News and Analysis
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Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 2 June 2023
11 stories this week:
Judge sentences WA bookkeeper Kathleen Griffiths to more than three years jail over $750k theft – 29 May 2023
Kathleen Margaret Griffith, a 54-year-old bookkeeper has been sentenced to three years and four months jail for stealing nearly $750,000 from two employers over more than a decade. It appeared to be compulsive behaviour that had developed into a habit, and Griffiths was unaware of just how much she had taken.
PwC orders nine partners to go on leave amid tax scandal fallout – 29 May 2023
PwC has directed nine of its partners to take leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation into the leaking of confidential Australian government tax changes for large multinational corporations. The firm also announced that the chairs of its governance board and designated risk committee are stepping down, with two independent non-executive directors to be appointed to the governance board. PwC will also “ring fence” its provision of services to the federal government, with a standalone executive and governance board to oversee those operations from September onwards.
Adelaide’s SkyCity casino is coming under increasing scrutiny – here’s a look at why – 29 May 2023
South Australian authorities have just ramped up monitoring of the state’s only licensed casino, amid allegations of serious and systemic non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. Dini Soulio, South Australia’s Liquor and Gambling Commissioner, has asked the casino to prepare a “program of work” for the commissioner, outlining what it’s doing to meet its regulatory obligations, including anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and gambling-related harm minimisation responsibilities.
Crown Resorts and AUSTRAC agree to $450 million fine over money laundering breaches – 30 May 2023
Crown Resorts and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) have agreed to a $450 million penalty over historical breaches of Australia’s anti-money laundering laws at its Melbourne and Perth casinos.
Crown’s CEO says the company is committed to rectifying its past “failingsThe $450 million penalty will require the final approval of the Federal Court in July.
Psychic scams are swindling Australians out of thousands of dollars, but no one is going after the culprits – 30 May 2023
According to ScamWatch, the amount extorted from Australians via psychic scams more than doubled between 2020 and 2022, jumping from $230,273 to $555,240. A psychic scam doesn’t involve a psychic making an inaccurate prediction. The psychic scam follows a specific pattern: and it all starts with a “curse”. They groom the vulnerable person to suspend their critical thinking at a low point in their lives and get them hooked on the scam.
Elizabeth Holmes enters Texas prison to begin 11-year sentence for notorious Theranos blood-testing hoax – 31 May 2023
Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to 135 months prison for defrauding investors in her blood testing startup. Holmes admitted making mistakes at Theranos, but denied committing crimes during the trial. She will serve the sentence at a minimum security prison in Texas.
Estimates reveal 435 Chinese-made surveillance devices found at defence sites – 31 May 2023
Hundreds of Chinese-made surveillance cameras have been found at defence sites across Australia, well above the initial estimate of just one. Under Chinese national security law the Chinese Communist Party could request any of the surveillance material to be handed over. Government Defence is now working through a process of completely removing the devices from all sites by June 30.
Amazon to pay $38 million settlement over allegations of hoarding children’s data – 1 June 2023
Amazon has agreed to pay a $38 million civil penalty to settle the US Federal Trade Commission’s allegations it violated a child privacy law and deceived parents, by keeping for years children’s voice and location data, recorded by its popular Alexa, voice assistant. Amazon also has to overhaul its data deletion practices and impose stricter, more transparent privacy measures.
Mining giant BHP admits underpaying almost 30,000 Australian workers – 1 June 2023
Mining giant BHP has admitted it has underpaid almost 30,000 workers, dating back to 2010, and it will cost more than $400 million to make amends. BHP said a review suggested rostered employees in Australia had their leave incorrectly deducted on public holidays since 2010. It says it’s working to rectify the issue as quickly as possible for 28,500 workers.
Trust fund scam swindles agent and conveyancers ou t of $100k+ – 1 June 2023
Property professionals are being advised to exercise extra vigilance following a bank impersonation scam that collectively duped three Western Australian real estate and settlement agents out of over $100,000. The victims received a phone call from scammers posing as an authorised person from NAB and were told that a recent payment they had made from their trust account, had been blocked as it appeared suspicious or hadn’t gone through and the account needed to be reset. Article emphasises the importance of never disclosing personal details or access codes over the phone, even if the caller appears legitimate.
SA man charged for scamming $700k from elderly victims with non-existent scheme – 2 June 2023
An 80 year old South Australian financial planner has been arrested for deceiving six elderly people out of $700,000 with investment schemes that did not exist.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 28 May 2023
11 stories this week:
Intelligence firm warns of scams involving AI “deep fake” voices – 24 May 2023
AI has made it easier for scammers to fool consumers and employees, with “deep fake” voice technology allowing criminals to impersonate companies, government agencies, and even family members. The outlook for voice cloning and its use in particular in banking fraud, disinformation, social engineering, copyright infringement, and more is bleak if we do not immediately adopt an industry-wide approach to mitigating associated risks.
The importance of being prepared for an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investigation – 24 May 2023
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policy remains an evolving field peppered with numerous issues, complexities and nuances. The article discusses the growing prospect of being subjected to an ESG investigation and the challenges it brings for organisations.
Cyber criminals are exploiting out-of-office emails to scam small businesses – 24 May 2023
Cybercriminals are using increasingly sophisticated means to fool business owners and staff, funnelling significant sums into fraudulent bank accounts. The federal government has committed $23.4 million to the Cyber Wardens initiative. This article details simple steps to boost small business cyber security.
Money mules are involved in the majority of scam reports, ACCC says – 24 May 2023
Jenny lost almost $300,000 to an elaborate scam using 11 ‘money mules’ who were involved in shifting her money offshore. Often recruited through job ads, money mules have become a big part of the scamming economy as they are out of the reach of law enforcement. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Catriona Lowe says they are a huge part of the scamming economy, which fleeced people of $3.1 billion last year.
How global organisations are combatting identity fraud – 24 May 2023
According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, the annual economic impact of identity crime is upwards of $3.1 billion. The need for digital identity verification tools has been growing for years, particularly in Australia with the uptake of digital services like telehealth appointments, online learning and applying for government benefits online, but major companies need to catch up by improving their digital checks and balances.
Melissa Caddick is dead, coroner confirms, but nature of her demise remains unknown – 25 May 2023
The NSW Coroner has found alleged Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick is dead but says it’s not possible to draw conclusions about how or where she died. ASIC had been investigating an alleged Ponzi scheme run by Ms Caddick and an inquest into her suspected death heard investors lost between $20 and $30 million. At the time her home was raided, authorities suspected she had stolen in excess of $23 million.
Sydney entrepreneur Andrew Spira denied bail in NT court after allegedly attempting to obtain illegal passport to flee the country – 24 May 2023
Andrew Spira, a “wealthy” entrepreneur who breached his interstate bail conditions to travel to the Northern Territory and allegedly attempted to fraudulently obtain a new passport to flee the country has been denied bail. He is charged by NT Police with a range of offences including using and possessing false documents, possessing an unlicensed firearm, drug possession and obtaining property by deception.
Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh indicted over allegations he stole money from family of dead housekeeper – 25 May 2023
Richard “Alex” Murdaugh, already convicted of murdering his wife and son, has been indicted on 22 counts of financial fraud, including charges involving the death of his housekeeper. It is alleged that the personal injury lawyer defrauded more than $5.2 million from an insurance settlement meant for the family of his housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield. The case attracted huge interest from around the world, and featured in a Netflix documentary.
PwC agrees to ‘stand down’ staff who knew about Treasury tax leak from government contracts – 25 May 2023
PwC has agreed to an order to “stand down” any staff who knew about Treasury tax leaks from working on any existing or future government contracts. The Government Finance deppartment asked suppliers to agree to a clause that would allow contracts to be terminated over poor handling of a breach. Police are continuing to investigate.
NSW Crime Commission to review Alex Greenwich allegations of ‘constrains’ on money laundering report – 26 May 2023
The NSW Crime Commission (NCC) has ordered staff to review allegations that its landmark report into money laundering through poker machines may have been “compromised”. Independent MP Alex Greenwich has now raised concerns about the accuracy of the data on money laundering, saying he had been told “the full extent” may not be reflected in the report. Among the allegations were that some pubs and clubs had been “tipped off” about upcoming compliance checks.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 18 May 2023
11 stories this week:
Serial fraudster jailed for $8.7m luxury car scam using stolen IDs – 12 May 2023
A serial fraudster has been jailed for five-and-a-half years after he ran over a police officer to avoid capture, for stealing more than $8.7m in a swindle involving luxury cars and stolen identities. Ryan O’Hara, also known as Christian Nassar, pleaded guilty to 19 fraud charges related to his staggering scam. He made 90 successful applications for fraudulent financial loans totalling more than $8.7m between 2015 and 2019 and assumed the identities of 147 “unknowing people in the community” to apply for the large motor vehicle loans.
Glamorous daughter of Sydney developer fronts court over alleged $150m fraud – 15 May 2023
Ashlyn Nassif, the lawyer daughter of embattled property developer Jean Nassif has fronted court as she faces allegations she used fraudulent contracts to get a $150m loan. She was arrested earlier this year following a police raid on four properties, including the offices of her law firm EA Legal, and charged with dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception and publishing false or misleading material. The 27-year-old is accused of submitting fake contracts to meet a $10.5m pre-sale condition for the Sky View apartments in Castle Hill in Sydney’s northwest.
Australian cybercrime expert Ken Gamble lands billion-dollar Malasyia bust – 15 May 2023
NSW-based investigator Ken Gamble stated that after three years, investigators had finally cracked the elaborate boiler room scam, which used high-intensity sales tactics through call centres to persuade investors to buy shares in fake companies.
National anti-scams centre set to open in July, as Australians lose billions to fraudsters – 15 May 2023
A national anti-scams centre is being established to help combat scams and online fraud, after Australians reported losing billions of dollars to fraudsters last year. The new initiative will change the way scams are dealt with by: facilitating faster responses to scam reports, establishing “fusion shells” – described as a “hit squad” of experts from industry and law enforcement to act on scam trends; and introducing a “white list” of approved phone numbers, with SMS messages will be blocked unless they’re from an authorised agency.
WA department at Centre of ‘record public sector fraud’ rocked by new claims – 16 May 2023
WA’s Department of Communities is at the centre of controversy, following an investigation into alleged corruption between contractors and employees at the state body. Two men are facing corruption charges after a WA government employee allegedly awarded a contractor millions of dollars of work in exchange for cash and a luxury car.
Australian banks announce new scam-busting tool to safeguard your money – 17 May 2023
The new Fraud Reporting Exchange (FRX) platform is set to be a total game changer for combating scams and protecting customer finances. The Australian Banking Association (ABA) announced the new platform which will allow the “reporting of scam payments in close to real-time, boosting the likelihood that funds can be frozen and returned to customers.”
Westpac bans transfers to world’s largest crypto exchange Binance – 18 May 2023
Westpac, one of Australia’s ‘Big Four’ banks, is launching its first trial of scam protection measures designed to combat fraudulent activities related to cryptocurrencies. The protection measures aim to mitigate losses from scams and reduce potential risks. It has banned customers from transferring funds to the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, in a move aimed at reducing losses from scams.
Bitumen ‘con men’ targeting regional Australia leaving victims with shoddy work, big bills – 18 May 2023
Rural and regional residents are being warned of a bitumen driveway resurfacing scam whereby con men believed to be travelling across Australia are promising cheap concrete and bitumen work and delivering a poor and incomplete product.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 12 May 2023
11 stories this week:
How ChatGPT Could Worsen the ‘Scam Pandemic’ – 8 May 2023
Unfortunately, scammers have seen the potential of ChatGPT and have began exploring ways to use the AI chatbot to generate malware. ChatGPT’s remarkable capacity to mimic the language style of specific organisations and institutions enable scammers to create highly detailed and realistic copies, which they could use to create scam messages or fake websites. This makes generating scam messages a low-effort, high-reward endeavor, leading to even more challenging detection and discernment of phishing and impersonation scams.
Feds get serious about scams and investment fraud – 9 May 2023
Amid ballooning digital fraud, $87 million is to be spent on a new National Anti-Scam Centre, take-down functions for investor scams and an SMS sender registry to stop fraudsters from acting as government agencies. The National Anti-Scam Centre will be based within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It will aim to improve data sharing on scams across government and the private sector, establishing “public-private sector fusion cells” to target specific scam issues.
Man who committed $105 million tax fraud cannot be sentenced due to unpaid legal fees – 9 May 2023
Adam Cranston, who siphoned $105 million from taxpayers in one of the most serious tax frauds ever prosecuted in Australia, cannot be sentenced until commonwealth and state authorities decide who will pay about $50,000 in legal fees. He was the architect of the Plutus Payroll conspiracy, which funneled money away from the tax office for years while his father, cleared of wrongdoing in 2019, was the deputy commissioner.
Police allege ‘mum-and-dad’ investors targeted by Sydney businessman in alleged $24 million fraud – 10 May 2023
Vincenzo Vocisano, a Sydney businessman has been charged with allegedly defrauding “mum-and-dad” investors of more than $24 million, which he allegedly spent on gambling platforms. Mr Vocisano was charged with one count of dishonestly oobtaining a financial advantage by deception and is yet to enter a plea.
Power Ledger-linked crypto exchange files for bankruptcy – 10 May 2023
Bittrex, a cryptocurrency trading platform that generated $ 1.9 billion revenue, filed for bankruptcy on Monday after being sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for allegedly operating as an illegal stock exchange. In a lawsuit that triggered the bankruptcy filing, the SEC cited Bittrex’s decision to allow customers to trade in crypto tokens issued by Perth-based Power Ledger as evidence that it deliberately avoided regulation.
Growing Trends in Whistleblowing Compliance Landscape – 10 May 2023
Great article outlining that whistleblower protection programs have evolved rapidly in the last five to six years and this trend is likely to continue as more countries propose to introduce regulatory requirements, actively pursue enforcement and also, enhance the rewards offered to whistleblowers. Disscusion on use of AI and how company leadership sets the tone for how any compliance program is received by its employees.
Banks say ‘consent fatigue’ among risks in privacy reform – 10 May 2023
The federal government’s privacy law reforms will create “consent fatigue” as customers are bombarded with messages from lenders seeking permission for things such as making basic payments, while also making it harder to develop new products and tackle fraud, the banks say. The new laws will create a historic shift in privacy rules in favour of citizens following high-profile misuse of data by big tech platforms, various data breaches and concerns about data collection practices from business and government.
Briton pleads guilty in US to 2020 Twitter hack – 10 May 2023
Joseph James O’Connor, a British national extradited to the US last month has pleaded guilty in New York to a role in one of the biggest hacks in social media history. The July 2020 Twitter hack affected over 130 accounts including those of Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Republican George Santos decries federal charges as ‘witch hunt’ amid claims of theft, fraud – 11 May 2023
US Republican George Santos, infamous for fabricating his life story, has pleaded not guilty to charges he duped donors, stole from his campaign and lied to Congress about being a millionaire, all while cheating to collect unemployment benefits he didn’t deserve. He said he’s been cooperating with the investigation and vowed to fight the prosecution, which he labelled a “witch hunt”.
White-Collar Crime: Definition, Categories, Evolution and Notable Cases – 11 May 2023
This article endeavours to define what is regarded as white collar crime and explores a portion of the multitude of white-collar crimes through the ages including those by government. It will also discuss the aspect of how it is no longer regarded as a crime without violence and will list examples of historical cases, after first discussing the origin of this criminal act and other colours of collared crime.
Damien Luscombe Charged For Allegedly Ripping Off Music Clients – 12 May 2023
Damien Luscombe, a music industry accountant has been charged with a range of offences including obtaining financial advantage by deception and using false documents. In total, he has been charged with 22 offences relating to the alleged embezzlement of $2.2 million. His high profile clients include Amy Shark, Peking Duck and Julia Stone.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 6 May 2023
12 stories this week:
Employee Fraud and unexpected tax implications – 28 April 2023
Employee Fraud can have far-reaching negative consequences for victim businesses, including on finances, reputation and staff morale. What many clients don’t often consider is the taxation implications. The article covers common questions relating to Employee Fraud and discusses the serious tax implications these incidents can have on your business.
PNG climate change officials accused of skimming $2 million in public funds – 28 April 2023
Senior staff at the government body responsible for carrying out Papua New Guinea’s climate change response, are facing major criminal proceedings, after the alleged misappropriation of more than $2 million. Finance manager Ivan Aipi faces 35 charges, including illegally executing cheques for the benefit of his boss and associates.
