News and Analysis
The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator. Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.
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.
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.
14 stories this week:
The online scammer targeting you could be trapped in a South-East Asian fraud factory – 21 August 2022
All across South-East Asia, heavily guarded, online scam compounds have sprung up to house industrial-scale scam operations – and to trap people forced to work for them in terrifying conditions. People are forced to come in, they’re being trafficked in and are forced to meet targets.
Access to digital version of WA today required to read full article
‘Hostile’: Victoria Police crackdown on alleged financial fraud scheme – 21 August 2022
Police have arrested six people across Melbourne as part of a crackdown on an alleged nationwide financial fraud scheme, with links to gang members and their associates. They were involved with a number of large-scale deceptions against government agencies, where they provided false details in order to receive fraudulent payments.
ASX-listed company investigated by ASIC for greenwashing – 22 August 2022
The corporate watchdog is conducting at least two investigations into “greenwashing”, including a publicly listed company, as it warns businesses and fund managers to avoid overhyping their climate change credentials.
Ex-F1 boss Ecclestone in court for fraud – 22 August 2022
Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, has denied fraud over an alleged failure to declare 400 million pounds of overseas assets, to the British government.
Fertile grounds for fraud post COVID – 23 August 2022
Major economic disruption increases the need and opportunity for financial fraud. The article explains why people commit fraud and how certified fraud examiners detect fraudsters who “fudge the figures”.
‘Not my job to be a crypto cheerleader’: ASIC boss warns on risky, volatile cryptocurrency investments – 23 August 2022
One of the regulator’s key priorities was to warn consumers about the risks involved with the crypto investment space. The industry has been calling on the government to introduce legislation to reduce the risk for investors and turn crypto into an established, safer asset class. The former Liberal government developed draft reforms last year which regulators and Treasury are assessing and implementing.
Hackers reportedly deepfaked a Binance exec to carry out listing scams – 24 August 2022
Criminals impersonating executives with the help of technology has become common practice. Binance’s chief communications officer, Patrick Hillman says hackers used a deepfake of his image in Zoom calls to scam cryptocurrency executives. He claims the hackers successfully duped crypto project representatives into thinking he would help their tokens get listed on Binance’s exchange.
Queensland Star casino concerns referred to regulator that approved shareholder with alleged crime links – 24 August 2022
ABC Investigations revealed the business empire behind Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, a key backer of the multi-billion-dollar Queen’s Wharf casino, had criminal associations, including through recent business ties. The ABC’s report has been referred to the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.
Market regulator of Australia protects public from crypto damage – 24 August 2022
The financial regulator ASIC stated in its recently issued “Corporate Plan” that as “developing technology and products disrupt our financial ecosystem,” it will be focused on “digitally enabled misconducts” as part of its four-year strategic plan that extends to 2026. https://www.thecoinrepublic.com/2022/08/24/market-regulator-of-australia-protects-public-from-crypto-damage/
Fraudsters are getting smarter so get to know the red flags, says BDO – 24 August 2022
Fraud and cyber-attacks are on the rise and the red flags are getting harder to spot. The article describes what you can do to help keep yourself and your business safe and recommends organisations take a proactive approach to fraud and cyber risks.
Twitter whistleblower to testify about company’s ‘widespread security failures’ at Senate hearing – 25 August 2022
Twitter’s former security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, will testify at a Senate hearing about the company’s security practices. If Mr. Zatko’s allegations claims are accurate, they may show dangerous data privacy and security risks for Twitter users around the world.
ASIC statement on publication of FRAA report – 25 August 2022
The Financial Regulator Assessment Authority’s (FRAA) report has been released on the review of the Effectiveness and Capability of ASIC. It found that ASIC is effective and capable in the areas reviewed and made four recommendations around enhancing ASIC’s use of data and technology, strengthening its engagement with stakeholders, enhancing its ability to measure effectiveness and capability, and continuing to broaden its mix of skill sets.
Gold Coast couple lose deposit for family home in $39,000 email scam – 25 August 2022
Home buyers are a potentially lucrative target for sophisticated cybercriminals. A Gold coast couple have now potentially lost $39,000 due to transferring the money to a scammer instead of their real estate agent.
