection, medical waste and contagious disease laws.
Whistleblower Richard Boyle’s prosecution continues after he exposed the ATO’s unethical debt collection practices against small businesses – 3 May 2021
Boyle is facing life in prison for his role in exposing unethical debt collection practices inside the ATO. Boyle is relying on the public interest disclosure regime in his response to the alleged offences. 42 of the 66 charges have been dropped to date.
Criminals have already stolen over $100 million from blockchain projects in 2021 – 3 May 2021
Cryptocurrency wallets and exchange accounts have brought criminals around $108.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 – that’s 46% more than in Q1 2020. There were also nine blockchain wallet breaches reported, as well as one scam event and two blackmail cases, which saw victims lose roughly $19.3 million. Due to their nature, blockchain projects remain profitable targets to cybercriminals because fraudulent transactions cannot be reversed, as they may be in the traditional financial system.
New research reveals customer behaviour around fraud risks – 3 May 2021
The majority of efforts organisations make to educate customers about potential fraud risks are not working, according to new research from Callsign, the Fraud Protection and Authorisation company. The research suggests consumers want to make their own decisions around the risks they take, choosing to opt in or out of receiving fraud alerts, even ignoring them when they are delivered.
Coaches must be held accountable: gymnastics whistleblowers speak out – 4 May 2021
A former gymnast hopes individual coaches are held accountable for their role in the abuse that has been rife in Australian gymnastics for decades, detailed in a troubling Australian Human Rights Commission report that was released on 3 May.
Australian Military Bank hit with a direct order – 4 May 2021
The financial intelligence regulator issued the Australian Military Bank, with an enforcement action designed to ensure the bank is compliant with anti-money laundering laws and stop it from being compromised by criminals.
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Corporate whistleblower policies falling short: ASIC – 4 May 2021
The corporate watchdog is urging companies to update their whistleblower protection policies, after finding many firms had not kept up with laws aimed at supporting staff who raise the alarm.
Scammers prey on Victorians amid scramble for rental properties – 5 May 2021
Victorians desperate to secure rental properties are being preyed upon by scammers posing as landlords on Facebook. Consumer Affairs Victoria recorded 31 reports of rental scams last financial year and said some scammers were showing renters properties they had no right to rent out. In other instances, people are asked to hand over rent and bonds for properties they have never inspected.
12 stories this week:
Bank protections against cryptocurrency scams in Australia ‘ a very shaky area’ – 22 April 2021
Australians are losing tens of millions of dollars a year in crypto currency scams. A Sydney woman Sylvia Chau, who lost $2.6 million after investing via an unlicensed unregulated cryptocurrency broker in 2019, took her case to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority which found that, while the bank did make some procedural errors, ultimately the disputed transactions were authorised so the bank was not liable.
90-year-old woman loses $41 million to alleged phone scam con – 23 April 2021
A wealthy 90-year-old woman was conned out of $A41 million in the region’s biggest recorded phone scam. Criminals posed as Chinese authorities and told her that her identity was used in a serious criminal case in mainland China. She was then instructed to transfer her money to designated bank accounts to investigate whether the cash was the proceeds of crime.
Trader flees Turkey with $2b in crypto scam – 23 April 2021
One of Turkey’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges said it lacked the financial strength to continue operations, leaving hundreds of thousands of investors fearing their savings have evaporated as authorities sought to locate the company’s 27-year-old founder, who fled the country.
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ASIC sees “significant number” of cryptocurrency scam concerns – 23 April 2021
ASIC is seeing an increasing number of complaints related to cryptocurrency scams, forcing it to deepen its understanding of blockchain technology. Industry support will also play a key part in how consumers are educated on potential scams that reach beyond ASIC. https://www.itnews.com.au/news/asic-sees-significant-number-of-cryptocurrency-scam-concerns-563711
Founder of Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Thodex flees with reported $US2 billion in investor assets – 24 April 2021
Turkish prosecutors have opened an investigation after the Istanbul-based founder of a cryptocurrency exchange shut down his site and fled the country with a reported $US2 billion ($2.6 billion) in investors’ assets.
IOOF promises ‘remedial action’ after ASIC investigation of Bridges, RI Advice – 26 April 2021
IOOF has committed to taking remedial action against its Bridges Financial Services and RI Advice licensees, after an investigation by the corporate regulator revealed “deficiencies” with the groups’ supervision processes and the quality of advice provided.
Mystery over 43 corruption allegations made by Sydney Water employees – 26 April 2021
Sydney Water has recently experienced 45 complaints and dozens of allegations of serious wrongdoing or corrupt conduct made by its employees. There are also a large increase in numbers of whistleblower complaints by employees of NSW Health and Fire and Rescue NSW.
62-year-old man charged over $845,000 ATO investigation – 28 April 2021
‘Phoenixing’ refers to the deliberate act of building up debts in a business and stealing profits, before winding up the company and starting up a new one under a different name. An investigation led by the Australian Taxation Office has resulted in a 62-year-old man being charged over illegal ‘phoenix’ activity that saw the Commonwealth lose $845,066.
Anatomy of a hedge fund hack – 28 April 2021
The complexity of scams, and the time and money fraudsters are prepared to invest, highlight a growing threat to smaller financial services firms.
(Access to digital version of AFR required.)
NAB controls ‘not adequate’ to prevent multimillion-dollar fraud – 29 April 2021
The bank detailed to a parliamentary committee how a top staff member (Rosemary Rogers) was able to get away with a multimillion-dollar fraud, conceding that its ordinary compliance controls did not at the time extend to the office of the chief executive.
NAB said following the detection of Ms Rogers’ fraud, it had undertaken an internal audit of third-party vendor selection and contract management in the CEO’s office and tightened due diligence on its supplier management processes.
Illegal football streaming sites are absolutely riddled with dangerous malware – 29 April 2021
According to a report from cybersecurity firm Webroot, almost all (92%) illegal football streaming websites contain some form of malicious content, from malware and phishing lures to social engineering scams
Prosecutors refuse to drop case against tax office whistleblower Richard Boyle – 29 April 2021
Director of public prosecutions was considering ending pursuit of ex-ATO employee who went public with concerns about debt recovery tactics. Prosecutors on Thursday indicated, however, that they would be proceeding with their case, which could bring a lengthy jail stint for Boyle.