Helping to win the battle to curb SMS and voice fraud – 2 May 2023
Australians lost over $2 Billion to scams in 2021, according to the ACCC. In 50% of those cases nationwide, the initial contact with the victim was made by phone, with text messages as the second most prevalent contact method (23%). This article looks at what Service Provider industries and businesses are doing to combat the scourge of phone and text-based scams and slow down or stop the fraud activity before it can start.
Man charged after allegedly used stolen identities to defraud $47K in Covid grants: police – 2 May 2023
A man will face court after allegedly fraudulently claiming more than $47k worth of Covid-19 grants by using stolen identities. He was charged with more than 118 charges including 70 counts of possessing identify information to commit an indictable offence.
Fake ‘Australian Bankers’ call centre scam busted in India – 3 May 2023
Mumbai Police recently said that they have busted a fake call centre, arresting around 50 people. Police Authorities commenced a forensic examination of the computers and revealed that young employees were trained to receive calls from unsuspecting bank customers from Australia. Employees allegedly extracted sensitive personal details and security information.
Disturbing dashcam shows woman jump in front of car in suspected ‘insurance fraud’ incident – 3 May 2023
Disturbing dashcam footage has captured the moment a woman appears to leap in front of a car south of Brisbane before the driver speeds away, suspecting an “insurance fraud incident” – or worse. Police attended the location but were unable to locate those involved. No formal complaint has been made, however investigations are ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Hundreds of charges dropped over WA’s biggest ever public fraud – 5 May 2023
Public prosecutors have dropped 542 charges against a Perth physiotherapist, which had followed one of the state’s biggest ever public corruption scandals.
Jacob Anthonisz, 45, had been charged over allegations he helped former Department of Communities bureaucrat Paul Whyte steal $27 million in taxpayer money. It was the Department of Public Prosecutions’ decision to discontinue the case as ‘it was not in the public interest to continue’.
IOUpay’s administration disputed after $19m fraud allegations – 5 May 2023
ASX-listed BNPL company IOUpay has entered voluntary administration after the discovery of an alleged $19 million fraud scandal involving former CFO Kenneth Kuan and Western Australian mining businessman Anthony Dunlop. Dunlop is also facing allegations made by ASIC that he used his position as director of Capital Mining, to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in dishonest payments to both himself and others.
Facebook and WhatsApp owner urged by UK bank to act on fraud as scams soar – 5 May 2023
Meta has been urged to take action to protect customers from fraud, after US bank TSB said scams via the social media company’s platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram have soared. Research shows these platforms account for 80% of cases within three largest fraud categories: impersonation, purchase and investment.
Patrick Willmott jailed over his role in $105 million Plutus Payroll tax fraud scheme – 5 May 2023
A man who pocketed nearly half a million dollars through the Plutus Payroll tax fraud has been sentenced to a maximum of nine years in prison. More than $31 million that should have gone to the tax office was instead diverted to the co-conspirators, and his own direct financial benefit was $498,272.Five people have been found guilty over the fraud which cost the ATO $105 million
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 28 April 2023
12 stories this week:
Scammers steal millions from Australians each year, but victims have little recourse – 21 April 2023
A woman who lost thousands to a scam said NAB treated her poorly, while the other bank blocked the scammers. ASIC says, the banking industry has no consistent approach for helping scam victims. Advocates want to make banks liable for scam losses, but the industry has rejected this.
Alexander Maconochie Centre detainees under investigation over alleged fraudulent transactions – 21 April 2023
Police are investigating allegations detainees at Canberra’s jail were able to defraud a man of thousands of dollars while incarcerated. ACT Corrective Services told the victim, it’s a “known issue” within Canberra’s jail.
Heidi Barrat avoids jail after pleading guilty to mouse plague relief rebate fraud – 24 April 2023
A woman who fraudulently claimed $60,000 in mouse plague relief funds to fuel her gambling addiction has avoided jail time. She applied for the fund 120 times, using different bank accounts and email addresses for each claim. She has been sentenced to a two-year intensive corrections order, 300 hours of community service and must repay the funds.
Unsuspecting unis caught up in foreign research ‘fraud’ – 26 April 2023
Identity theft, plagiarism, fake journals, pseudo editors: the academic publishing world is rife with misbehavior. An activist in the research misconduct and fraud space for many years says that misbehaviour in academic publishing was being driven by predatory publishers, that made money from academics paying to have their paper included in journals, and the fact that promotions are usually based on, among other things, the number of papers an academic has had published.
IOUpay goes broke after $19m suspected Malaysian fraud – 26 April 2023
Payments minnow IOUpay has been placed into administration after a $19 million suspected fraud involving a Malaysian executive and a persistent legal battle drained its finances. Former chief financial officer Kenneth Kuan Choon Hsuing allegedly used the IOUpay treasury to make about $7 million of loans to businesses connected to himself, his wife and other former employees.
Gold Coast couple never legally owned home they purchased at auction, court ruling finds – 27 April 2023
In March 2018, a couple purchased a house at a mortgagee auction for $1.265 million and have been living in it. What they didn’t know when they bought the property, was that the owner had alleged the house had been unlawfully mortgaged as security for a loan by a relative, who later defaulted. A handwriting expert gave evidence during the trial that the owners signature had been forged on the loan documents. The court found the couple did not have a legal interest in the home, because they were not able to register the title but were entitled to recover $2,751,666.32 from the mortgagees who sold the house for breach of contract.
Crown Casino’s bank cheque practice likely ‘resulted in criminal infiltration’, gambling watchdog finds – 27 April 2023
Crown Casino has been fined $30 million by Victoria’s gambling watchdog for allowing punters to cash bank cheques made out to themselves, exacerbating gambling harm and likely aiding “criminal infiltration by money launderers”. The commission estimates more than $1.5 billion worth of cheques could have been involved in the practice between 1994 and 2021.
Steve Bannon associate sentenced to jail for fraud over Donald Trump’s border wall – 28 April 2023
US Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, an ex-associate of Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, has been sentenced to more than four years in prison, after admitting to conspiring to defraud donors to a campaign to build a wall along the US-Mexican border promised by the former president. The court heard Kolfage took more than $530,000 and spent it on boat payments, jewellery and cosmetic surgery.
New funding to crack down on NDIS fraud syndicates – 28 April 2023
Syndicates ripping off the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be targeted in a fraud crackdown. Some of the syndicates have targeted people with false information on how the NDIS operates, some using the promise of cash or vouchers. The 50 million in funding will ensure the agency has the capability to address fraud and non-compliance.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 21 April 2023
12 stories this week:
Sydney man accused of accepting money for selling national security information – 14 April 2023
The AFP has been charged a NSW man with a foreign interference offence, after he allegedly accepted money in exchange for information about national security issues. It is alleged the Australian man compiled reports for the officers, and received payment for them. The 55-year-old businessman was arrested at his Bondi home and will appear in court.
Catalytic converter thefts on the rise in Australia as rare metal values climb – 16 April 2023
There has been an increase in catalytic converter thefts in Australia. Thieves steal converters from a car’s exhaust system as they contain precious metals. Automotive industry groups want harsher penalties and better devices to stop the thefts.
ACC calls for united front as scammers steal over $3bn from Australians – 17 April 2023
The latest Targeting Scams report has revealed Australians lost a record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022, as government, law enforcement and the private sector look to improve collaborative efforts to support the community in the fight against scams. This is an 80 per cent increase on total losses recorded in 2021. Investment scams were the highest loss category ($1.5 billion), followed by remote access scams ($229 million) and payment redirection scams ($224 million).
New AFP headquarters to solve crime faster – 17 April 2023
Criminal investigations are becoming more complex as offenders take advantage of advances in technology. The AFP new Victorian headquarters will have the technology to stay ahead of criminals. The upgraded facilities, ensure the AFP is equipped to deploy at a moment’s notice to fight crime. They are backed by specialists, with the latest technology to process and analyse vast amounts of information, in real-time to identify patterns in criminal activity to ensure focussed disruption efforts.
Chatting with a hacker – 17 April 2023
The people behind the cyber attacks on Australia are highly organised criminal gangs, often based in Russia, with dozens of employees and even HR departments. Security researchers have linked the Medibank attack to REvil – one of the most successful cyber gangs of all time. With the help of researchers, a conversation was held with a hacker who says he’s worked for them.
Former Gold Coast property promoter jailed for scamming millions of dollars from pensioners – 17 April 2023
A former Gold Coast property promoter who scammed nearly $2 million from investors – most of them pensioners – has been jailed for more than eight years for fraud. Investors, including pensioners, were owed more than $9 million when Mr Silver’s companies went into liquidation.
Why accused criminals are challenging evidence in Sydney from one of the world’s biggest police stings – 18 April 2023
A landmark committal hearing for more than 50 people is being held in a Sydney court this week, with the group challenging the crucial source of evidence used by investigators involved in Operation Ironside, the AN0M app. It is alleged black-market phones installed with the so-called “Trojan horse” app were being passed around the underworld from 2018 in the belief they were off the police radar. The group of alleged bikies and criminals’ lawyers will explore whether that evidence was legally intercepted.
Save the Children report shines light on child rights violations in Australia’s youth justice system – 19 April 2023
Widespread child rights abuses in Australia’s youth justice system have detailed in a new ”Save the Children report”, which calls for an urgent nationwide overhaul to ensure better outcomes both for children and the community. The report reveals every Australian state and territory jurisdiction has a long way to go to uphold the rights of children across the areas of policing, bail and remand, diversion, court processes, sentencing practices, and detention. WA, QLD and the NT were the worst offenders when it comes to violating the rights of children in youth justice facilities.
AI called upon as cyber crime surpasses human capability – 19 April 2023
The cyber crime industry has already evolved beyond human capability and is increasingly seeing the adoption of artificial intelligence models to help stop bad threat actors from stealing sensitive data. Jonathan Jackson, BlackBerry’s Asia Pacific and Japan director of engineering, said the adoption of AI to fight cyber crime has been a long time coming.
‘It was instantaneous’: Chasing the crypto – 21 April 2023
It is the ultimate in cyber-chess. The crooks are constantly looking for a weakness to exploit while the cops are searching for a weakness in the criminal organisations’ defences. Cyber-cop Detective Sergeant Dion Achtypis lists some key facts. Australia has the second-highest concentration of dark net drug traffickers in the world, just behind the Netherlands. A staggering $50 billion of bitcoin changed hands in the past 24 hours. The World Economic Forum lists cyberattack and data theft in its top 10 risks, between extreme weather events and armed conflict. Sixty per cent of human communication is data-based.
Victoria to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12, youth advocates push for 14 – 21 April 2023
Victoria will raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12, a decision advocates say ignores international best practices and will not improve child welfare. Advocates say the age needs to be raised further to 14 in order to protect children.
Optus lawsuit a ‘wake-up call’ to corporate Australia – 21 April 2023
A class action representing 100,000 people against Optus over a massive data breach has begun. While Optus has said no customers fell victim to financial loss or crime as a result of the hack, the law firm argues privacy is essentially priceless, and “time is money” after people were forced to take multiple steps to protect themselves after their information was stolen.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 14 April 2023
9 stories this week:
Former Courgette chef James Mussillon jailed for money laundering and perjury – 11 April 2023
A renowned Canberra chef has been sent back to jail for laundering hundreds of thousands of dollars through his restaurant for an alleged drug dealer, as well as perjury and dishonesty charges. The court heard that Mussillon pretended that his co-accused was an employee at the restaurant, and laundered more than $350,000 disguised as payments for work, over a period of about five years. James Mussillon pleaded guilty to five charges, including one of perjury, last year.
Sydney family lose $200k life-savings in Suncorp spoofing scam – 11 April 2023
The Sydney family are “devastated” by the disappearance of almost $250,000 and can’t afford groceries and even face having to sell their home. Scammers are making it appear as if customers are receiving communication from the bank’s number. The victims believe Suncorp’s security process appeared “inadequate” and also claims the fraud department told him the hackers “were a step ahead” of the bank.
Next step in $36.5m investment scheme fraud case – 12 April 2023
Chris Marco allegedly defrauded nine investors out of $36.5m between July 2013 and October 2018 through an unregistered investment scheme, with at least one investor conned out of $10m. The charges stem from an ASIC investigation into Mr Marco and his company AMS Holdings (WA) Pty Ltd. He was also banned from carrying on a financial services business without an Australian Financial Services Licence.
Theranos’s Elizabeth Holmes loses bid to stay out of prison during appeal of sentence – 12 April 2023
A US district judge has denied Elizabeth Holmes’s bid to remain free on bail while her lawyers try to appeal her November prison sentence. The Theranos founder will have to surrender to authorities on April 27 to start the more than 11-year jail term. It comes 10 months after a jury found her guilty on four counts of fraud and conspiracy against the Theranos investors.
Homeowner wins fire dispute after insurer alleges fraud – 13 April 2023
A claimant whose property was severely damaged by fire will be compensated after successfully challenging an insurer’s decision to decline the claim over allegations of fraud. The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) accepted that there was reasonable cause for the insurer to investigate the claim, but said there was insufficient evidence to show that the fire was deliberately lit. It required the insurer to accept the claim and award the homeowner $2000 for non-financial losses caused by the insurer’s handling of the claim as well as a $5000 contribution to his legal costs.
Australian court bans social media influencer ‘ASX Wolf’ from giving financial advice – 13 April 2023
Queensland justice Kylie Downes has issued an order forbidding Tyson Robert Scholz from hosting paid online groups in which messages are exchanged about share trades without an Australian Financial Services Licence.
Trump spends day in New York under questioning in state civil fraud case – 14 April 2023
Forrmer U.S. President Donald Trump returned to New York to answer questions under oath on Thursday in a $250 million business fraud lawsuit brought against him by the state attorney general. The lawsuit claims Trump, three of his adult children and others participated in a decade-long scheme to manipulate property values and his net worth to obtain favorable loans and tax and insurance benefits.
How to stop internal fraud – 14 April 2023
Forensic accounting and corporate investigations firm Warfield and Associates investigated 102 cases in Australia between 2012 and 2022, revealing more than $350 million was stolen by internal fraud. The research from the report discovered that ‘lifestyle improvement’ was the main motivating factor in 44 cases (43%) while gambling addiction was responsible for another 39 cases (38%). Article aslo explains signs to watch out for and controls and checks to prevent internal fraud.
Government pledges to find ways to stop technology-facilitated abuse – 15 April 2023
The Australian Office of the eSafety commissioner says nearly all victims of domestic and family violence – more than 99 per cent of them – have experienced technology-facilitated abuse. The federal government has pledged to tackle the issue, announcing a grants program which aims to put a stop to that technology-based abuse.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 9 April 2023
9 stories this week:
Bank impersonation scams robbing Australians of their life savings – 30 March 2023
Scammers are using new technology to trick their victims, by making the call appear to come from the bank’s legitimate phone number or by sending a text that appears in the same conversation thread as genuine bank messages. Scamwatch received 14,603 reports about bank impersonation scams in 2022, resulting in more than $20 million in losses. Total losses to phone and text scams increased significantly last year, with over $169 million lost.
US accuses Fugees rapper of illegal lobbying with Malaysian financier Jho Low – 31 March 2023
A US prosecutor has accused Grammy Award-winning rapper Prakazrel “Pras” Michel of The Fugees hip hop group of illegally taking tens of millions of dollars to lobby the US government on behalf of a Malaysian financier and the Chinese government. Michel is being tried on 11 criminal counts, including lobbying schemes to influence the administrations of former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Whistleblower laws under scrutiny after being tested in court – and failing – 3 April 2023
Australia’s current whistleblower protection laws have been tested in court and found to be no defence for public servants accused of high-level breaches. Richard Boyle used the federal Public Interest Disclosure Act to ask for 23 of the 24 charges against him to be dropped, but his request was denied. The Federal Government has wanted whistleblower laws strengthened in time for the new National Anti-Corruption Commission to start operating.
Shipbuilder Austal sinks on former U.S. executives’ indictment for financial fraud – 3 April 2023
Australian shipbuilder Austal Ltd shares went down after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) charged three former employees for “allegedly making or causing to be made false and misleading statements about Austal USA’s performance and financial condition between 2012 and 2016. The company since then has announced a write-back to adjust its revenue and profit, settled an investigation by Australia’s securities regulator, and conducted its own investigation into the matter, which resulted in the resignation of the president of Austal USA.