Sneaky scam robbing hundreds of millions from Aussies – 26 August 2022
Investment scams have cost Australians over $242 million dollars already this year – a massive rise on last year’s total of $177 million for the entire year. Only 13 per cent of Australians report their losses to Scamwatch so these figures could be much higher.
10 stories this week:
Phishing fraudsters used SIM box to fleece hundreds of victims, police allege – 11 August 2022
An alleged fraud syndicate operating out of homes in Sydney’s northern suburbs used a SIM box to send hundreds of thousands of automated text messages, containing links to fake banking and telecommunication websites, where victims were prompted to enter their details. Police have worked with CBA, NAB and Telstra to identify victims.
INTERPOL launches global awareness campaign to highlight the use of money mules; Executive Director warns moving money for someone else is ‘risky business’ – 11 August 2022
Interpol has launched a new awareness campaign that aims to urge individuals not to become money mules. The campaign reminds people that they are responsible for keeping their own bank accounts safe and that moving money on behalf of others could land them in trouble. It also covers how the industry works, the risks associated and how to avoid becoming a money mule.
Whistleblower protection overhaul needed in Queensland to prevent next Fitzgerald inquiry, experts say – 12 August 2022
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has agreed to the recommendations of three high-profile inquiries that have called for a review of whistleblower protections. But the premier is yet to provide any details about who will lead it and what, specifically, they will be tasked with examining. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/aug/12/whistleblower-protection-overhaul-needed-in-queensland-to-prevent-next-fitzgerald-inquiry-experts-say
Whistleblower lawsuit alleges financial misconduct and dubious expenditures inside Hillsong Church – 12 August 2022
Natalie Moses is suing Hillsong for contravening the Fair Work Act, claiming it breached its own whistleblower policy, by preventing her from raising serious complaints about the church’s financial operations.
New legislation targeting the use of cryptocurrency and digital assets in organised crime introduced in Parliament – 12 August 2022
The Major Crime and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (Bill) was introduced in the lower house of the Victorian Parliament earlier this month. Some of these reforms are specifically targeted towards the gathering of evidence relating to, and seizure of, digital assets, such as cryptocurrency, used in the commission of offences. The Bill will amend and insert new provisions into the Confiscation Act 1997 (Vic) (Confiscation Act) to strengthen police powers.
SDA seeks $250m compensation from McDonald’s operators who allegedly denied paid breaks to Australian worker – 12 August 2022
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) is seeking compensation on behalf of more than 250,000 current and former McDonald’s workers across Australia. McDonald’s workers have alleged that they were denied 10-minute breaks that they were entitled to.
NDIS taskforce to hunt down organised crime groups ‘robbing’ billions from disability clients – 15 August 2022
A police taskforce to hunt down organised crime groups exploiting the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be established by the government in coming weeks. NDIS anti-fraud teams have recovered a small portion of the alleged billions that have been defrauded from the scheme, charging 18 people since 2020 with a total of about $14 million in alleged fraud.
Drivers warned about toll road text scam as Aussies lose record amount – 17 August 2022
An SMS phishing scam targeting drivers who have toll accounts, has lead to a Gold Coast woman being scammed out of $4,000.
Melbourne mum scammed out of $200,000 after $210 deposit appeared on bank account – 17 August 2022
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), more than $2 billion was robbed from people last year through scams. This mum had a curious deposit in her account and after receiving a phone call and returning the money, large deposits were withdrawn from her account.
Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg pleads guilty to tax evasion – 19 August 2022
Donald Trump’s long time lieutenant has pleaded guilty to tax evasion but due to a deal with prosecutors, he is unlikely to serve more than 100 days in prison. He pleaded guilty to 15 counts, including tax fraud and larceny.
9 stories this week:
Missing Persons Week prompts calls for information on human remains found in South Australia – 4 August 2022
Police have renewed calls for public assistance during National Missing Persons Week, as there are 147 missing persons in South Australia. Detectives say Forensic technology is more advanced than ever.
