News and Analysis
The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator. Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.
Alleged family day-care fraud more disciplined than outlaw motorcycle gang: police – 12 September 2019
17 people have been charged over their role in operating a fake home family day care business. Police allege the business created false timesheets and rostering, mock children’s play areas and advertised photographs of children who were never in care to fraudulently claim benefits. The syndicate allegedly gained $4 million in 10 months.
Australian citizen Mounzer Kheder who claimed to be a member of the Australian Parliament, stole more than $9,500 from a family who fled war-torn Syria and hoped to come to Australia.
A Wollongong real estate agent Hakan Kutup, has been charged with 27 offences relating to the alleged misappropriation of more than $480,000. It is alleged that he fabricated contracts of sales and agency agreement documents and falsified signatures and bank deposits
A Bondi, NSW man has been sentenced to two years imprisonment. He took part in transactions that had the effect of creating an artificial price for trading in shares of PMR shares on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
‘Australia is getting it wrong’: Whistleblower startup chief warns over lack of protections – 8 September 2019
Co-founder of whistleblower app Whispli says cases like that of ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle, who is facing 161 years in jail will mean no one will want to speak out. Australia should actually value whistleblowers for who they are and what they are trying to do for society and not try to damage them.
A court battle has begun between ASX-listed Rural Funds Group (RFG) and the short seller Bonitas Research. Allegations include that RFG was being used as a vehicle to siphon money to its fund manager, that board members had conflicts of interest, rental revenues from almond farms had been inflated and $900 million worth of assets are worthless.
Victoria’s President of the Court of Appeal Chris Maxwell has called for a full review into forensic methodologies and the research and scientific standards underpinning them. A research council stated that “many forensic tests have never been exposed to scientific scrutiny”. In Australia, forensic evidence has been falsely interpreted and used, wrongly, to obtain a conviction, such as in the Lindy Chamberlain case.
Driver’s licences the ‘golden ticket’ of ID theft as authorities struggle to protect fraud victims – 6 September 2019
Identity theft is a growing problem in Australia, costing $2.2 billion per year. Losing your driver’s licence is a golden ticket to your identity. A victim in WA may always be exposed as it is impossible to change your licence number even after your identity has been stolen. Experts are saying the system is failing victims and leaving people vulnerable to further abuse.
Bitcoin aussie system high profile cryptocurrency scams and what you can learn from them – 6 September 2019
Explanation of cryptocurrency scams, the use of false sites and celebrities and how to protect against cryptocurrency scams.
NSW Police has advised that the public should not allow unknown people to remotely access their computer which will let them access banking and email data.
Ms Elaine Ayoub was disqualified from managing companies for a period of five years. It was found that BAS and income tax returns were not lodged, companies were trading whilst insolvent, financial records were inadequate and she did not discharge her duties as director.
Australia’s competition regulator the ACCC has strengthened its cartel immunity and cooperation policy – and launched a whistleblower tool to facilitate anonymous reporting of cartel activities.
In the most recent annual inspections of the U.S. arms of the Big Four for which the oversight board has reported results, inspectors found that each firm botched at least 20% of their audits. In some cases, they were so bad that the accounting firms had no business issuing opinions based on those audits.
Bank of Queensland, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank sued by ASIC over ‘unfair’ contracts – 4 September 2019
Many banks have “non-monetary default” clauses in their loan contracts, particularly for business customers. ASIC is taking Bank Of Queensland, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to court, alleging such clauses are unfair and should be unenforceable. There are no penalties for companies that include unfair terms in their contracts
Australian banks and credit unions will have increased pressure to tighten controls and security PayID systems as their transactional systems are secretly penetration tested. This is to find deficiencies and stop fraud.
‘The Clean as a Whistle” report developed from one of the world’s largest whistleblowing studies calls for the creation of a joint central whistleblower authority, to provide support to people who report wrongdoing in both the public and private sectors.