Up to $3 billion in taxpayer money lost to Medicare fraud and non-compliance annually, government review finds – 4 April 2023
Between $1.5 billion to $3 billion is being lost to Medicare fraud and non-compliance every year, according to an independent review that warns the overly-complex system is out of date and risks bleeding more taxpayer money.
‘Down Under Barbie’ Skye Louise Rivers faces string of fraud charges – 5 April 2023
Instagram influencer Skye Louise Rivers is yet to enter an official plea on more than 150 charges of fraud related to what police allege was a “sophisticated” scheme of using other people’s information to open bank accounts and set up lines of credit for two years.
Donald Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony fraud charges over alleged hush money payments during 2016 election campaign – 5 April 2023
Donald Trump has been formally charged with falsifying his business records in a bid to hide damaging information during the 2016 presidential election. The charges relate to alleged payments made during his 2016 presidential campaign. He pleaded not guilty to all counts, and was released without a requirement to post bail.
Allegations of $150,000 fraud result in woman arrested in Yass – 6 April 2023
A Yass woman was charged with three counts of dishonestly obtaining property by deception as well as single counts of dealing with property suspected to be the proceeds of crime and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.
Hepburn mayor may sue OpenAI for defamation over false ChatGPT claims – 6 April 2023
A regional mayor may take unprecedented legal action to sue the creator of AI chatbot ChatGPT for defamation, after the program falsely claimed he was a guilty party in a foreign bribery scandal in early 2000s. Legal experts say the case is in uncharted legal territory.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 31 March 2023
14 stories this week:
Two charged over alleged $3.5 million self-managed superannuation fraud – Strike Force Gulgin – 23 March 2023
A man and a woman have been charged with 84 offences after allegedly defrauding several clients of $3.5 million in a self-managed super fund scheme. It is alleged Police will allege in court that the pair, who were accountants based in Sydney, established self-managed super funds on behalf of more than 20 people before allegedly misappropriating about $3.5 million between 2007 and 2020.
Australia Dismantles BEC Group That Laundered $1.7 Million – 27 March 2023
The AFP announced the arrest of four individuals accused of laundering more than $1.7 million from BEC attacks, Facebook marketplace scams, and fraudulent superannuation investments. The suspects, two men and two women, are charged with possessing and producing false documents, dishonestly dealing in personal financial information, and dealing in proceeds of crime.
Australia: Workplace surveillance and employee monitoring on the rise – 28 March 2023
Workplace surveillance involves monitoring and collecting data on what employees are doing, typically via software installed on their computers. Article tackles questions such as: Is workplace surveillance legal in Australia?; Is it legal to monitor or record phone calls or videos in Australian workplaces?; Does workplace surveillance lead to higher productivity?; and does workplace surveillance can damage morale and culture?
Shipping container scams on the rise, as ACCC calls on providers like Facebook to act – 28 March 2023
The ACCC said consumers lost $1.8 million to shipping container scams in 2022, with 499 incidents reported. The scammers impersonate real Australian companies online. Now the ACCC wants Facebook and other platforms to take more responsibility for shutting scams down.
Banks should not pick up entire $4b scam tab, minister says – 28 March 2023
Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones opposes a “blanket rule” that banks be required to fund scam recovery. Stating that, if they they’ve met that standard, and done what they can, they shouldn’t still end up with the bill. Advocacy groups including the Consumer Action Law Centre have called for banks to be liable for losses incurred by customers who are scammed and for banks to invest more heavily in fraud prevention.
ASIC investigates ASX for CHESS breaches – 29 March 2023
The corporate regulator is investigating whether the ASX and its directors and officers have breached their legal obligations during the bungled CHESS replacement project. Chess is the system used to record transactions on the financial markets. The investigation would focus on oversight of the CHESS replacement program and statements and disclosures made by, or on behalf of, ASX as to the “status of the program”.
FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried charged under US law with bribing Chinese officials in new indictment – 29 March 2023
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged with directing $US40 million ($59.6 million) in bribes to one or more Chinese officials to unfreeze assets relating to his cryptocurrency business. He has pleaded not guilty to 8 of the 13 counts he faces. He was previously charged with eight criminal violations, ranging from wire fraud to money laundering to conspiracy to commit fraud.
Former Courgette chef James Mussillon described as ‘socially incompetent’ in money laundering case – 29 March 2023
Reknown Canberra chef, James Mussillon has pleaded guilty to money laundering, perjury and obtaining property by deception.
The court heard he paid fake wages to another man who did not actually work at Courgette Restaurant. A psychiatrist has diagnosed Mussillon with autism and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Supreme Court of Queensland bans Gladstone man Surendra Raghoobar from practising law – 29 March 2023
The Supreme Court of Queensland has banned Gladstone’s Surendra Raghoobar from practising law after it found he engaged in legal practice despite not being an Australian legal practitioner. Mr Raghoobar, claimed he did not provide legal services and was only assisting clients with tasks like proofreading and editing documents.
Why ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle will face criminal tria – 30 March 2023
A court has ruled that Richard Boyle, the man who blew the whistle on “intimidating” debt collection tactics by the Australian Taxation Office is not protected from criminal action because he failed to disclose crucial evidence at the right time.
Whistleblower ruling ‘makes it harder for Australians to speak up’
Kieran Pender, senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said the decision was “catastrophic for Australian whistleblowers” and would “make it harder for Australians to speak up about human rights violations, government wrongdoing and corporate misdeeds”.
Senator Andrew Bragg proposes private bill to regulate cryptocurrency services – 30 March 2023
The proposed Digital Assets (Market Regulation) Bill 2023 aims to protect consumers and promote investment by recommending regulatory changes for stablecoins, licensing of exchanges and custody requirements. If passed, the bill would require a licence from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission or a foreign licence for anyone operating a cryptocurrency exchange, custody service or stablecoin issuer in Australia.
Canberra man jailed for complex fraud linked to organised crime – 31 March 2023
A Canberra man has been jailed for his role in an elaborate $13 million fraud with links to transnational and serious organised crime groups and after receiving $136,535 for his role in the scheme. A coordinated investigation of a transnational and serious organised criminal syndicate allegedly using labour hire and payroll companies associated with the building and construction industry to defraud the Commonwealth.
Donald Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury on more than 30 counts related to business fraud – 31 March 2023
Donald Trump faces more than 30 counts related to business fraud in an indictment from a Manhattan grand jury, according to two sources familiar with the case – the first time in American history that a current or former president has faced criminal charges.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 24 March 2023
15 stories this week:
Adelaide builder Joseph Biju Kavilpurayidathil jailed for fraud against homebuying migrants – 2 March 2023
Joseph Biju Kavilpurayidathil, pleaded guilty to 18 counts of dishonest dealings with documents for making fraudulent invoices and insurance certificates for some of the homes built through his company, Fenbreeze Homes, which has since gone into liquidation.
Police Whistleblower Pens 4-Page Letter Exposing SAPOL’s Highly Toxic, Dysfunctional Culture – 4 March 2023
A senior police officer, with over 35 years’ experience in the force, has written a scathing 4-page letter highlighting the worsening situation at the already dysfunctional SAPOL. The letter lists numerous impacts of the scheme, introduced by commissioner Grant Stevens and states that “SAPOL is now an organisation (business) bogged down in needless red tape and paperwork and it is only going to get worse”
Museum contractor arrested over alleged $90,000 fraud – 4 March 2023
A man has faced court for allegedly stealing $90,000 from the Australian National Maritime Museum, other businesses and individuals. It’s claimed the Macquarie Park man accessed the museum’s accounts payable system through his work as a contracted IT support worker to a third-party provider. He also allegedly made a series of unauthorised credit card purchases, after stealing financial information regarding several other businesses and individuals.
Scam protection from banks under scrutiny as Australians lose $53m in two months – 6 March 2023
Sharon Watkin was scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars by a sales representative claiming to be from Amazon. She says Australian banks need to do more to protect customers. Australians have already lost $53m this year, according to Scamwatch.
ASIC Bans Insurance Broker Permanently – 6 March 2023
ASIC has permanently banned former insurance broker Justin Edward Hampshire, from providing any financial services and being involved in carrying on such a business. ASIC found that Mr Hampshire incorrectly directed his clients to pay their insurance premiums into a business account he controlled when the money should have been paid straight into Ausure’s trust account. Mr Hampshire misappropriated $41,000 of four of his clients’ insurance premiums for his own benefit.
Son of former ATO deputy commissioner found guilty over role in $105m tax fraud – 7 March 2023
Adam Cranston, the son of former ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston, has been found guilty by a NSW Supreme Court jury over his role in a $105 million tax-fraud scheme. Adam and two co-accused were found guilty of conspiring with another person to dishonestly cause a loss to the Commonwealth, and conspiring with another person to deal with money more than $1 million, believing it to be proceeds of crime.
Perth Mint chief executive admits ‘doping’ controversy hurts reputation as WA opposition calls for royal commission – 7 March 2023
An investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners revealed the Mint had supplied gold to China between 2018 and 2021 that met broader industry purity standards, but in at least one instance, fell below Shanghai’s stricter standards. Internal reports allege the Mint then withheld evidence about the practice from its largest client, which an insider described as “a scandal of the highest level”.
Queensland whistleblower ‘vindicated’ by former Logan mayor Luke Smith’s guilty pleas – 8 March 2023
Sharon Kelsey, a whistleblower who was fired after reporting the misconduct of a former Queensland mayor, Luke Smith says his guilty plea on a corruption-related charge is a “complete vindication”. Smith pleaded guilty to receiving a ‘secret commission from an agent’ in 2016.
Review your whistle blower program now to meet ASICs new good practice guidance – 10 March 2023
Article describes current whistleblower laws and ASIC’s actions to date and where the good practices for whistleblowing programs came from. It also details ASIC announcement that it was taking legal action against TerraCom Limited, its managing director, chief commercial officer, former Chair and a former director, for the first time under these laws.
Charities watchdog to review fraud allegations made in parliament against Hillsong – 10 March 2023
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, has used parliamentary privilege, to accuse Hillsong church of breaking financial laws in Australia and around the world, relating to “fraud, money laundering and tax evasion”. Hillsong disputed the allegations, labelling them as “out-of-context” or false. The Charities and Not-for-profits Commission stated it would investigate the allegations. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-03-10/federal-mp-accuses-hillsong-money-laundering-tax-evasion/102077080
Facebook Marketplace scams to be aware of when buying or selling goods online – 10 March 2023
A cybersecurity expert says Facebook is not doing enough to stamp out scammers on marketplace. Fake account owners insist on paying with PayID, which used a person’s mobile number or email address to link to their bank account. Scammers then try to convince people that they had transferred too much money, and request they transfer the difference back.
Financial services a key focus for ACCC this year – 10 March 2023
ACC plans the introduction of new laws prohibiting unfair contract terms, including a new penalty regime later this year. ACCC also has its eyes on scams, which continued to cause tremendous personal and financial damage to consumers and the Australian economy.
Psychoanalysts Put White-Collar Criminals on the Couch – 13 March 2023
White-collar crimes are nonviolent, opportunistic criminal activities by people of high respectability and status in their jobs. Article explains how leaders can proactively mitigate and defend against malfeasance by understanding the drivers of white-collar crime.
Police Charge Two Over $594K Theft, Fraud From Retail Store – 15 March 2023
Financial Crime Squad detectives have laid 159 charges against two former employees of a retail store following an investigation into alleged fraud and stealing offences. Police will allege in court that the man and woman obtained more than $594,000 from their employer.
Chinese businessman with ties to Trump administration figures arrested in $US1 billion fraud conspiracy – 16 March 2023
Guo Wengui, a business tycoon long sought by the government of China and known for cultivating ties to Trump administration figures including Steve Bannon has been arrested in New York on charges that he oversaw a $US1 billion ($1.5 billion) fraud conspiracy. He faces more than a century in jail if convicted.
Final conspirator found guilty of $105m Plutus tax fraud – 21 March 2023
A jury in the NSW Supreme Court found Patrick Willmott, 36, guilty of conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth and dealing with more than $1 million in proceeds of crime. The conspiracy defrauded the tax office of more than $105 million from 2014 to 2017 through a free payroll service known as Plutus Payroll that shifted tax money using a complex network of second-tier companies. Patrick Willmott is the fifth person to be jailed for the fraud.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 17 February 2023
14 stories this week:
Why the AFP and ASIC are still using tech from a group under investigation – 26 February 2023
At the time of Nuix’s public float in late 2020, the $1.8 billion investigative software group claimed the globe’s corporate cops could not live without its data forensics tools. Now, Australian regulators – which have been using Nuix’s own programs to pursue the embattled tech group and its former executives for alleged breaches of companies laws – need to find out if this is true.
Access to digital version of SMH required to read this article.
Push for inquiry into consulting firms after PwC tax leaks – 27 February 2023
The Greens will push for a Senate inquiry into the way the federal government uses consultants. This is due to concerns about the PwC tax leaks scandal and the big four consulting firm’s inability to explain why it buried a damning report, into the unlawful robo-debt scheme.
‘Illegal’ strip searches of children among claims made by Queensland watch-house whistleblower – 27 February 2023
In a damning submission to the state’s youth crime bill, Brisbane watch-house officer Steven Marshall detailed what he described as “human rights breaches” that he witnessed at Brisbane Watch House during 2018 and 2019. He warns a new proposal by the Palaszczuk government to make breach of bail an offence for children could result in further chaos at watch houses, due to increase numbers. Queensland police have been contacted for comment.
Calls for national body to protect whistleblowers – 27 February 2023
A parliamentary inquiry is examining whistleblower protection reform, set to be implemented ahead of the start of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. Senior lawyer for the Human Rights Law Centre Kieran Pender said while other countries had set up broader bodies to oversee whistleblower protections, Australia was yet to establish a similar organisation.
Melbourne man accused of demanding crypto in bushfire threat – 28 February 2023
Cybercrime detectives have charged a Melbourne man after he allegedly threatened to start a bushfire if $5 million in cryptocurrency was not transferred within three days. The man was later arrested and charged with extortion with threat to endanger life and threat to destroy or damage property.
Australians urged to beware of new PayID impersonation scam – 28 February 2023
National Australia Bank (NAB) urged people who sell unwanted or used items online to watch out for a new PayID impersonation scam. Sammers will buy items using PayID but then claim that the transaction couldn’t be completed because the seller doesn’t have a PayID business account. Scammers will claim they’ve sent extra money to upgrade the account, send a fake email, and pressure the seller to reimburse them. But no money will ever appear in the seller’s account.
Surveillance tech Auror under lens after Greens Senator calls for “urgent review” – 28 February 2023
Greens Senator David Shoebridge has called for Parliament to urgently review the widespread use of retail surveillance technology. He believes an urgent review and regulation of crime intelligence platforms are required to safeguard the public against invasions of privacy and exploitation.
Ex-MAFS star charged over alleged boiler room scam makes surprising court request – 28 February 2023
Mr Daniel Webb, who rose to fame as one of the grooms of the popular reality show MAFS, is alleged to have pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars dispersed by one of the companies linked to the cold-call scam syndicate. Police allege the boiler room scam, which included multiple people other than Mr Webb, would cold call victims and offer investments in products that did not exist and duped more than $20m from hundreds of victims.
Experts call for urgent whistleblower protections for migrant workers who report exploitation – 28 February 2023
Migrant workers generally endure exploitation in silence for fear of jeopardising their visa or ability to stay in Australia. Organisations and unions across Australia are calling for urgent whistleblower protections for migrant workers.
Australian watchdog sues coal miner TerraCom over whistleblower violations – 1 March 2023
ASIC has filed a lawsuit against coal miner TerraCom Ltd (TER.AX) alleging it breached whistleblower protections, after a former employee claimed it had falsified the quality of its coal for export. (ASIC) has been investigating TerraCom over allegations of inflated coal quality in export documentation, since claims were first aired in early 2020, as part of an unfair dismissal case.