Syndicate dismantled following investigation into identity theft and bank fraud – 5 August 2022
Financial Crimes Squad detectives have charged four people and dismantled a criminal syndicate, allegedly involved in multiple identity and banking frauds totalling more than $1 million. Police will allege in court the syndicate created a number of shell companies to assist with obtaining cheque books, EFTPOS terminals, and the creation of banking profiles which were then used to procure fraudulent funds.
Prosecutors seek suppression orders in case against tax office whistleblower Richard Boyle – 5 August 2022
Boyle is attempting to use Australia’s whistleblower protections to shield himself from prosecution. The case, being heard in the South Australian district court, is the first major test of the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PID Act). It will be crucial in assessing the strength and practical effectiveness of the nation’s whistleblower protections, which the new attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, is contemplating reforming.
NSW casinos to face AUD$100M fines for misconduct under new reforms – 5 August 2022
Australian Casinos in New South Wales could face fines of up to AUD$100M for misconduct under new reforms announced this week. The NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) announced it will have powers to fine operators up to AUD$100M and hold individual board members and execs accountable for “serious wrongdoing.”
UK Plans To Use Smartwatches & Facial Recognition To Surveil Convicted Migrants – 6 August 2022
Migrants convicted of a crime in the U.K. may soon have to submit five daily facial recognition scans, via a smartwatch as part of sweeping new surveillance practices under consideration by the country’s Home Office and Ministry of Justice. Privacy advocates say the always-on surveillance wearable is cruel, unnecessary, and based on technology plagued by inaccuracy and bias.
Are Australians sleep-walking their way into mass surveillance? – 8 August 2022
Australia is failing to take our digital privacy seriously, warns former human rights commissioner Ed Santow. We don’t get a lot of choice about consenting to digital companies’ privacy policies and how they collect our information, so we actually need to read terms and conditions before agreeing.
Investors advised to watch for scams – 9 August 2022
ACCC Deputy chair has stated ‘that financial losses to imposter bond investment scams has nearly tripled in the first half of this year, with more than $20 million lost by consumers to the sophisticated scams’. These scams impersonate real financial companies or banks and claim to offer Government/Treasury bonds or fixed term deposit.
Telco Circles.Life Fined $200,000 For Fraud Rule Breach – 9 August 2022
Circles.Life, a Singapore-based telco, is facing a fine of $200,000 for breaching fraud regulations. The budget telco that makes use of the Optus network, was called out by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), who found that the company failed to conduct proper identity checks. This in turn, resulted in 42 consumers falling victim to fraud with compromised emails and bank accounts.
Pubs are buying facial recognition technology to track and record you – 10 August 2022
The Australasian Gaming Expo in Sydney this week had exhibitions from multiple companies selling facial recognition technology. They can identify patrons, track their movements and even record their emotions. The Australian Human Rights Commission called for a moratorium on facial recognition technology in “high-risk” decision-making until it was further regulated. Former commissioner and now UTS Professor Edward Santow is part of a group drafting model regulation that is set to be released later this year.
12 stories this week:
With fake photographs of fully-furnished homes, scammers target renters who are desperate to secure housing – 30 July 2022
There has been an increase in real estate scams reported to the ACCC. One family relocating to Adelaide recently lost $3,200 to a scam. The advertised, ‘fully furnished home’ was actually a building site.
Murrumbidgee Mill project caught up in fraud case involving former company directors – 31 July 2022
BCEG International (Australia) Pty Ltd, a company linked to Wagga’s multimillion-dollar Murrumbidgee Mill development, has sued its former directors over the fraudulent transfer of cash to a personal project via false invoices and sham sub-contracts.
Australian police charge man with developing spyware used by more than 14,500 people – 1 August 2022
An Australian man, faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly creating and distributing spyware, that became the subject of a global law enforcement operation. He is accused of creating the Imminent Monitor remote access Trojan (RAT), which was sold to more than 14,500 individuals across 128 countries.