The popularity of online banking has rendered millennials (18to34’s) as the generation most vulnerable to bank fraud according to a report from Lloyds Bank. On the other hand, those from the older generation aged 55 and over lose the most amount of cash. ASIC has revealed a “strategic change program” in an effort to curb bank outages, online fraud and data breaches.
Unwell and resigning: Woman’s email to boss after fraud totalling thousands of dollars was exposed – 2 September 2019
Allison Egar, 45, was sentenced at Coffs Harbour District Court on Thursday for two counts of dishonestly obtaining property by deception. She created false invoices across a number of firms she worked for and abused their trust for years.
QR code’s are often used to share an address when transferring cryptocurrency between two devices, however due to the fact that the codes are not humanly readable, it opens an avenue for fraud.
A CPA paper outlining how the new tax whistleblower laws introduce protections and remedies into the Taxation Administration Act. When a whistleblower reports any form of reasonably suspected impropriety – be it accepting undocumented cash payments or backdating tax documents, through to large-scale tax fraud – they are potentially eligible for protection under the new legislation.
Article outlines the controversies around privacy issues and surveillance by using smart assistants including Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s (AAPL) Siri. Each company admitted that human workers listen to users’ queries as a means of improving their digital assistants’ voice recognition capabilities. Companies are now saying they have paused the practice.
Fresh documentation has been obtained showing Helen Rosamond who was accused of defrauding the National Australia bank, allegedly asked for $2 million in fake orders to be processed and that she received a series of allegedly “secret commissions” in the shape of first-class trips overseas with spending money, $108,726 in house repairs and a boat.
A former National Australia Bank branch manager has pleaded guilty to fraud, after an investigation found he lied to earn commissions for introducing new customers through a business called “Suit Club”. The ASIC investigation found that 24 of the 101 loan applications contained false information, and that he was aware that the information was false.
A Disney whistleblower is accusing the company of overstating its revenue by billions – 20 August 2019
A former senior accountant (Sandra Kuba) at Disney has accused the entertainment giant of overstating its revenues by billions of dollars. She alleged Disney employees recorded non-existent sales from giveaways and artificially inflated revenue from gift cards and claimed the company’s revenue could have been overstated by as much as $US6 billion, or 20%, in 2009 alone.
ANZ and NAB are pushing back against regulatory proposals that would require them as credit licensees to collect and cross-check account and credit card statements, against statements of income, expenses and expenditure. They say there will be a raft of expensive IT headaches and cost implications if a manual approach is taken.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has stepped up the pace on the implementation of the recommendations from the Hayne banking royal commission after researchers revealed Australians had lost $201 billion to financial misconduct by the banks. The research from the University of Melbourne found 54 per cent of Australians had been slugged by fraud or misconduct by financial institutions over the past five years.
A BIPOLAR man accused of defrauding betting giants and a bank of $3 million has had his bail conditions varied, to undergo treatment in hospital. Yianakis faces 67 fraud-related charges, including dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, publishing false or misleading material to obtain an advantage, dealing with identity information to commit an indictable offence, knowingly deal with proceeds of crime and dishonestly obtaining property by deception.
From money-laundering to sanctions busting: the real value of cryptocurrency may soon be clear – 19 August 2019
Cryptocurrency threatens to erode the ability to trace and stop transactions linked to crime, terrorism, and corruption. A key feature is that cryptocurrency can often be traded with no centralised body tracking them, making them a viable conduit for money laundering, which is a cause for concern for regulators globally.
Researchers have expressed serious concerns about the state of forensic science in Australia and the reliability of materials presented as evidence in court. Forensic evidence being questioned includes firearms analysis, hair comparisons and some DNA samples presented in criminal cases.
The Indonesian anti-corruption agency has gone from strength to strength with over 1000 public officials being sentenced, since it began operations in 2004. Indonesia will surpass Australia on the corruption scale in the next 15 years as it cleanses itself. The Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi – the commission for the eradication of corruption, known as KPK – has survived, grown, and lifted the confidence of a country of over a quarterbillion people.