Former public servant avoids jail over JobSeeker fraud, magistrate accepts man was ‘driven by need, not greed’ – 1 March 2023
A former Commonwealth public servant will not spend time in jail for establishing a fictional Centrelink account in order to receive JobSeeker payments, later paid into his teenage son’s bank account. He was sentenced to six months in jail but was released on an 18-month good behaviour order and 60 hours of community service
SAPOL steals the win at 2023 Australian Fraud Awards – 1 March 2023
A South Australia Police (SAPOL) initiative titled ‘Operation Measure’ which targets retail shop theft has been recognised with a national award winning the Best Retailer and Policing Collaboration Award at the 2023 Australian Fraud Awards on 9 February 2023.
ASIC Bans Property Fundraiser over Fraud Convictions – 2 March 2023
ASIC has permanently banned Sean Colville Niven, of Perth, Western Australia, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities. Mr Niven was convicted in the Perth Magistrates Court for two offences contrary to the Bankruptcy Act. Namely, making a declaration that he knew to be false, and for disposing of property intending to defraud creditors.
Andrew Wilkie demands NSW Police launch investigation after Hillsong podcast – 3 March 2023
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie says NSW police must “act today” after a new podcast raised serious allegations about a Hillsong institution. News Corp Australia’s new podcast ‘Faith on Trial’ contains allegations from five different women that young, female students at the college were taught to physically “submit” to their husbands. Mr Wilkie said the allegations were nothing short of “shocking” and demanded immediate action.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 17 February 2023
10 stories this week:
CBA’s anti-fraud tech move has angered this start-up founder – 10 February 2023
Colin Porter, who set up PayOK in 2021 to target the growing number of payment redirection scams, says CBA’s launch of its own solution rather than adopting an industry one will make it harder to solve a problem costing Australian businesses more than $200 million a year.
SMS registry could block scams that cost Australians more than $1m a day – 12 February 2023
The Australian Communications and Media Authority, will explore the implementation of an SMS sender ID register that would block cyber criminals from sending texts, appearing to be from agencies such as the Australian Tax Office (ATO), myGov and Australia Post.
Former NSW Adviser Banned by ASIC Permanently – 13 February 2023
ASIC has permanently banned Sean John Sweeney of Lindfield, New South Wales, after he was convicted of fraud offences on 4 November 2022. Financial advisers must act with honesty and integrity in their dealings with clients.
Federal MP’s offices to have Chinese surveillance cameras replaced – 14 February 2023
Officials have confirmed they are ripping out Chinese-made surveillance cameras in the offices of federal MPs across the country, due to fears that it contains spy-ware.
Aussie bank makes clever move to stop sneaky new text scam – 14 February 2023
NAB is now placing bank phone numbers on the ‘Do Not Originate’ list to help reduce scam calls impersonating NAB numbers. The bank has also added additional protections to reduce scam messages appearing in legitimate bank text message threads. This has already resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in these types of spoofing cases, leading to a 70 per cent reduction in customer losses.
Commonwealth spends more than $7.6 million in prosecuting whistleblowers including Bernard Collaery, David McBride and Richard Boyle – 14 February 2023
The Commonwealth has racked up more than $7.6 million in legal fees pursuing whistleblowers, with the bulk of that bill relating to a now-dumped prosecution. The case against Bernard Collaery and Witness K cost the Commonwealth $5,510,829. Whistleblowing advocates have criticised the government for pursuing David McBride and Richard Boyle and the NSW Greens senator David Shoebridge, said it was a “lavish use of taxpayer funds”.
The major areas ASIC is patrolling for offenders this year – 15 February 2023
ASIC is targeting predatory lending, shonky insurance price promises and firms lying about their green credentials, as the major areas it will look to prosecute offenders in the coming year.
Alleged Deloitte fraudster ‘used CEO’s name to lure investors’ – 16 February 2023
Investors who poured millions of dollars into a suspected fraudulent scheme run by ex-Deloitte partner Amberjit Endow, say he convinced them to join, by telling them the Australian boss of the consulting giant was among the senior staff who were early investors. Investors estimate the case could involve more than $60 million.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)
Watchdog won’t probe fraud allegations against Adani – 16 February 2023
Australia’s corporate regulator has decided not to pursue allegations of fraud and stock manipulation leveled against the Adani Group. ASIC took a close look at the report and found that only a small portion of the allegations related to the Indian company’s Australian operation.
ATO says millions in annual tax could have been lost due to PwC confidentiality breaches – 16 February 2023
A former PwC partner was recently sanctioned by the Tax Practitioners Board for integrity breaches, after it was revealed he shared confidential briefings with colleagues, despite signing three confidentiality agreements. The ATO has told a Senate estimates hearing, that when the new laws took effect in 2016, “within weeks” an avoidance scheme was being marketed to overseas-based clients of PwC to circumvent the new arrangements.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 10 February 2023
11 stories this week:
Money laundering syndicate believed to be linked to crime boss George Marrogi is broken up – 3 February 2023
Victoria Police has charged 24 people with money laundering offences as part of an investigation into a large-scale Middle Eastern organised crime syndicate. The arrests follow a two-year investigation, believed to be linked to crime figure George Marrogi, who is currently serving a 32-year jail sentence for murder and recently pleaded guilty to running a drug syndicate from jail.
Activision Blizzard will pay $35 million to settle SEC charges over its handling of complaints – 3 February 2023
Activision Blizzard (video game company) will pay $35 million to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commision that it “failed to maintain disclosure controls and procedures to ensure that the company could assess whether its disclosures pertaining to its workforce were adequate.” The settlement also resolves charges that Activision Blizzard violated whistleblower protection regulations. The company is settling the charges without admitting to or denying them.
Papas fled Australia while pretending to be in Perth, court hears – 7 February 2023
Bill Papas, accused fraudster and alleged mastermind behind a $400 million bank fraud, told his banker he was on his way to Perth to deal with issues raised by Westpac, but was instead fleeing the country from Sydney, the Federal Court has heard.
Access to digital version of AFR required to read article
Australian bank admits botch-up, refunds prominent Kiwi entertainer A$30k after Herald investigation – 7 February 2023
A Sydney-based St George Bank recovered a third of a prominent Kiwi entertainers stolen money last year after learning of a fraud, but did not secure the cash and allowed it to be withdrawn by the thieves. The case raises questions about the Australian bank’s internal processes in dealing with fraud and recovering stolen money.
ClubsNSW settles case with terminally ill whistleblower Troy Stolz – 7 February 2023
Whistleblower Troy Stolz has announced his long-running legal battle with ClubsNSW has been “resolved” after reaching an out-of-court settlement.
It is not in the public interest to jail people for telling the truth. Labor must end these whistleblower cases – 8 February 2023
Kieren Pender discusses how Two Australian whistleblowers (David McBride, Richard Boyle) are expected to face trial later this year for speaking up about government wrongdoing. He says both cases are an injustice of the highest order. If either or both of these brave men go to jail for doing the right thing, for telling the truth, it will permanently cloud the Albanese government’s legacy.
Commonwealth offices ‘riddled’ with security cameras linked to Chinese government – 9 February 2023
An audit has uncovered more than 900 units of surveillance equipment built by companies linked to the Chinese government exist within Commonwealth government buildings, including Defence and Foreign Affairs offices. The Shadow Cyber Security Minister says the government needs a plan to remove them.
ICAC review of Batchelor Institute recommends ‘critical’ changes to corporate culture – 9 February 2023
The NT’s ICAC has audited the Batchelor Institute and found several financial anomalies, flawed governance, and corporate culture. The Batchelor Institute has accepted all 27 recommendations.
Whistleblower Jeff Morris labels integrity reforms hypocritical as government presses ahead with prosecutions – 9 February 2023
Jeff Morris, whose decision to lift the lid on corrupt practices within the CBA which in turn helped trigger the banking royal commission, stated in a public interest disclosure (PID) regime submission, that the changes need to go much further, with the creation of a “Whistleblower Protection Agency”.
Sydney man spared jail after ‘opportunistic’ Optus data blackmail attempt – 7 February 2023
Dennis Su, 20, sent text messages to 92 people in September after finding their information on a website that published data from the Optus breach. He has been spared jail but must complete 100 hours of community service.
Partygoers warned to beware of suspicious events when buying tickets online- 9 February 2023
The Cairns Show Association found out tickets were being sold for a music event at its showgrounds without its knowledge. Social media users are being warned to closely scrutinise all online promotions due to the prevalence of tickets being sold for fictitious or risky events.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 3 February 2023
19 stories this week:
Elon Musk defends Twitter use in Tesla investors’ class action lawsuit over ‘funding secured’ tweet – 21 January 2023
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has testified that investors do not always react to his Twitter messages as he expects, defending himself in a fraud trial over his 2018 tweet, that indicated he had secured funding to take the company private, something which did not end up taking place. Shareholders alleged that Mr Musk lied when he sent the tweet, costing investors millions. A jury of six men and three women will decide whether the tweet artificially inflated Tesla’s share price by playing up the status of funding for the deal, and if so, by how much.
Convicted Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes is a flight risk, US prosecutors say – 21 January 2023
Prosecutors say Elizabeth Holmes is a flight risk and shouldn’t be allowed to stay out of prison while she appeals her 11-year prison sentence for defrauding investors. She had purchased one-way plane ticket to Mexico three weeks after being convicted for fraud.
Government’s warning over ‘insidious’ scam targeting social media users – 23 January 2023
Australians are being urged to be on guard against an emerging social media scam that involves fraudsters impersonating staff from the Australian Tax Office. The phoney accounts send replies or direct messages offering to resolve the taxpayer’s issue. The scammer then tries to get the member of the public to click on a link in an attempt to access their money or private information.
Corporate Australia’s dirty hidden secret – 23 January 2023
Business crime may be endemic across big companies, and law enforcement is doing little to stop it.
Access to digital version of AFR required to read fully article
Financial Planner Bradley Grimm Pleads Guilty to Fraud – 25 January 2023
Mr Bradley Grimm, a former Melbourne financial planner, pleaded guilty to three counts of engaging in dishonest conduct whilst running a financial services business. At the time of the offending, each breach of s1041G(1) of the Corporations Act carried a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Australia Warden Allegedly Steals from Inmates to Gamble, Could Land in Prison – 25 January 2023
Brenton Williams, a former general manager of a correctional facility in Adelaide, allegedly stole more than $100,000 from prisoners and then gambled it. The money is part of the funds inmates have to turn in when they report to the facility.
Surge in online ‘sextortion scams over school holiday period – 29 January 2023
The ÁFP have warned there has been a surge in online financial ‘sextortion’ targeting young Australians over the school holiday period. Statistics from the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation show overseas offenders were primarily targeting teenage boys, who make up 90 per cent of victim reports.
Bankman-Fried denies witness tampering claim – 29 January 2023
What to know about Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s embattled founder
Bankman-Fried, 30, has been free on $US250 million ($A352 million) bond since pleading not guilty to charges of fraud in the looting of billions of dollars from the now-bankrupt FTX. His lawyer insisted his client did not seek to influence a witness in the US government’s fraud case against him, accusing prosecutors of trying to portray him “in the worst possible light”.
Whistleblowing reform needs to be comprehensive – 30 January 2023
The Human Rights Law Centre, Griffith University’s Centre for Governance & Public Policy and Transparency International Australia have called for a comprehensive reform process to ensure stronger protections for Australian whistleblowers. The organisations welcomed the Government’s first, largely-technical phase of reform to the Public Interest Disclosure Act, which protects federal public servant whistleblowers, however the group expressed concern about the risks of a piecemeal approach to improving whistleblower protections.
Bunbury bookkeeper Kathleen Griffiths pleads guilty to stealing from local businesses – 30 January 2023
Kathleen Margaret Griffiths, a Bunbury bookkeeper pleads guilty to 16 charges of stealing $750,000 from two businesses over a decade. She used several tactics to conceal her offending. The affected business owners were placed under financial stress as a result.
Adam thought he was starting a new job, until he lost $28,000. What are recruitment scams and how are they targeting job seekers? – 30 January 2023
Scammers are pretending to be hiring on behalf of high-profile companies and online shopping platforms and impersonate well-known recruitment agencies. The scammer contacts you by email, letter or phone and offers you a job that requires very little effort for high returns, or a guaranteed way to make money quickly.
Hackers abuse legitimate remote monitoring and management tools in attacks – 30 January 2023
Security researchers warn that an increasing number of attackers are using legitimate remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools (ie.threat actors) in their attacks to achieve remote access and control over systems. These tools are commonly used by managed service providers (MSPs) and IT help desks so their presence on an organisation’s network and systems might not raise suspicion.
State government ready to make any changes recommended by review into Adelaide Casino – 31 January 2023
Former Supreme Court judge Brian Martin KC has been investigating the Adelaide SkyCity’s casino operator since July and will report to Liquor and Gambling Commissioner. It followed an 18-month investigation, with AUSTRAC alleging systemic failures in how SkyCity handled anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
William Knoll’s scammers made it sound like they were on his side – 31 January 2023
According to the consumer watchdog, the ACCC, there were more than 200,000 scams reported last year, costing Australians more than $568 million. 17 years old William Knoll, lost $5,000 when he was told scammers were accessing his money, but they were in fact the scammers! Mr Knoll said the person on the other end of the line sounded knowledgeable – and legitimate.
Whistleblowers need their own agency, says Jeff Morris – 1 February 2023
When working for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Jeff Morris blew the whistle on “unbelievable practices” going on in the financial planning division. He says that protections for those who expose corruption are deficient, saying ‘it will ruin your life and we absolutely need fundamental whistleblower reforms’.
After a decade of decline, Australia is back on the rise in a global anti-corruption ranking – 1 February 2023
Australia ranked 13th out of 180 countries in the Transparency International’s annual Global Corruption Perceptions Index. This is up from a low of 18th last year. The index ranks countries on their perceived levels of public sector corruption – the higher the score, the less perceived corruption. Ranking 13th out of 180 is pretty good, but we have done better and the public expects better.
Adani pulls off $3.6b share sale despite fraud allegations – 1 February 2023
Indian energy giant Adani has survived its first major test following serious bullying, fraud & criminal allegations raised last month by US short-seller Hindenburg Research. Australian industry players, view the Hindenburg report as a “sophisticated activist hit job” that would not affect the Australian operations.
Ubank hacking: Man has $20k drained from bank account after details leaked by Optus, Medibank – 2 February 2023
A Brisbane man has had all his savings and his entire salary for January cleaned out of his account – leaving him with no money to pay off his car loan or credit card. He was caught up in both the Optus and Medibank identity theft hacking scandals – which saw millions of customers affected.
AFP money-laundering bust highlights Australia’s gaping real estate vulnerability – 3 February 2023
This week federal police arrested nine people and seized millions of dollars’ worth of Sydney homes, cryptocurrency and luxury items, crushing a syndicate it is alleging offered money laundering at an “industrial scale”. The AFP allege the syndicate acted as an unregulated multi-national bank, drawing on cash reserves in multiple countries around the world and facilitating transactions for criminal clients.
NT whistleblower provisions under review – 19 January 2023
The Northern Territory’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption is to conduct a review of the region’s public sector whistleblower provisions amid concerns people are not reporting wrongdoing for fear of retaliation.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 20 January 2023
27 stories this week:
Trading website IBC Exchange exposed as scam after QLD man loses $80k – 23 December 2022
An Australian explains how a group of online scammers coaxed him into giving away $80,000 via a fake cryptocurrency platform called IBC Exchange. He stated that “The sophistication was beyond belief and that the technology and layers of fraud they used was just incredible”.
Meta settles Cambridge Analytica class-action lawsuit for $725 million – 23 December 2022
Parent company Meta, has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a long-running class-action lawsuit accusing Facebook of allowing Cambridge Analytica and other third parties to access users’ private information. The settlement resolves user claims that Facebook violated federal and state laws, by allowing the company’s preferred vendors and partners to harvest their personal data without consent. It’s reportedly the largest ever in a US data privacy class action and the most Meta has ever paid to resolve a class-action lawsuit.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried released on house arrest and ‘largest ever pre-trial bond – 23 December 2022
Sam Bankman-Fried has been released on a 375 million bond package while he awaits trial on fraud charges related to the collapse of the FTX crypto exchange. Prosecutors have accused him of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to plug losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Inside Melbourne woman’s role in multimillion-dollar fraud syndicate – 25 December 2022
Young Melbourne mother Jasmine Vella-Arpaci has been sentenced for playing a central role in an international fraud syndicate which stole millions from victims’ superannuation accounts. She claimed she did this to support her husband’s gambling addiction. The process was to use stolen ID documents from the dark web, editing them as necessary to match one another, before using them to open bank accounts and to support applications to withdraw money from super accounts.