‘I’m a 29-year-old private investigator. Here’s what my life looks like – 1 August 2022
Sydney private investigator Amy Elliott reveal why some Aussies disappear without a trace:
This article is about Amy Elliot, a NSW Private investigator who provides some great examples of the trials and tribulations and the benefits of being a female PI.
Second article outlines why people disappear and how to find them.
Victoria Police given power to seize cryptocurrency wallets under new organised crime laws – 2 August 2022
New laws are being introduced into parliament under the Major Crime and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. They changes are designed to give police greater ability to investigate organised crime, seize proceeds of crime and disrupt organised crime on the black market.
Corporations’ use of facial recognition technology paused after CHOICE investigation – 2 August 2022
An investigation by consumer advocacy group ‘Choice’, found that Kmart and Bunnings were using FRT (Facial Recognition Technology) to ostensibly protect customers and staff while reducing theft in select stores. Choice also found that the chain, The Good Guys uses technology that stores the unique biometric information of its customers. All three giants are now pausing FRT use until the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) provides guidance.
‘Sophisticated’ money launderer granted bail after police seize more than $10 million in goods – 2 August 2022
Australia’s Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) has confiscated more than AUD$10M in assets as part of a major international money laundering probe across the ACT. Officers seized more than eight properties, four high-end vehicles, luxury goods, cash and crypto as part of the raid. A 35-year-old man has been charged.
SEC Says 11 People Fooled Users Out of $AU425 Million in Crypto Pyramid Scheme – 2 August 2022
The Securities and Exchange commission has alleged that 11 people that had helped found and operate the company Forsage were actually operating a crypto pyramid or ponzi scheme, raking in over $AU426 million from worldwide investors. The SEC said the promoters were engaged in the unregistered offer and sale of securities in Forsage and and are now facing civil penalties.
The alleged fraud in Alzheimer’s research and what it means for patients – 2 August 2022
There have been recent allegations that research underpinning widely held understandings of what causes Alzheimer’s may be fraudulent. A potential fabrication of research images and the allegations, now question whether the governing bodies of research and drug approvals are truly effective.
Aussies have been scammed out of more than $20 million in fake bond investment schemes this year – 3 August 2022
The number of Australians scammed by fake bond investment schemes almost tripled in the first half of this year, with losses topping $20 million. The “alarming” spike comes amid rising interest rates, as consumers considering investing in bonds are exposed to the sophisticated frauds.
Four men charged in relation to roofing scam which collected more than $640,000 from Melbourne residents – 3 August 2022
Victoria Police have arrested and charged four people, who are accused of posing as workers from a legitimate roofing company and then collecting more than $640,000, after telling home owners their roofs needed urgent repairs.
Fraudster lands in jail after stealing identity to escape South Australian authorities – 5 August 2022
Travis Whyte stole the identity of a man in South Australia and $25,000 that belonged to him. He was attempting to escape authorities and flee to the Northern Territory. He pleaded guilty to eight offences, including five charges of obtaining benefit by deception.
13 stories this week:
Australian regulators team up to combat digital assets scam sites – 25 July 2022
Two Australian market regulators-the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)-have partnered to combat digital assets scams. They have jointly deployed countermeasures services which automatically take down websites hosting phishing and other scams on a trial basis.
Artificial intelligence can monitor workplaces for safety breaches. Experts say privacy laws are laggin – 25 July 2022
The emergence of artificial intelligence that uses cameras to check for health and safety breaches in the workplace, has raised concerns about a creeping culture of workplace surveillance. Experts say Australian law is not up-to-date, to sufficiently regulate the rising use of AI in the workplace
Bond scammers impersonate Barrenjoey to lure investors – 25 July 2022
Investment bank Barrenjoey, is the latest big name financial institution, to find its brand is being used by imposters posing as representatives of real firms to scam victims seeking high-yield investments.
Access to digital version of AFR required to read article
Australian Corporate Conduct Regulator Releases Guidance On Greenwashing Risks – 25 July 2022
ASIC has released guidance to superannuation and managed funds as to how to avoid the risk of greenwashing when promoting sustainability-related products. e.g., funds and other financial products where investments are made based on environmental or social criteria, amongst other factors.
Urgent warning on supermarket scam spreading on social medi – 26 July 2022
Job seekers around Australia, are being urged to be wary of a new supermarket scam. Letters, which promise applicants a range of ALDI positions and salaries, appear to contain an official ALDI Australia letterhead and watermark and contain instructions which the applicant must follow as part of the recruitment process, which are suspected to enable fraudsters to gain money and or personal details from their victims.
Bunnings, Kmart stop using facial recognition – 26 July 2022
Australia’s creeping surveillance state: Big Brother is on the march
Kmart and Bunnings have temporarily halted their use of facial recognition in stores pending an investigation from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). Public backlash is said to “send a clear message to all retailers” that Australians don’t want invasive surveillance technology, as part of their shopping experience.
Former Darwin resident who defrauded former employers of nearly $90,000 sentenced to two years in prison – 26 July 2022
Kristy Gall, a Darwin resident has been sentenced to two years in prison after defrauding her former employers, Jakes Steel and Welding, for nearly $90,000 over a four-year period. She made 201 unauthorised transactions using a company credit card and paid herself recreational leave she wasn’t entitled to.
End prosecution of ATO whistleblower, Dreyfus urged – 26 July 2022
Legal groups and former senator Rex Patrick have renewed calls for Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to stop the prosecution of Tax Office whistleblower Richard Boyle. Mr Boyle, spoke publicly in 2018 about aggressive practices by the ATO, including hardline use of so-called garnishee notices, used to claw back tax debts from individuals and business.
Access to digital version of AFR required to read article
Buy Now Pay Later: Risks And Fraud Prevention – 26 July 2022
The buy now, pay later method (BNPL) has started to gain popularity in recent years so fraudsters and cybercriminals have found a way to exploit it for their own gain. Article details the most common types of BNPL fraud and how to prevent it.
Former Melbourne High School business manager pleads guilty to stealing more than $350,000 – 27 July 2022
A 65 year old woman will plead guilty to stealing more than $350,000 from one of Melbourne’s most prestigious schools. She is facing 17 charges dating back to 2012 for modifying invoices.
Australians lose $300 million to scams in first half of 2022 – 27 July 2022
Australians have lost $295 million to scams in the first half of 2022, according to newly released data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch. Investment scams were the most financially damaging during the first half of 2022, causing more than $219 million in losses compared to $177 million lost throughout the entirety of 2021. This was followed by dating and romance scams which have cost Australians $16 million in the first half of 2022
Married Hawaii couple charged with conspiring against US government after allegedly using names of dead children as fake identities – 28 July 2022
A married couple who allegedly lived for decades using the names of two dead children have been charged with identity theft and conspiring against the government. The pair have both been charged with conspiracy to commit an offence against the US, false statement in passport application and aggravated identity theft.
The real reason behind hundreds of customers queueing outside a Bank of China in Sydney’s CBD as five institutions have their entire fortunes FROZEN amid fraud allegations – 28 July 2022
Dozens of people have flocked to the Bank of China in Sydney after the Communist government froze transactions at five banks over illegal practices. Chinese authorities confirmed Henan New Fortune, had illegally manipulated its banks into holding its customer’s money in an attempt to defraud investors. A three-month investigation uncovered the abuse, with the Chinese government promising to pay back their money.
12 stories this week:
Five face possible tax fraud charges and 40,000 under investigation – 14 July 2022
The Australian Taxation Office has executed more raids this week as part of a “zero tolerance” crackdown on GST tax fraud. Five suspected Sydney fraudsters could now face charges, and another 40,000 individuals are under investigation, suspected of inventing fake businesses to claim false refunds.
Crime commission says NSW poker machine laws may increase money laundering risks – 14 July 2022
A proposal from the NSW Crime Commission has indicated that some of the state’s gambling laws have increased the risk of money laundering through poker machines, as well as lowering club credit limits “significantly.”