David McBride is ready to go to jail for his beliefs – 26 December 2022
Former defence lawyer David McBride is ready to go to jail with his “head held high” for exposing alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, but has called for the establishment of an independent federal authority to help others avoid the same fate. He stated that the reform was “absolutely needed” to support others wanting to lawfully report wrongdoing within their organisation.
How an Australian crypto exchange became a tool for scammers – 28 December 2022
Collapsed cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage Mine Digital, appears to have been a target for criminals exploiting the platform and lax regulation to rip off Australians through sophisticated investment scams.
Wage theft laws, offences and penalties in Australia – 29 December 2022
A Victorian business and its owner will be the first to face criminal wage theft charges, in any Australian jurisdiction. It is alleged that from July to November 2021, the Rehmat and Mehar Pty Ltd trading as ‘The Macedon Lounge’, dishonestly withheld wages, penalty rates and super from its former employees.
Inside the call centre scam that lured vulnerable workers to Cambodia and trapped them in the murky world of human trafficking – 29 December 2022
Thousands of vulnerable workers in South-East Asia who lost their jobs during the pandemic have been lured into job scams. They say they were made to work in a call centre, using dating apps on mobile phones to meet people looking for love. Once they had established online conversations, they were told to pass the people’s details on to a “chief” who would continue the chat and trick people into sending money for bogus investments.
Pair sentenced to collective 56 years prison for $8.75 billion Singapore share trading scam – 29 December 2022
A Malaysian businessman convicted of masterminding a stock scam that wiped 8.75 billion off Singapore’s exchange has been sentenced to 36 years in jail by a court in the city-state. John Soh Chee Wen and his girlfriend used their knowledge of financial markets to inflate share prices and set up dozens of trading accounts and borrowed large sums to manipulate stock prices.
Global Investigation Review – Australia – 4 January 2023
Informative article covering Australian highest-profile corporate investigations; legal framework; law enforcement authorities; Cyber-related issues; Cross-border issues and foreign authorities; Economic sanctions enforcement and more
The fight to reclaim $1.8 million lost to an international investment scam – 7 January 2023
Article explains the “industrialised nature of scams”. Australians lose more money to investment scams than any other type of scam. Nearly $300 million was lost in the first nine months of 2022 – though with many Australians never reporting their losses, it’s likely the true cost is much higher.
Former Simon & Schuster employee pleads guilty to impersonating editors to steal unpublished books – 7 January 2023
A former employee of book publisher Simon & Schuster, has pleaded guilty to impersonating editors and agents, in order to steal more than 1,000 unpublished book manuscripts, belonging to authors like Margaret Atwood and the actor Ethan Hawke.
Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jennifer Shah sentenced to prison for defrauding thousands of people – 7 January 2023
US reality TV star Jennifer Shah, known for her role on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, has been sentenced to six-and-a-half-years in prison for defrauding thousands of people in a telemarketing scam over nearly a decade.
Trump executive Allen Weisselberg gets five-month jail sentence – 11 January 2023
Allen Weisselberg – a long-time executive for Donald Trump ‘s business empire – has been taken into custody to begin serving a five-month jail term for dodging taxes on $1.7 million in job perks. His testimony helped convict the former president’s company of tax fraud.
Perth teen loses nearly $40,000 in sophisticated bank scam – 12 January 2023
Aurora Casilli, lost $36,000 in an instant after receiving messages from a spoofed NAB number. The text looks legitimate and comes through on the same message thread as real NAB texts. It then prompts customers to call a number, and an allegedly fake operator then directs them to transfer money to a new “safe” account.
Australian Taxation Office scam sees Vageesh Potnis steal thousands of dollars from Australians – 13 January 2023
Vageesh Potnis, a Sydney man has avoided jail time, despite scamming vulnerable Aussies out of nearly $30k by pretending to be from the ATO.
Australian authorities say crypto is too often used for money laundering. – 14 January 2023
Senior executives of AUSTRAC claim crypto has become part of the “money laundering tool kit,” to commit money laundering and financial fraud. Article also discusses that ATMs are often the first method of converting crypto into cash so that illicit purchases and deals can be made.
Donald Trump’s company sentenced to pay $2.31 million penalty for tax fraud – 14 January 2023
A New York judge has sentenced Donald Trump’s namesake real estate company to pay a 2.31 million criminal penalty after it was convicted of scheming to defraud tax authorities for 15 years. Jurors found two Trump Organization affiliates guilty of 17 criminal charges. Prosecutors provided evidence that Mr Trump’s company covered personal expenses such as rent and car leases for executives without reporting them as income, and pretended that Christmas bonuses were non-employee compensation.
ATO disqualifies hundreds over self-managed super scams – 15 January 2023
An ATO crackdown on people setting up self-managed superannuation funds to illegally access their retirement savings has prevented the withdrawal of hundreds of millions of dollars. Many have had to pay additional tax penalties and interest on those amounts illegally withdrawn.
Victims of bank Ponzi-like scheme in China unable to withdraw money from frozen accounts – 15 January 2023
Since April last year, at least 40 billion yuan ($8.5 billion) has been frozen in four of the small-sized banks. The four rural banks had promised customers high returns of between 13 and 18 per cent, in what has now been described as a Ponzi-like scheme. In August, authorities arrested 234 suspected bank scammers in connection to the case. Victims have been protesting as they have been unable to withdraw money for nine months.
Morley great-grandmother Dale Hambrook of her life savings – 15 January 2023
A Morley great-grandmother has been scammed out of nearly $150,000 after she was conned through an elaborate cryptocurrency scheme. The scheme used images and fake emails by the celebrity David ‘Kochie’ to con people.
Former Greek associate of Bill Papas denies involvement in fraud – 15 January 2023
One-time Greek business partner of Bill Papas Anastasios Giamouridis has denied any role in the alleged $500m fraud against banking institutions. According to the allegations he also received funds from the scheme.
JPMorgan says fintech was a fraud, closes business – 16 January 2023
JPMorgan has shuttered the financial planning fintech it acquired in 2021 and is suing its founder, claiming most of its users were fake accounts created to inflate the business’ value. In court documents, the bank claims the company paid a data scientist to use “synthetic data” techniques to create a list of 4.265 million “students” that did not exist.
Fraudsters jailed over international crypto scam – 18 January 2023
Four people have been jailed in the UK over a $37 million fraud carried out on an Australian cryptocurrency exchange (CoinSpot) five years ago. Stephen William Boys, Kelly Caton, Jordan Kane Robinson and James Austin-Beddoes were sentenced to a combined 15 years in prison over their involvement in a scam that “exploited a loophole” on the platform.
Fraud trial begins over Elon Musk’s 2018 Tesla tweet, which allegedly artificially affected stock price – 18 January 2023
A trial has begun over whether Elon Musk committed fraud with a 2018 tweet saying he was poised to take Tesla private. The tweets indicated Mr Musk had lined up the financing to take Tesla private at a time when the company’s stock was slumping amid production problems. The prospect of a 104 billion buyout fuelled a rally in the company’s stock price that abruptly ended a week later, after it became apparent that he did not have the funding to pull off the deal after all.
No bail for man accused of worldwide scam – 18 January 2023
One of four men charged over an alleged international investment scam has been refused bail over fears he could try to flee the country. It is alleged the four men were involved in a sophisticated scam using various social engineering techniques, including the use of dating sites, employment sites and messaging platforms, to gain victims’ trust.
NT whistleblower provisions under review – 19 January 2023
The Northern Territory’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption is to conduct a review of the region’s public sector whistleblower provisions amid concerns people are not reporting wrongdoing for fear of retaliation.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 22 December 2022
14 stories this week:
SkyCity Adelaide casino accepted bags of ‘soiled’ cash, court documents allege – 7 December 2022
Court documents reveal that cash that was dirty and appeared to have been buried, and money kept in plastic bags, was used in large transactions at the SkyCity Adelaide (SCA) casino. The allegations are part of civil proceedings against SkyCity Adeaide by Australia’s financial crimes watchdog.
AUSTRAC to launch Federal Court civil proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide casino over alleged anti-money-laundering breaches – 7 December 2022
AUSTRAC will issue civil proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide. AUSTRAC alleges serious and systemic non-compliance with anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
Elizabeth Holmes’s former partner, Ramesh Balwani, given near-13-year prison sentence over Theranos hoax – 8 December 2022
Former Theranos executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison for his role in the company’s blood-testing hoax. Holmes and Balwani ran Theranos, a company that claimed to have developed a disease-detecting medical scam. The faked technology endangered patients and duped investors.
Embezzlement trial against Markus Braun begins – 8 December 2022
Markus Braun, the former head of disgraced German payment company Wirecard, is charged over the biggest fraud case in German history. Mr Braun has denied embezzling money from Wirecard, and has accused others of running a shadow operation without his knowledge. Wirecard was forced to admit in June 2020 that 1.9 billion euros ($2.9b) were missing from its balance sheet.
Star Entertainment Group fined $100 million over Queensland casino breaches, given 12 months to ‘get their house in order’ – 9 December 2022
Star Entertainment Group has been hit with $100 million in fines and a special manager has been appointed to oversee its Queensland operations following “major failings” at its casinos. The company has also been given 12 months to “get its house in order” or else have its Queensland casino licences temporarily suspended.
ATO reveals it raided 35 properties suspected of using technology to evade paying tax – 10 December 2022
The (ATO) has revealed it has raided 35 properties nationally as part of a global crackdown on businesses suspected of using or supplying electronic sales suppression tools (ESST). ESST helps businesses permanently delete business transactions, reduce sales values or misrepresent transactions in other ways.
Conman Richard Ayoub jailed over multimillion-dollar scam targeting retirees – 16 December 2022
Richard Ayoub,, an American man living in Australia on a working visa has been jailed for scamming retirees out of about $3 million. Ayoub profited from a scam conning retirees into investing in fake bonds.
Fake myGov profiles are being used to hack ATO accounts. Sue found this out the hard way – 19 December 2022
ABC Investigations has uncovered a vulnerability in the myGov and ATO systems which is being exploited by cybercriminals to defraud the taxpayer. Services Australian told ABC Investigations all that is required to create a myGov account is an email address. No proof of identity is necessary and there is no limit on how many accounts can be opened.
Australian winery uses new tech to combat wine fraud – 19 December 2022
Grosset Wines, Adelaide, have swapped out their usual bottle caps for ones that use Enseal. The caps have a microchip inserted underneath their top, which consumers can scan with their smartphones to check if the label matches the bottle’s contents. Wine fraud can occur when empty bottles are refilled with other wines and resealed, label details are changed or bottles are labeled with wrong information about variety, region, or vintage.
The buried gold, the crumbling fraud case and the billionaires’ tsunami – 20 December 2022
Article describes the Million-dollar fraud case in Orange, were Brian Locke was ousted from the board of the company he founded, had $9 million worth of his shares cancelled and was under police investigation for masterminding a multimillion-dollar fraud. All 133 charges against former Gold and Copper Resources CEO Brian Locke were finally withdrawn.
Foreign national extradited to Qld over alleged scam – 20 December 2022
A young foreign national will be extradited to Queensland over allegations he defrauded $30,000 from an elderly man on the Sunshine Coast. The man was contacted via phone, advising him his accounts had been then the men drove from Sydney to his Sunshine Coast home and pretended to be from his bank and convinced him to hand over bank cards and account details before emptying out his accounts.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried signs extradition papers, hearing scheduled for Wednesday – 21 December 2022
Sam Bankman Fried insists the collapse of his $32 million Crypto empire is the result of human error. Federal prosecutor said Mr Bankman-Fried’s actions amounted to “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history”. He is being extradited from the Bahamas to the United States where he faces fraud charges.
ASIC increases focus on cryptocurrency – 21 December 2022
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has increased the number of staff dedicated to cryptocurrency, as high-profile collapses like FTX highlight the danger of the unregulated asset class. Cryptocurrency was currently exempt from regulation, leaving it open to use as a vehicle for money laundering, data breaches and financial crime.
Police warning: Aussie parents ordered to pay child’s drug debt – 21 December 2022
The New South Wales Police have warned Aussie parents about a NEW text scam impersonating their children and claiming they need to repay a drug debt. While many Aussies said they managed to avoid falling for the scam, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said more than 1,150 Australians fell victim to the so-called ‘Hi Mum’ scam in the first seven months of this year, with total reported losses of $2.6 million.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 2 December 2022
14 stories this week:
Did the royal commission fix banking or are banks back to behaving badly? – 26 November 2022
It has been five years since then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a royal commission into scandals and misconduct in the banking industry. Of the 76 recommendations, many have been implemented but there is still a lot of work still to be done.
‘You can’t be responsible for everyone’s decisions’: Westpac boss pushes back on scam reimbursement – 29 November 2022
Westpac chief executive Peter King has pushed back against calls for banks to reimburse a larger number of scam victims, saying that while lenders were working to fight scammers, customers also had to take some responsibility. The bank normally only reimburses victims when they have not followed the industry’s code of conduct.
EY caught up in alleged Australian coal quality scam – 29 November 2022
According to MP Andrew Wilkie, he has received thousands of documents from a whistleblower said to be an executive within the coal industry, which shows that miners TerraCom, Anglo American, Glencore and Peabody together with the Macquarie Bank and auditor EY as intermediaries engaged in activities to inflate the quality of Australian coal exports – thereby increasing its price and minimising pollution-related import restrictions.
How Can Australia Better Protect Whistleblowers? New Report Explains – 29 November 2022
A new report from Griffith University, the Human Rights Law Centre, and Transparency International Australia highlights 12 “areas of reform” in which Australia’s parliament could bolster whistleblower protections and get up to speed with “international best practice.” The report notes that Australia has in the works a National Anti-Corruption Commission, but states that “this highlights big gaps in federal whistleblower protection. The report also displays statistics about current whistleblowers in Australia and contains information about the detriment that whistleblowers experienced, like being fired from their job, facing harassment from co-workers or managers, etc.
Police investigating Melissa Caddick’s disappearance were ‘short-staffed’, inquest hears – 29 November 2022
The detective who took over the investigation into alleged fraudster Melissa Caddick’s disappearance has told an inquest he didn’t re-interview her husband, as he felt he “wasn’t a credible witness”, and accepted there were “major discrepancies” in his version of events. The inquest heard Ms Caddick had life insurance, that included suicide cover, but Detective Sergeant Foscholo’s understanding was Mr Koletti may not have been listed as a beneficiary. Hearings have run over time again, so another date has been set for February.
Security agencies take advice after Chinese camera ban in US, UK – 30 November 2022
Australia’s national security agencies have begun restricting the use of surveillance equipment manufactured by two Chinese firms in government facilities amid a similar block in the US and UK over data security concerns. The Department of Home Affairs, ASIO, and ASD are now scrutinising the use of surveillance cameras from Hikvision and Dahua, with some confirming the Chinese made technology now poses an unacceptable risk and is avoided wherever possible.
Star Entertainment sued by AUSTRAC for alleged money-laundering breaches – 30 November 2022
Star casinos are facing massive fines, with the anti-money-laundering regulator AUSTRAC launching a Federal Court action seeking civil penalties. AUSTRAC alleges Star failed to implement legally required monitoring of money-laundering risk. Each individual breach can attract maximum penalties of between $18 million and $22 million.
ICAC passed on Daryl Maguire evidence to ‘relevant agencies’ before conspiracy charge – 30 November 2022
Australian Border Force confirmed it had charged Daryl Maguire with conspiring to commit an offence, alleging it was linked to “visa and migration fraud”. Maggie Logan, has also been charged with 12 counts of causing the delivery of a document with a false statement under the migration act. It is alleged the duo furnished visa applications “containing statements or information that was false or misleading” on the Commonwealth, allowing non-citizens to remain in Australia.
Vic woman ‘sorry’ for part in $10m fraud – 30 November 2022
Jasmine Vella-Arpaci, a Melbourne woman wrote to her victims, telling them she’s sorry for her major role in a cyber crime syndicate that targeted $10 million in Australian superannuation and share accounts. The group succeeded in defrauding $3 million from superannuation accounts and $238,000 from share trading. There were further attempts to obtain $1.8 million from super funds and $5.7 million in shares.