Preventing Financial Fraud in Accounts Payable – 15 July 2022
Cybercriminals have realised humans are the weakest link in security and are using social engineering techniques, to trick accounts payable teams into assisting in fraud, without even knowing it. An excellent article providing links to Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Centre’s guide and tips and processes that companies should implement in their Accounts Payable department.
Private drone use needs federal safety, privacy laws – 15 July 2022
Private drone use is not covered by specific regulations and there is no consistency in laws across states. Use of drones are open to privacy issues, nuisance claims, and surveillance and stalking. Article says Legal framework should include third party liability, owner registration & mandatory flight log.
Australia a honeypot for Indian student visa fraudsters – 18 July 2022
After the government removed limitations on students’ work hours in any industry early in 2022 to help businesses crippled by skills, there was an increase in visa fraud and falling education standards.
COVID-19 lockdowns see rise in bank and credit-card fraud as more people work and shop from home – 18 July 2022
Australian Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh, says card fraud remains a serious problem in Australia. Almost 7 per cent of the adult population or 1.4 million Australians experienced card fraud in 2020-21. Fraud on bank and credit-card transactions also rose 9.2pc to $490 million over the 2020-21 financial year.
Former investment scheme operator faces 50 fraud charges – 20 July 2022
Perth businessman Chris Marco, has been criminally charged after being accused by the corporate regulator, of a large-scale fraud that led to investors losing millions, in an unlicensed managed investor scheme.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews apologises after IBAC investigation finds ‘extensive misconduct’ by Labor MPs – 20 July 2022
Operation Watts was a joint probe between the Victorian Ombudsman and the state’s anti-corruption watchdog. The investigation was prompted by 2020 reports detailing allegations of branch stacking – a process used to recruit party members by paying for their membership. The report has 21 recommendations to address ongoing corruption risks.
Regulator’s three-pronged plan for tackling national scam threat – 20 July 2022
ACCC boss Gina Cass-Gottlieb has outlined her favoured approach for reducing the cost that scammers put upon Australians, with a focus on better collaboration between government, consumer groups and the private sector. She also believes the true figure for scam losses incurred in 2021 was $2 billion.
The growing WhatsApp scam that has cost Aussies $2.3m in 2022 – 21 July 2022
Mother loses $4,500 in a sophisticated text message scam from someone pretending to be her daughter: ‘Everyone’s just got to be so careful’
What do TikTok, Bunnings, eBay and Netflix have in common? They’re all hyper-collectors using mass surveillance – 21 July 2022
An electronic scan of your face is taken and stored by many Australian retail chains. This new phenomenon – “hyper-collection” – represents a growing trend by large companies to collect, sort, analyse and use more information than they need, usually in covert or passive ways. In many cases, hyper-collection is not supported by a truly legitimate commercial or legal purpose. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-21/faceprint-mass-surveillance-data-collection-privacy/101254838
Mustang in bank’s sights as Tesoriero’s gift to girlfriend queried – 21 July 2022
Westpac’s lawyers have been reviewing assets and income disclosed by business partners of Bill Papas, who allegedly orchestrated the $500 million fraud. The disclosures of Vincenzo “Vince” Tesoriero, who the bank alleges was in on the scheme or ought to have known about the $500 million fraud, have become increasingly important. https://www.watoday.com.au/national/mustang-in-bank-s-sights-as-tesoriero-s-gift-to-girlfriend-queried-20220720-p5b38i.html
Access to WA/SMH today required to read article.
13 stories this week:
An elaborate LinkedIn scam led to one of the largest heists in crypto history – 8 July 2022
An elaborate LinkedIn scam was the source of one of the world’s largest crypto heists. An employee at Sky Mavis, the developer of the Axie Infinity Game was approached via LinkedIn with a fake job offer. The scammers then abused the trust they had developed to infect the individual’s device with malware. The hack saw 173,600 ether and 25.5 million USD Coin stolen, totalling $625 million in value.
Police charge man after more than $170,000 stolen during BEC scam – 8 July 2022
Detectives have charged a man over his alleged involvement in a business email compromise scam, against a Sydney telecommunications business. The business deposited $177,000 into a fraudulent account upon receiving an altered invoice for payment.