‘Orchestrated attack on the banking system’: Property fraudster jailed – 30 November 2022
Sheree Becker has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for taking out fraudulent loans against the ANZ Bank on behalf of low-income customers, who could not afford them. Becker had signed up people on low incomes, including one on Centrelink benefits, to her vendor finance scheme.
Microsoft scam drains elderly couple’s $249,000 savings as Bendigo Bank fails to block transactions – 1 December 2022
An elderly couple who lost a quarter of a million dollars in a sophisticated online scam have slammed Bendigo Bank for failing to block the suspicious transactions. Two of their banks, NAB and HSBC, immediately blocked the attempted withdrawals when they noticed the unusual payments.
Former bank employee Sara Daizli facing 237 fraud charges – 2 December 2022
Police allege a former bank employee used her role at the bank to open accounts in fictitious names and swindle hundreds of thousands of dollars. Police claim Ms Daizli siphoned money into her bank account under a false name and allegedly made fraudulent loan applications to ANZ and St George banks.
Hackers declare ‘case closed’ as they leak more Australian health data – 1 December 2022
Hackers appear to have ended their extortion bid as they dump more customer data from insurer Medibank, which had refused to pay $9.7 million in exchange for hackers keeping the stolen records off the internet.
Aussie bitcoin mogul sentenced in the US, advisers slam DOJ – 1 December 2022
Australian bitcoin mogul Greg Dwyer, has been sentenced to one year probation after being found guilty of violating US banking laws while he was a senior executive at troubled cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, as his advisers slammed authorities for their heavy-handed approach to his charges.
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Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 25 November 2022
12 stories this week:
Aussie father reveals how scammers outsmarted him and his bank – 16 November 2022
New South Wales Police believe scammers are getting smarter and consumers need to be wary. An Aussie father had $27,380 taken out of his account. The scammers not only outsmarted him, but also his bank.
Origin issues warning for 4.2 million customers – 16 November 2022
Origin is warning customers about a new SMS scam that tries to steal their payment details. The scam text message tells customers they have an unpaid account and directs them to a fake Origin website. From here, the customer is asked to enter their Origin details and payment information.
ClubsNSW litigation against dying whistleblower an ‘abuse of process’, lawyers say – 16 November 2022
Whistleblower Troy Stolz will ask the Federal Court that contempt proceedings brought against him by ClubsNSW to be permanently stayed. ClubsNSW said an interview he gave to YouTuber Friendlyjordies breached a court order. Stolz’s lawyers are expected to argue that material has come to light showing ClubsNSW is bringing its contempt action to intimidate him.
Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to 11 years in prison on fraud charges – 19 November 2022
Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO and founder of Theranos, has been sentenced to just over 11 years in prison for defrauding the investors of her blood testing startup. The sentence comes almost a year after Holmes was found guilty on four counts of fraud following a months-long trial.
Bunnings, Kmart issue urgent warning over new scam – 19 November 2022
Australian job seekers are being warned about a new employment scam circulating on social media, offering jobs at Bunnings and Kmart. The fake Bunnings job ads use the retailer’s official logo and lure unsuspecting job seekers with an hourly rate ranging from $48 to $75 to gain peoples personal details.
Christian Dior has held Caddick funds for years, whistleblower tells authorities – 19 November 2022
A whistleblower from Christian Dior has alerted authorities to hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen by missing fraudster Melissa Caddick, that have been held for the past two years at the fashion house’s Sydney office.
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How fraudsters used Porsche IPO to target Australians – 20 November 2022
Article outline details about the claims of Fraudulent Porsche IPO offerings and BN Capital, pretending to be a financial services entity. The fraud includes highly professional websites, investment documents and correspondence and claims the banks are not doing enough to protect customers.
Coal exporters accused of falsifying data to prove coal is cleaner, boost profits – 21 November 2022
Leaked details provided by a whistlwhistleblower, claim Australian coal exporters are falsifying data to show their coal is cleaner. MP Andrew Wilkie said “the alleged scam has allowed companies to claim for years that Australian coal was cleaner than it was in reality in order to boost profits and to prevent rejection of shipments at their destinations”.
High-flying first Chinese executive at PwC Australia is accused of $3.3million fraud to buy a Porsche and pay for renovations to the six bedroom mansion she shares with her husband – 22 November 2022
Shao Hong, a high-flying audit assurance partner at PwC Australia and her husband Di Wu are accused of stealing $3.3million from Creative Promotions, a family-owned business. It is alleged they stole millions from them between 2010 and 2022 by ‘digitally altering’ genuine invoices and creating other fake invoices. They allegedly spent the money building dream home in Sydney’s north shore. The Couple’s assets have been frozen as they face legal action to recover cash.
Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley sentenced to combined 19 years in prison for bank fraud, tax evasion – 22 November 2022
Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley received sentences for their convictions on charges of bank fraud and tax evasion. In June, the couple were convicted of having inflated their net worth in order to secure more than $30 million in fraudulent loans. They were also found to have dodged their taxes since as early as 2009 and to have hidden their earnings.
HashFlare’s Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin charged over four-year cryptocurrency pyramid scheme – 22 November 2022
Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin are charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. It is alleged that they operated a pyramid scheme and bought luxury cars and real estate with the fraudulent $870 million.
How and why Australian whistleblowing laws need an overhaul: new report – 23 November 2022
Recent developments in Australian whistleblowing cases and the parliamentary debate over Australia’s new National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), have shown how critical it is to get our whistleblower protection laws back up to world standards. A new research report, published by Griffith University, the Human Rights Law Centre and Transparency International Australia, seeks to present a clear roadmap for getting these reforms right.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 18 November 2022
12 stories this week:
Anti-corruption watchdog report ‘unanimous’ but crossbenchers signal whistleblower, public hearings fight ahead – 11 November 2022
Australia has inched closer to having a federal anti-corruption watchdog after a multi-partisan committee scrutinising the proposal handed down a unanimous report in support of it.
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Pilot accused of illegally chartering flights told wife ‘it’s only money, no one’s been run over’ – 11 November 2022
Josh Hoch, a pilot has appeared in court accused of chartering flights for Katter’s Australia Party members without a certificate to fly commercially. He has pleaded not guilty to 14 charges.
Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil flags multiple reforms to protect personal data after Medibank data leaks – 13 November 2022
The Federal Government is considering making it illegal to pay ransoms. Tighter regulation could also extend to data retention, something Cyber Security MinisterClare O’Neil described as a “national vulnerability’. Data retention forms part of a review of the Privacy Act currently being undertaken by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.
The whistleblower tapes exposing racism in Queensland’s police force – 13 November 2022
Audio recordings leaked to Guardian Australia, by a whistleblower reveal several officers and sworn police using racist and offensive language, while working in a Brisbane watch house. The audio, condemned by Queensland police and the state government, follows evidence at the state inquiry into police responses to domestic and family violence, which included dozens of examples of racist, misogynistic and sexist behaviour.
US prosecutors seek 15 years in prison for Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes – 13 November 2022
US prosecutors have recommended Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes spend 15 years in prison and pay $US800 million ($A1.1 billion) to investors defrauded by her blood testing start-up. The company claimed to be able to run many tests on one drop of blood. It collapsed in 2015 after a series of articles suggesting its devices were flawed.
Wannabe rapper confronted over $700k worth of missing gold – 13 November 2022
Abdel Ghadia, found $760,000 in his bank account – and bought gold bars and coins before police arrested him last year. It seems that a mortage brokers email was comprised and a couple purchasing a house where told to transfer into Abdels bank account. Police arrested Ghadia as part of a major crackdown on a ruthless cybercrime syndicate. However, court documents revealed there is no indication Ghadia was involved in the money transfer and the $700,000 worth of gold the rapper bought, has not been recovered.
NEWS: Australia is ‘economically vulnerable’ to dirty money says FinCrime expert – 15 November 2022
A financial crime expert has warned that Australia is “economically vulnerable” to money laundering. Nathan Lynch, author of the Lucky Laundry explained that the country’s role as a “major international hub” for laundering dirty money has developed due to Australia’s dependence on foreign funding.
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Two men who conspired to manipulate recruitment processes at Department of Finance avoid jail – 15 November 2022
Abdul ‘Alex’ El-Debel and Raminder Kahlon were found guilty of conspiring with a third man to dishonestly obtain a benefit from the Commonwealth, by putting forward candidates from companies with which they were associated. They will rve intensive corrections orders for three and a half years, and will also have to complete 300 hours of community service.
Inside a scam: How cybercriminals are shaping Australia’s digital future – 15 November 2022
Cybercrime is the new face of organised crime – except in the online world, you can’t see the crooks. The hackers hide behind their keyboards and phones, wreaking havoc from every corner of the globe. Debroah night, has created the Pod Cast Anatomy of a Scam, were she breaks down some of the more common scams doing the rounds and explore the technology and psychology used by the cyber-crooks.
Government boosts whistleblower laws – 16 November 2022
Whistleblowers in Australia will be afforded stronger protections under new government legislation set to hit parliament. It means Australia will have stronger whistleblower protections in place before the National Anti-Corruption Commission gets going, which is expected from the middle of 2023.
Jim Marinis and Mary-Jane Daffy lose $40,000 and rack up over $20,000 debt in banking scam saga – 16 November 2022
Jim Marinis and Mary-Jane Daffy, a couple who are small business owners in Melbourne, have lost $40,000 from suspected fraudulent bank transactions, after their personal data was stolen. The cyber criminals also racked up $20,000 debt in personal loans taken out online in their name and applied for a $200,000 loan. The Melbourne based criminals are quite experienced and created a spider’s net so extensive, as they hacked Mr Marini’s personal accounts one after the other including his MyGov account.
Email invoice scam targets Victorian farmers, with ‘insane’ amounts of money lost to criminals – 18 November 2022
Scammers have been targeting Victorian farmers with fake invoices that appear to be from regular suppliers. The scammers are including dodgy phone numbers too and it often goes to someone who speaks perfect English.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 11 November 2022
11 stories this week:
Full disclosure: The shake-up about to hit corporate Australia – 5 November 2022
This month, the federal government will release guidelines for companies on the use of controversial non-disclosure agreements in workplaces, following the expected legislation in federal parliament of the Respect at Work bill.
Access to digital version of SMH required to read article
Scammers are turning our most vulnerable into drug mules. Here’s how – 6 November 2022
18 alleged drug mules have been arrested, with some telling the Australian Federal Police (AFP) “they had been coerced into the role after they became victims of online financial scams.” The alleged drug mules are part of a larger trend in which international crime syndicates coerce scam victims into carrying drugs across border to recoup their debts.
California Man Extradited From Australia To Face Charges For Investment Scheme – 7 November 2022
It is alleged that Guzman, executed a scheme to defraud investors of at least $2 million, by falsely representing that he would use the investors’ money to trade in options and other similar investments. Instead it is alleged, he used the money to fund his personal lifestyle and to prevent his victims from redeeming their investments and complaining to authorities, the indictment alleges that Guzman lied to his victims about the status of their investments, and provided them with fake documents, including sham IRS forms and fraudulent account statements. He has been Extradited from Australia to face charges.
Automatic speaker recognition technology outperforms human listeners in courtroom – 8 November 2022
Article discusses research reviewing whether the services of real experts: specialist forensic scientists who employ empirically validated and demonstrably reliable forensic-voice-comparison systems are more reliable than human listeners.
Who Is Extorting Australian Health Insurer Medibank? – 8 November 2022
Medibank publicly said it wouldn’t pay a ransom to attackers who it says took sensitive data of 9.7 million current and former customers. Some cybercrime researchers have dubbed the extorntion group “BlogXX”. BlogXX’s website contains links to the infamous REvil ransomware gang, which attacked the software developer Kaseya in July 2021 and JBS Foods in May 2021. Both incidents had big knock-on effects within Australia.
‘Putin’s chef’ and Wagner group mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin admits meddling in US elections – 8 November 2022
Kremlin-connected entrepreneur Yevgeny Prigozhin has admitted that he has interfered in US elections and would continue to do so, confirming for the first time the accusations he has rejected for years. Mr Prigozhin has been sanctioned by the United States, the UK and the European Union.
ASIC Warns Against Fake IPO Investment Frauds – 9 November 2022
ASIC issued a warning regarding the increased number of fake initial public offering (IPO) investment scams targeting consumers and individual investors. Scammers are impersonating licensed Australian firms and promoting fake offerings. Recently, investors were offered the opportunity to invest in Porsche’s IPO. The fake offers overlapped with the actual listings and led to a loss of funds. ASIC stated that after transferring money to scammers, it is no longer able to help consumers.
Scam losses could hit $4b this year. Should banks wear the cost – 9 November 2022
Australians lost an estimated $2 billion to scams last year, and the government says losses could well double to $4 billion this year. One idea that’s been raised is whether banks should shoulder more of the cost of reimbursing scam victims, thereby giving banks an incentive to improve their defences against scam.
Greek Australian Family robbed out of $40,0000 following massive telecoms hack – 9 November 2022
A Greek Australian family appears to have fallen victim to identity theft following the recent Optus telecoms hack which saw thousands of customer data breached, resulting in them losing some $40,000. Jimmy Marinis and Mary-Jane Daffy said they believed identity thieves “piggy backed” off the Optus hack and gained access to their bank accounts, emptying out their credit cards along the way.
Gold Coast Pensioner’s big bank win after scam fallout – 5 November 2022
A mistake of paying $5 for a supposed unpaid toll in after receiving a scam text message, resulted in Queenslanders loosing $10000 in the Linkt phishing scam.
Worker surveillance tech is outpacing outdated NSW laws – 10 November 2022
The newly published second and final report of the Select Committee on the Impact of Technological and Other Change on the Future of Work and Workers in NSW, which was briefed in March 2020 and published its first report in April, made 13 recommendations to overhaul workplace surveillance and automation legislation that was originally published in 2005. The changes are desperately required due the development of smartphones, high-speed wireless networking, connected security cameras, AI-driven employee monitoring, and other technologies.
Man arrested for $130,000 Centrelink fraud: ‘Scumbag – 10 November 2022
A Taiwanese national was arrested in Sydney after allegedly stealing more than $130,000 in COVID-19 support payments from Centrelink. The fraudsters are believed to have posed as an accounting agency on a messaging app and offered to submit claims on behalf of people who needed to access the payments, in exchange for their details and a fee. The man is also alleged to have stolen several identities and claimed payments in their names.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 4 November 2022
11 stories this week:
Pathology lab, ACL, criticised for five-month delay in reporting patient data hack – 28 October 2022
Australian Clinical Labs (ACL) has been criticised for waiting five months to inform patients their data had been stolen and leaked onto the dark web. This meant criminals could have accessed the stolen data to commit acts like identity theft, financial scams via impersonation for months.
How Facebook scammers hijacked the Herald brand – 31 October 2022
The Sydney Morning Herald’s website layout and branding have been replicated by criminals to spread fake articles on Facebook and dupe people into investing in fraudulent financial schemes.
Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial begins in New York – 1 November 2022
The criminal trial for the Trump Organisation has begun in New York with the prosecution and defence giving their opening statements. Donald Trump’s company was charged with tax fraud in July 2021, over allegations it helped executives cheat their own taxes.
Former Olympian Neil Brooks and wife ‘very confident’ fraud charges against them will be dropped – 2 November 2022
It is alleged that in 2008 Mr and Ms Brooks made dishonest representations about the success of their sports merchandise business, in order to induce two investors to purchase a 50 per cent stake in the company. They believe they will be cleared of these charges in court.
Corruption claims fly in NAB fraud trial – 2 November 2022
A court has heard that 1.2 million dollars of corrupt payments and altered invoices between 2013 and 2017, were all part of an Helen Mary Rosamond’s plan to reward a NAB senior staffer and lock in extended business contracts with the bank.
Financial watchdog launches investigation into Sportsbet and Bet365 over money laundering suspicions – 3 November 2022
Austrac has launched an investigation into gambling companies Sportsbet and Bet365, on suspicions they have failed to comply with anti-money laundering laws. External auditors will be appointed to investigate the suspected non-compliance.
Queensland couple make horror $860,000 mistake – 3 November 2022
A family has lost $860,000 after being strung along for months by an elaborate syndicate of scammers. Coins Markets, or Coinsmarkets.io, taught them how to buy stocks and trade. The company had a sophisticated website complete with a complex login portal and multiple positive ratings across different review sites. Everything appeared to be legitimate until they were asked to place aggressive trades.