Five big trends in how Australians are getting scammed – 8 July 2022
According to the ACCC, Australians lost an estimated $2 billion to fraudsters, more than double that of 2022. Top of the list are investment scams, dating and romance scams, false billing, remote access scams and threats or blackmail. Article details the five scam types that have grown most in value from 2020.
Crypto could lead to royal commission within a decade: McGrathNicol – 11 July 2022
A lack of regulation around the spruiking of cryptocurrency assets and services is leaving consumers at risk of poor advice and fraud, with the avenues of recourse unclear, restructuring and advisory firm McGrathNicol warns.
Access to Digital version of AFR required to read article
South Australian man pleads guilty to falsifying payslips to help Vietnamese migrants secure home loans – 11 July 2022
Lam Duc Vu, who was a Justice of the Peace, provided false payslips to banks, in a bid to help Vietnamese migrants buy properties, that they otherwise could not have secured. He pleaded guilty to at least 10 counts of dishonest dealings with documents between 2016 and 2017.
Kristi Anne Barden, 46, sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to one theft charge and 47 fraud charges – 11 July 2022
A mother-of-two was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing more than $178,000 from her bosses. Perth’s Kristi Anne Barden billed her employer – an environmental advisory group called Strategen – for luxury vacations and a rental car, and kept a company laptop even after she was laid off.
Indian police bust fake cricket league streamed for Russian punters – 12 July 2022
Police in India have shut down an elaborate hoax cricket league that saw labourers masquerading as professional cricket players, allegedly to dupe gamblers in Russia. The organisers broadcasted at least five matches on YouTube, before the police intervened. Gamblers bet almost $6,000 on the results and four people have been arrested in relation to the fake match.
ACCC calls for banks to name check transfers to cut fraud – 12 July 2022
Banks are being pressured to ensure money transferred online, arrives in the correct account, by confirming the name of the intended recipient. A move the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says will reduce the $420 million worth of frauds that occur each year.
Access to digital version of AFR required to read article
‘Whack-a-mole’: Scam text crackdown to force telcos into action – 12 July 2022
Australians frustrated with scam text messages will be protected under new rules that force Telcos to track and block fraud, but experts warn the efforts won’t stop worsening financial crime.
Chinese bank scam victims to be repaid after protests turn violent – 12 July 2022
Approx. 10 million people are calling on the authorities to return tens of billions of yuan of deposits in a suspected financial scam. It has prompted the banking watchdog to speed up drafting a plan to resolve risks even as a police investigation is still ongoing.
Kmart, Bunnings investigated for facial recognition us – 13 July 2022
Kmart and Bunnings will be called before the Information Commissioner, to explain exactly how their use of facial recognition to monitor customers in their stores, is in line with Australian privacy laws, following last month’s revelations that retailers had quietly begun using the controversial surveillance technology.
Josh’s tax file number was stolen. Now his personal data is at risk – and his money – 14 July 2022
An ABC Radio presenter in Brisbane, was shocked when his accountant informed him his TFN had been blocked by the ATO because it had been “compromised”, and he could not file his tax return. A stolen TFN could mean that refunds and documents could be obtained without your knowledge or permission. A good reminder to check your MyGov and superannuation accounts.
ASIC investigation uncovers ‘concerning consumer losses from trading in CFDs’ – 14 July 2022
Following an ASIC investigation, Sirius Financial was found engaging an offshore call centre, to source clients to trade in high-risk contracts-for-difference (CFDs) and margin foreign exchange contracts products. It was found that the call centre representatives used “pressure selling tactics” and provided clients with personal advice without the licence to do so.
9 stories this week:
New ID check anti-scam rules apply from today – 30 June 2022
New rules to protect consumers from scams that target customer interactions with telcos came into force on 30 June 2022. The rules introduced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are designed to prevent unauthorised access by scammers to people’s telco services and personal information.