Millions forfeited after investigation into fraudulent scheme – 3 November 2022
New Zealand Police has successfully petitioned the High Court for the forfeiture of more than $2 million under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act, following an investigation into funds held in New Zealand by a Malaysian national. An investigation determined it to be related to a fraudulent scheme run in Malaysia – the VenusFX scheme.
Dreyfus faces international pressure over whistleblowers – 4 November 2022
International transparency groups are pushing Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to drop two high-profile whistleblower prosecutions (former Tax Office employee Richard Boyle and former military lawyer David McBride), and have called for better protections for people speaking up against wrongdoing.
Company directors scrambling to get ID or face $13,000 fine in bid to stop ‘dummy directors’ – 4 November 2022
It will be mandatory for all company directors covered by the Corporations Act to have a unique ID number by end of November. The Directors Identification Numbers are being introduced in a bid to crack down on so-called “dummy directors” and company “phoenixing” by allowing authorities to track activities through various government databases.
Cybercrime reports jump as criminal gangs target families and businesses, cybersecurity agency says – 4 November 2022
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has launched its third annual threat report, revealing that it received over 76,000 cybercrime reports last financial year – a 13 per cent increase from the year before. Criminal gangs are weaponising sensitive stolen data at a greater scale.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 28 October 2022
14 stories this week:
Central Queensland woman refused bail after facing court over alleged Luke Combs ticket scam – 18 October 2022
A Central Queensland woman has been charged after allegedly scamming more than a dozen country music fans up to $3,500 each. She was arrested and charged with 16 counts of fraud.
Credit Suisse Set to Settle Criminal Tax Case in France – 21 October 2022
Credit Suisse Group AG will aim to settle a tax fraud and money laundering case in France, that saw coordinated raids in five countries from Australia to the UK. The Swiss lender is in the final stretch of negotiations with prosecutors at the Parquet National Financier, to reach a settlement that would include a fine but no admission of guilt.
NSW Govt backs AI inquiry
The NSW Government has agreed to back an inquiry into the use of artificial intelligent technology and whether NSW’s legislative framework is “fit-for-purpose”. The proposed inquiry will explore areas such as transport, health and cyber security, alongside technology including facial recognition, biometric surveillance, and algorithmic programming. – 21 October 2022
Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as Vladimir Putin’s chef, revealed as Wagner Group mercenary boss – 23 October 2022
Over the years, Yevgeny Prigozhin has been at Vladimir Putin’s side, often serving him lavish meals. Recently however, he confirmed that he is the owner of the Wagner Mercenary Group and his guns for hire have played a critical role in keeping Putin’s war going. Now, the man who used to quietly stand behind Putin’s shoulder has revealed himself to be one of his most influential figures inside the Kremlin. This article outlines his humble beginnings and criminal past.
Corporate misincentives – 22 October 2022
Paper outlines how the provision of so many of our essential services – such as telecommunications, power, aged care, disability care and childcare and training services – are tainted by bad corporate behaviour. It seems that all that is required is lots of government money and a set of rules and regulations that can be interpreted subjectively for systems to be rorted. The regulatory framework needs to include clear and significant penalties for bad corporate behaviour.
Australia flags new corporate penalties for privacy breaches – 22 October 2022
After two major cybersecurity breaches left millions vulnerable to criminals, Australia has proposed tougher penalties for companies that fail to protect customers’ personal data. The penalties for serious breaches of the Privacy Act would increase from 2.2 million Australian dollars ($1.4 million) now to AU$50 million ($32 million) under amendments to be introduced to Parliament. A company could also be fined the value of 30% of its revenues over a defined period if that amount exceeded AU$50 million ($32 million).
‘Dracula in the blood bank’: Years of inappropriate billing for spine surgery revealed – 22 October 2022
A 2018 review, conducted by spine surgeon Dr Roy Carey has revealed that doctors spent years inappropriately billing Medicare and private health insurers for expensive and questionable spinal surgery.
Access to digital version of WA today required to read article.
Growth in cybersecurity attacks against Australia outpacing global average – 24 October 2022
Imperva threat research has found that cyberattacks against Australia in 2022 has grown in both frequency and severity at a rate that outpaces the global average. The data suggests that cybercriminals see Australia and its citizens as lucrative targets. Between July 2021 and June 2022 there was an 81% increase in attacks, with the most heavily targeted industries being financial, retail, and business services.
Queensland lawyer Michael Bosscher charged over alleged involvement in $4.5m money laundering syndicate – 25 October 2022
Queensland lawyer Michael Bosscher has been charged over his alleged involvement in a $4.5 million money laundering operation. He is alleged to have opened fraudulent bank accounts in the name of clients at his consultancy business without their knowledge and has been charged with conspiring to deal in the proceeds of general crime worth $1 million or more.
Customers in limbo as Medibank data breach shapes up as far worse than the Optus hack – 26 October 2022
Australia’s Data Breach Debacle Expands
Privacy fears for children caught up in Medibank data breach
The private health provider revealed the cyber attack on its customers’ data could impact about 4 million current customers along with an unknown number of former customers too. Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil described latest development in the Medicare data breach as deeply concerning.
National DNA Program partners with Othram to use forensic genetic genealogy for unsolved Australian case solved Australian cases – 26 October 2022
The AFP will have access to specialised forensic DNA testing, not currently available in Australia, to identify human remains and develop new leads for unsolved crimes, by partnering with a world-leading forensic genomics laboratory Othram.
ASIC faces new Senate inquiry over ‘inaction’ – 27 October 2022
ASIC will be hauled before a fresh Senate inquiry for allegedly failing to enforce the law, after the opposition and crossbench MPs joined forces to act on what they said was widespread community concern that ASIC “was not very responsive”.
Man allegedly scammed ‘vulnerable victims’ out of $9 million then fled the country – 26 October 2022
A man accused of scamming people out of $9 million while posing as a financial planner in Melbourne, has been arrested after landing back in the country. Police are alleging the man worked as a financial planner around Brighton and was unlicensed. Investigators have identified at least 34 alleged victims they believe to be linked to the man from 2014 to 2018.
Sydney man charged over COVID-19 payment fraud – 27 October 2022
A Sydney man has been charged making allegedly fraudulent claims of more than $130,000 in COVID-19 Disaster Payments and Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments as part of criminal syndicate. Police allege the syndicate was using stolen identities, claiming payments in their names and directing the funds to bank accounts controlled by the syndicate.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 21 October 2022
15 stories this week:
Identity – 13 October 2022
A 30-year-old Queensland man charged with hundreds of identity fraud offences, allegedly also threatened to murder some of his victims when they tried to get their online accounts back.
The messages were uncovered on electronic devices found when a search warrant was executed at a Pallara home last December.
Australia becoming hotbed for cyber attacks – 14 October 2022
Research shows an 81% increase in cyber security incidents in Australia between July 2021 and June 2022. The top three most common risks faced by Australian organisations were automated threats and remote code execution (RCE) or remote file inclusion (RFI).
On trial for bravely telling the truth – 14 October 2022
The trial of a whistleblower who spoke up about government wrongdoing has begun in Adelaide. The article looks at why its come to this, considering Richard Boyle told the truth. He spoke up because the Australian Taxation Office, an immensely powerful government agency, was abusing its power. It was ruining the lives of small business owners and Boyle, a tax office employee in its debt recovery division, wanted to do the right thing.
Access to digital version SMH required to read the article.
Australian Insurer Back Online After Cyberattack – 14 October 2022
Medibank, a private health insurance company serving nearly 4 million Australians has restored access to its policy writing systems, after taking them offline following a cyber incident. Medibank Chief Executive Officer David Koczkar acknowledged the cyber incident to his customers and also requested the Australian Securities Exchange to impose a “trading halt.”
2.2 million Woolworths MyDeal customers exposed in data breach – 15 October 2022
Woolworths has confirmed MyDeal customers have had their data exposed after a “compromised user credential” was used to hack into the system. Woolworths said MyDeal was in the process of contacting around 2.2 million Aussies by email who have been impacted.
The lucrative business of romance scams – 15 October 2022
Internet romance scams cost Australians an estimated $142 million last year, but the law can do little to protect people from emotional exploitation. It is possible, that some of this conduct could be captured by coercive control laws, that are soon to be introduced in Queensland and New South Wales. The difficulty is trying to establish how far the law should, or indeed can, go to protect people from the intangible – but real – harms of emotional exploitation.
Scams, the Optus data breach and keeping your personal data secure – here are the top tips to help you avoid falling victim – 15 October 2022
Great article that shares some top tips on keeping your data secure and answers questions such as “How does the ACCC identify new and changing scams? Have there been many cases of data breaches being used for coercive control?
Federal government describes reports of Medicare fraud as ‘troubling’, AMA condemns ‘unjustified slur’ on doctors – 18 October 2022
A joint investigation by the ABC and Nine newspapers has found doctors are abusing the $28 billion system, at times putting patients at risk and even billing dead Australians to boost profits. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the government will seek to get to the bottom of allegations of Medicare rorting.
Federal ICAC whistleblowers ‘will remain silent’ without stronger protections: lawyer – 18 October 2022
Whistleblower protections put forward in the federal government’s national anti-corruption watchdog do not go far enough and could deter people from coming forward with possible misconduct, a human rights lawyer has warned.
How financial services businesses can avoid fraud – 18 October 2022
As the financial system becomes increasingly decentralised, online criminals are becoming more sophisticated in the ways they breach security protocols. This article looks at why financial fraud is on the rise and discusses how businesses in the financial sector can protect themselves, with thorough due diligence tools, including an examination of their existing and potential clients’ credit history and criminal risk.
The threat keeping Australian CEOs up at night – 18 October 2022
The Optus hack is officially a nightmare for corporate Australia and the chief executive of National Australia Bank, Ross McEwan, says the telco’s travails should galvanise every company in the country into action.
Anti-corruption proposal a missed opportunity for whistleblower protection – 18 October 2022
The Human Rights Law Centre has told a parliamentary inquiry that the draft legislation to establish the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is a missed opportunity for whistleblower protections and should be strengthened.
Australians losing superannuation savings to sophisticated new scam – 19 October 2022
A sophisticated new scam has been uncovered, that targets the retirement nest eggs of Australians. The scam used the names Invest Fast or Invest Quick and pretended to be a financial advice firm based in Melbourne. At least 45 SMSFs were created for potential victims. Investigator Ken Gamble believes there is evidence to link the Invest Quick scam to the Metro Manila call centre.
Collapsed cryptocurrency exchange used customer funds for business loan – 19 October 2022
An Australian cryptocurrency exchange, Blockchain Global that collapsed last year trapping more than $20 million of customer money, dipped into customer funds to provide a loan to support another part of its business instead of keeping the funds on reserve.
Access to digital version of SMH required to read article
Private contractor use in APS was a major corruption risk, NACC whistleblower protections inadequate, inquiry told – 20 October 2022
An explosion in the use of third-party contractors for public service work under the Coalition posed a serious corruption risk, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.
Access to digital version of Canberra times required to read article
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 14 October 2022
11 stories this week:
Elaborate scam allegedly used leading finance app to trick victims out of superannuation – 4 October 2022
Australian victims of a sophisticated superannuation scam have raised concerns about how they were given access to a leading finance app, which they claim gave them false confidence their money was safe. ASIC is investigating a “third party” in relation to the scam.
Banks ‘cyber mature’ but remain top target for scammers – 5 October 2022
Criminals exploiting snippets of personal information to trick customers and employees into opening themselves and their firms to fraud remains the top way Australian financial services businesses are initially breached. Social engineering attacks are also the main way hackers and scammers initially got into financial services companies, using it as a Trojan horse for phishing, fraud and false billing.
Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.
Australian Firm Costa Group Suffers Phishing Attack – 8 October 2022
Australian fruit and vegetable supplier Costa Group says it was subjected to a malicious and sophisticated phishing attack in August, that resulted in unauthorized access to its servers. Sensitive information stolen may include workers’ passport details, bank details, superannuation details and tax file numbers.
‘Large-scale’ GST fraud sees ATO allegedly scammed out of more than $1.8 million – 8 October 2022
The ATO was defrauded of more than $1.8 million through falsified Business Activity Statements. The offenders are accused of inventing fake businesses and submitting fictitious Business Activity Statements, in an attempt to gain a false GST refund.
Former Ipswich council figures charged ratepayers $30,000 for exclusive Brisbane Club dining and memberships – 13 October 2022
More than $30,000 worth of boozy dinners, family perks and ongoing memberships by former senior Ipswich council figures were spent at an exclusive Brisbane Club. Mayor Teresa Harding has labelled the spending “utterly disgusting” and is calling for a forensic audit.
ACCC issues warning as farmers hit by online scammers taking advantage of supply shortages – 13 October 2022
Almost 300 reports of fraudulent sales of tractors and other farm machinery have been made to the ACCC’s Scamwatch between January and August this year, a 21 per cent increase in reports made for the same period in 2021. The ACCC says the sale of fake tractors and heavy machinery alone resulted in losses of $1 million.
Police charge man with hundreds of identity fraud offences, South Brisbane – 13 October 2022
A 30-year-old man was arrested by detectives and charged with more than 300 offences, predominantly relating to identity fraud offences, spanning at least two years. The charges relate not only to the alleged possession of the identification information belonging to more than 160 people, but also to alleged threats made to victims of the frauds, who attempted to take back their online identities, which had been hacked by the man.
China’s mysterious police presence in Sydney – 13 October 2022
It has been revealed this week that a web of police “service stations” have been set up around the world by the People’s Republic of China, ostensibly to help Chinese nationals renew their government-issued identification and drivers’ licenses. But according to a human rights group, the stations have been used to spy on the Chinese diaspora for the Chinese Communist Party. The report accuses stations overseas of involvement in forcibly “returning” more than 200,000 overseas nationals to China.
Optus data breach exposes surveillance capitalism – 13 October 2022
The Optus data breach in late September involved the data of about 10 million customers. It has raised important privacy concerns and led to questions about how personal data is managed by private and public entities. A 2-year review of the Privacy Act, which ended in January, had not yet released information. The Australian Information Industry Association is now calling on the federal government to release an exposure draft before the end of the year.
Hillsong whistleblower allegedly stood down for giving information to charities regulator, court told – 13 October 2022
Natalie Moses, a Hillsong whistleblower alleges she was unlawfully disciplined for providing information to the charities regulator, during an investigation into the global church’s accounts.
A deep dive into a corporate espionage operation – 12 October 2022
There has been a dramatic shift in the level of sophistication of cyberattacks. The article explores data exfiltration and the threat of industrial espionage and explains why these attacks are on the rise.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 7 October 2022
14 stories this week:
Facebook Marketplace scammer falsified bank transfers, Tasmania Police allege – 3 October 2022
Police allege that a Tasmanian man dishonestly obtained $200,000 worth of property from people who were attempting to sell items on Facebook Marketplace, after presenting a falsified bank transfer receipt.
Illegal phoenix activity – 5 October 2022
Illegal phoenix activity occurs when a new company continues the business of a liquidated company to avoid paying its debts by selling assets, creating dummy directors etc. Article explores what Illegal phoenix is, what you can do to avoid it, and how you can legally resurrect an insolvent or near-insolvent company.
Fraudster targeted Australian super accounts in $3 million scam – 5 October 2022
Vella-Arpaci pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to defraud over separate superannuation and share trading frauds, and to conspiring to deal in proceeds of crime. Police found she held numerous passports, driver’s licences, debit cards and Medicare cards.
Those details were used to withdraw funds from accounts and arrange shares to be sold, with proceeds deposited in newly opened bank accounts and laundered through the purchase of diamonds.
Banks ‘cyber mature’ but remain top target for scammers – 5 October 2022
Criminals exploiting snippets of personal information to trick customers and employees into opening themselves and their firms to fraud remains the top way Australian financial services businesses are initially breached. These social engineering attacks were the main way hackers and scammers initially get into financial services companies, using it as a Trojan horse for phishing, fraud and false billing.
SMSF scam investigation sees call centre raided – 5 October 2022
A scam call centre in Manila set up to steal retirement funds by posing as an Australian company was raided by Cybercrime investigation company IFW Global and the Philippines National Police this month. The scam orchestrators aimed to gather critical information from victims by pretending to be Australian Securities Administration Limited (ASAL), a legitimate and licensed company.
Richard spoke up about inappropriate behaviour at his work. Now he’s facing prison – 5 October 2022
Article is a good summary of how it all started for Richard Boyle and whats happening next. In 2017 Mr Boyle, made a public interest disclosure about maladministration at the Adelaide debt collection centre of the ATO. He was subsequently charged with 66 offences after having his house raided. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID) is supposed to protect Commonwealth employees who speak up on wrongdoing but these protections have never been tested in court. If the District Court or higher courts reject Mr Boyle’s claim for immunity, he will face a criminal trial in October 2023.
Economist alleges corporate watchdog ASIC is only investigating tiny proportion of complaints – 6 October 2022
An economist alleges ASIC is doing fewer investigations compared to the number of complaints it is receiving. Alleging that fewer than 1 per cent of complaints are going on to be investigated. ASIC has responded saying that 35 per cent of complaints were referred for action, resolved or beyond its jurisdiction. A table is included with an extract of ASIC’s annual report that notes what percentage of complaints it investigates.
Banks get temporary access to Optus customer data to watch for fraud – 6 October 2022
Banks will have to comply with strict requirements to receive customer identification details from Optus to guard against fraud, including making written assurances to regulators, proving they can securely store information and pledging to destroy it when it is no longer required. New regulations unveiled by the Albanese government in response to the Optus cyberattack will allow telecommunications companies to temporarily share customers’ government identification details including driver’s licence, Medicare and passport numbers with banks. Names, addresses and birth dates will not be shared.
Customers lose as banks, telcos pass buck on scam – 6 October 2022
National Australia Bank says it is not responsible for refunding customers duped into transferring their money to criminals who impersonate the bank’s telephone number, but says the banks are now working more closely with telco operators to close gaps that allow these scams to occur.
One in 10 young people willing to become money mules in return for cash – 6 October 2022
In the last 12 months there has been a surge in Money Mule cases amongst older age groups, with a 26% increase in those aged 31 to 39, and a 29% increase in those aged over 40. If a person is caught moving stolen funds, money mules will be left with no bank account, a damaged credit score and the inability to apply for a loan or even a phone contract in the future. They could also end up with a 14-year prison sentence for the crime.
NZ police need better training in privacy and human rights law – here is what should happem – 6 October 2022
The New Zealand Police were recently found to have been routinely and illegally photographing young people and adults in public. There are rules governing the collection of information, with protecting privacy a key requirement. A report revealed that the police did not follow relevant privacy rules.
Teenager arrested for alleged scam on Optus victims as government lets telco share data – 6 October 2022
Federal police have arrested a 19-year-old Sydney man for allegedly sending $2000 blackmail scam texts to 93 people whose data was separately published by the Optus hacker.
West Australian farmer scammed out of $16,000 after trying to purchase cattle on Facebook – 7 October 2022
Scammers are getting better at appearing as legitimate sellers. Police are warning of scammers purporting to sell livestock on Facebook. A farmer in Western Australia’s South West has lost $16,500.
Sydney news: The King’s School under investigation over use of public money – 7 October 2022
The King’s School in NSW, is under investigation by the NSW Department of Education. There are allegations of possible misuse of taxpayers’ funds over building and other plans. The King’s School in Sydney reportedly planned to install a plunge pool at the headteacher’s residence and sent the school’s senior staff to attend a British rowing event.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 30 September 2022
11 stories this week:
Optus data breach: who is affected, what has been taken and what should you do? – 22 September 2022
Optus customers’ private information may be compromised after a cyber-attack. It is believed the attackers were working for a criminal or state-sponsored organisation. For some customers identity document numbers such as driver’s licence or passport numbers could be in the hands of criminals.
Federal ICAC a ‘great step’ but whistleblowers still at risk without a protection agency: David McBride – 22 September 2022
It is expected the federal government will introduce its much-anticipated national anti-corruption commission bill this week, as crossbenchers demand the proposed legislation include stronger whistleblower protections.
Two arrests over business email compromise (BEC) scam – 26 September 2022
A Tasmanian victim was arranging the purchase of a house through a conveyancer. The email correspondence from the conveyancer to the victim was compromised by a third party who altered the attached account payment information. As a result, the victim unwittingly transferred over $1.2 million to the scammers.
Australian crypto exchange appoints administrators – 27 September 2022
‘Mine Digital’, a digital asset exchange and brokerage has collapsed and control handed to external administrators, amid a dispute where it is being sued for allegedly not doing enough to weed out scammers from its platform. In July, Scammers used the crypto exchange to facilitate the movement of money from investors they tricked using a sham company called 500 Investments.
Avoiding a surveillance society: how better rules can rein in facial recognition tech – 27 September 2022
Our laws have not kept pace with the extraordinary rise of facial recognition technology and has left our community vulnerable to harmful uses of facial recognition. To fill the legal gap, it is proposed a “model law”: an outline of legislation that governments around Australia could adopt or adapt to regulate risky uses of facial recognition while allowing safe ones.
‘Whistleblower’ letter triggered NAB probe, trial of alleged fraudster told – 27 September 2022
A sydney court as part of the Helen Rosamond trial, has recently heard that an anonymous letter exposing an alleged fraud at the NAB came as a shock to a senior bank investigator in the days before Christmas 2017.
To read full article – digital version of SMH required.
Hundred who stole $350 million from their Australian employers – 27 September 2022
New Australian research has been conducted detailing detailed over one hundred cases where employees ripped off their bosses for at least $1 million. Findings are summarised in this article.
Laws for a federal anti-corruption body have been unveiled. Here’s what you need to know – 28 September 2022
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus introduced legislation to the lower house on Wednesday to set up the National Anti-Corruption Commission. This body would operate independently of the government and have powers to investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the commonwealth public sector. Protections for whistleblowers and journalists as well as safeguards to protect reputations are also included in the proposal.
PNG minister, police hit out at Australia over extradition request for alleged fraudster and Cairns resident Samson Jubi – 28 September 2022
A Papua New Guinea government minister and top justice officials say they are “extremely frustrated” with Australia for harbouring Samson Jubi., a Cairns resident wanted for a mulit-million dollar fraud. He is wanted over the alleged misappropriation of 268 million kina, ($117 million) from impoverished communities in the country’s Western Province.
What does the Optus data breach reveal about corporate governance problems around cyber security? – 29 September 2022
The Optus data breach has exposed wider corporate governance issues in Australian companies around cyber security. Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said that “What has occurred over the last week has been a wakeup call for corporate Australia and we need to be doing everything we can, to make sure that protections are in place”. Article also contains a link to the Department of Home Affairs discussion paper, that highlighted weaknesses in Australian cyber security regulations and incentives. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-29/optus-data-breach-exposes-corporate-governance-gaps-around-cyber/101483874
Anthony Koletti denies delaying his police report so Melissa Caddick could disappear, court hears – 29 September 2022
The husband of accused Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick has flatly denied assisting her in disappearing, delaying a police report to buy her time and withholding information. Mr Koletti waited 30 hours after his wife disappeared to report her missing.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 23 September 2022
9 stories this week:
Elie Douna: Illawarra property developer sentenced for $15m loan scam – 21 September 2022
A disgraced Illawarra property developer has been sentenced for orchestrating a failed $14.7 million loan scam. Douna made up fake potential buyers in an effort to obtain a nearly $15 million loan.
Donald Trump and adult children sued by New York attorney-general for fraud – 22 September 2022
Former US president Donald Trump and his company have been sued by New York’s Attorney-General for fraud, allegedly padding his net worth by billions of dollars by manipulating the value of assets when preparing his company’s annual financial statements from 2011-2021. His children Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump have also been accused of aiding the alleged fraud.
Former first lady of Honduras Rosa Bonilla jailed after spending more than $756,000 on credit cards and school fees – 22 September 2022
The former first lady of Honduras, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of fraud and misappropriation of funds destined for social programs. She spent $756,609
meant for low-income children on personal credit card payments, her children’s school fees and real estate construction.
Former Cancer Council ambassador Amanda Power charged with fraud – 23 September 2022
A former Cancer Council ambassador has been charged with nine counts of fraud, after she allegedly faked a cancer diagnosis, to secure thousands of dollars from the community.
Warning over ‘spike’ in puppy scams causing $4.2m nightmare for Australians – 23 September 2022
Thousands of Australians have been hit by puppy scams, losing thousands in the process, with warnings there has been another spike in recent weeks. The (ACCC) revealed losses from pet scams have jumped more than 1000 per cent over the last two years.
ClubsNSW accuses terminally ill whistleblower of ‘blatant self-interest’ – 23 September 2022
Troy Stolz, who worked at ClubsNSW from 2011 to 2019, is being sued by his former employer for breaching the confidentiality clause of his contract, after he released an internal report that found 95 per cent of registered clubs were not compliant with money laundering laws. ClubsNSW is also prosecuting him for contempt, alleging that he intimidated, harassed or otherwise brought improper pressure on the organisation in his public comments.
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Secrecy Is Lifted, But the Government Continues Its Punitive Prosecution of Richard Boyle – 23 September 2022
ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle is set to go before the Adelaide District Court to continue his public interest disclosure (PID) defence proceedings. And despite the Commonwealth, yet again, attempting to hide evidence of corruption, an applied suppression order has been lifted.
1 in 5 Aussies prepared to lie for loans – 23 September 2022
A damning new report has shone a light on the growing issue of multifaceted and complex loan-seeker fraud in the domestic mortgage market. One in five (19 per cent) Australians believe it’s okay to tell a “white lie” and report having less debt than they actually have in a financial service or loan application.
Older Aussies are exposed by shift to online banking – 23 September 2022
ACCC’s Scamwatch reports Australians over 65 have lost more money to phishing scams this year than all other age groups combined – totalling over $6.5 million in the first eight months of the year. A drive by banks to get people banking online combined with an increase of seniors using smartphones, and tablets, makes creates a perfect storm for phishing scammers.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 16 September 2022
10 stories this week:
A 96yo has almost $500k taken by son, daughter-in-law, documents filed in Mackay court allege – 12 September 2022
A 96-year-old woman has allegedly lost almost $500,000 to the people who were supposed to be caring for her. Court documents allege the 96-year-old was asked to sign blank cheques by her son Maxwell Finlay Turner and his wife Debbie Maree Turner over several years.
UAE rejects Danish court’s extradition of Sanjay Shah in billion dollar tax fraud charges – 12 September 2022
Sanjay Shah is under investigation for one of Denmark’s largest-ever fraud cases. He is suspected of masterminding a US$1.7 billion ($2.47 billion) tax scheme and cannot be extradited to Denmark to face charges.
AUSTRAC launches investigation into betting giant and Ladbrokes owner Entain – 12 September 2022
The corporate betting giant Entain Group Pty Ltd, that owns the bookie firm Ladbrokes, is being investigated by Australian federal agents over a possible violation of an anti-money laundering and terrorism financing law.
Cryptocurrency scam losses hit new high in Queensland as cost of living bites – 12 September 2022
Queenslanders have lost $40 million dollars so far this year in cryptocurrency and investment scams – the highest loss ever recorded in the state. Scammers are using sophisticated strategies to lure their victims in, including posing as celebrities and even as Queensland police officers on social media. Nationally, $263 million has been lost this year, almost double the losses in 2021.
Jason Bran Lees convicted over ‘sophisticated’ computer hacking scheme has sentence reduced – 13 September 2022
Jason Bran Lees who has been convicted of diverting $1.15 million from small businesses and charities in a “sophisticated” computer hacking scheme, has had his 8 years sentence reduced. The elaborate computer hacking scheme targeted the payroll systems of at least 23 organisations, including a charity for disadvantaged Indigenous Australians.
How financial services businesses can avoid fraud – 13 September 2022
Article looks at why financial fraud is on the rise and discusses how businesses in the financial sector can protect themselves with due diligence tools, including an examination of their existing and potential clients’ credit history and criminal risk.
Alleged Thai ‘love scammer’ denied bail in Australia – 13 September 2022
Siriluck Fatima Chimmalee is accused of stealing from men she met online through a dating app. She is facing trial for over 100 charges of fraud.
Police say she allegedly pretended to be a registered remitter and charged customers steep inflation rates, to exchange large sums of money from Australia to other countries – charges to which she has so far pleaded not guilty.
Twitter misleading the public, whistleblower says – 14 September 2022
Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter Zatko, has told US lawmakers the firm is “misleading the public” about how secure the platform really is. Mr Zatko was giving evidence following an 84-page long whistleblowing complaint he made about security practices inside the social network. He was fired by the firm in January.
Fraudsters use CBA brand to lure investors into fake bonds – 15 September 2022
Criminals are using the brands of CBA and London-headquartered funds asset manager Aviva Investors in attempts to defraud potential investors with fake, high-yield bond offerings. Investors searching for stable income amid a crash in technology stocks and as the easy money of low interest rates disappears, are coming up against a range of internet scams.
Melissa Caddick inquest hears request by fraudster’s mother and brother to give evidence – 15 September 2022
An inquest is examining when and where Ms Caddick died. The investigation contain reference to a proposed experiment where by several pig carcasses were cast into the ocean, after being fitted with tracking devices and running shoes. One of the aims was to ascertain the behaviour of sharks, the inquest was told. The court has heard an autopsy was unable to determine if the foot was separated as a result of blunt force, sharp force, or decomposition. The inquest, continues.
Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 2 September 2022
11 stories this week:
World-first database set to help WA Police combat threat of 3D-printed guns – 26 August 2022
A world-first database which could help law enforcement agencies investigate criminals who are caught with 3D-printed firearms, has been developed in WA by a forensic expert who fears the technology will be used in crimes in the near future.
What will Australian regulation mean for cryptocurrency? – 26 August 2022
Australia is set to be the first country to do a virtual stocktake of the cryptocurrency sector, in a move that has global commentators buzzing. The initial focus for the government will be ‘token mapping’, which refers to grouping types of crypto assets based on their technological features and underlying code.
Expert says if it’s ‘too good to be true,’ then it’s likely a scam – 26 August 2022
Businesses and consumers should become wary as losses to imposter bond investment scams almost tripled in the first half of 2022, with consumers losing more than $20mil. The imposter bond scams often impersonate legit financial companies or banks and claim that they advance government/treasury bonds or fixed-term deposits.
Bill Shorten issues NDIS fraud crackdown warning as woman jailed, another charged – 27 August 2022
A 47-year-old has been charged for allegedly defrauding the NDIS of more than $300,000 after lodging fraudulent claims for people from across the country, including in Far North Queensland and Victoria.
Julian Assange files latest appeal against extradition to US – 27 August 2022
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lodged an appeal in a UK court against his extradition to the US, where he faces 175 years in jail. Assange has been indicted on 17 espionage charges in the US and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of military and diplomatic documents leaked by whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
Australia’s ASIC lays out roadmap for safeguarding consumers from digital assets scams – 27 August 2022
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) is looking to focus more on protecting consumers from digital assets and cyber crimes, as part of its “Corporate Plan” for 2022-2026.
Scammers shift their sights from card payments to crypto – 28 August 2022
Despite a surge in online card payments, card fraud has reduced because most scammers now ask for payment in cyptocurrencies. Anonymity makes it much more difficult to identify the perpetrators, or recover lost money.
Storage scams look to burn your wallet with fake space – 29 August 2022
It’s not just email or phone scams you need to worry about, but also scams dealing with fake hardware. It’s a scam selling cheap external solid state storage device advertising 30TB, but turning out to instead be two 512MB microSD drives with dodgy firmware.
Corporate cop launches investigation into collapse of AI start-up Metigy – 29 August 2022
ASIC has launched an investigation into the collapse of artificial intelligence marketing start-up Metigy, whose founder (David Farifull) went on an $18 million property buying spree in the months before it went into administration. Fairfull’s private company allegedly received a $7.7 million loan from Metigy in November 2021, for which he signed as both borrower and lender, according to the administrators’ report into the company.
Financial crimes regulator probes Perth Mint – 30 August 2022
The financial crimes regulator has launched an investigation into Perth Mint, Australia’s biggest gold and silver refiner, over what it has described as compliance concerns, and ordered the appointment of an external auditor under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.
Warrant out for Thai dance Youtuber ‘Nutty’ after hundreds report losing thousands to Forex scam – 31 August 2022
Natthamon aka ”Nutty”, who was a popular YouTuber in Thailand cheated thousands of followers out of nearly $80 million. 6,000 people gave Natthamon money to invest after being promised to see returns of up to 35 percent if they wired through cash.