Woman loses $35k to scammer using Westpac’s phone number – 1 July 2022
Article explains how Jess Ridley was scammed by a third-party imitating Westpac telephone numbers. The TV presenter was conned out of $35,000. According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, call line identification over-stamping, where the person calling you displays a different number from the one they are calling from, is legal unless it is being done for unlawful or malicious purposes. This is called caller ID spoofing.
CBA wants cross-industry code to reduce scam risk – 4 July 2022
CBA wants a new scam code being developed by Treasury to include banks, digital platforms, telcos, crypto exchanges and other payments providers to make sure the costs of growing levels of fraud are shared equitably. The bank has also introduced stricter transaction authentication processes in its banking app.
Digital access to AFR required to read this article
Scammers stole over $2 billion from Australians last year – more than double 2020’s total: ACCC – 4 July 2022
Australians lost more than $2 billion to scammers in 2021, the ACCC estimates. This is more than double the amount lost the previous year. The increase was driven by a rise in crypto investment scams and pyramid schemes.
‘Placate her anger’: investigation dismisses allegations of domestic violence against Queensland police officer – 5 July 2022
A Queensland police whistleblower said the police chose not to pursue credible domestic violence allegations against a serving officer, after dismissing his wife as having “mental health issues” and needing to be “calmed down”. The whistleblower, a former senior sergeant, has made an unpublished submission to a Queensland inquiry into police culture and the handling of domestic violence cases.
Prosecution of whistleblower lawyer Bernard Collaery dropped after decision by attorney general – 7 July 2022
The Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, has dropped the prosecution against Witness K’s lawyer, Bernard Collaery, for allegedly revealing spying on Timor-Leste. Collaery was charged with unlawfully disclosing information about an Australian Secret Intelligence Service mission to bug the government offices of Timor-Leste.
Canberra men found guilty of conspiring to manipulate recruitment processes for IT staff in the Department of Finance – 7 July 2022
Abdul ‘Alex’ El-Debel and Raminder Kahlon who were accused of conspiring to manipulate the recruitment processes for IT staff in the federal Department of Finance have now been found guilty by a jury in the ACT Supreme Court.
Early detection crucial in stopping BEC scams – 7 July 2022
Research by Cofense Intelligence has revealed that Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams attempt to establish trust with targeted employees over multiple emails. Great article that describes key signs on how to spot fraudulent emails.
Former Theranos president Sunny Balwani found guilty of fraud, conspiracy – 8 July 2022
A US jury has convicted former Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of defrauding investors and patients about the blood testing startup that was once valued at $9 billion. Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos were accused of lying to investors about their machines’ ability to run a broad range of tests from a few drops of blood.
9 stories this week:
Cabinet backs new money laundering laws to target organised crime – 23 June 2022
The NSW government will introduce laws to confiscate unexplained wealth from criminal gangs and ban the use of encrypted devices as part of long-waited reforms to combat money laundering and organised crime. The new measures are designed to cripple the finances of crime networks, stopping criminals from profiting from their actions and incapacitating them financially.
Access to digital version of SMH required to read article
Man sentenced in Batemans Bay court for dealing with proceeds of online puppy scam – 27 June 2022
Steven Rootsey, from NSW has been fined $6,000 and sentenced to a two-year community corrections order for dealing with nearly $50,000 in swindled funds related to an online puppy scam. He was asked to convert money to cryptocurrency by an unknown person via Snapchat and was promised 10 per cent of the funds in return.
Queensland IT guru found guilty of $73,000 insurance fraud – 28 June 2022
Anthony Onyeka Okeke tricked Allianz Insurance and QBE Insurance into paying insurance claims, for four vehicles after he staged or fabricated a series of crashes. He was found guilty of defrauding insurance companies of more than $40,000 and trying to dishonestly get more than $30,000.
Government hunts down fake businesses with intensified fraud crackdown – 28 June 2022
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) executed raids across the country to crack down on individuals suspected of defrauding by inventing fake businesses and ABNs to claim false refunds.
Zhenya Tsvetnenko handed eight-year jail term in US for multi-million-dollar text message scam – 29 June 2022
Perth man Zhenya Tsvetnenko has been sentenced to eight years in a federal US prison, for his role in a multi-million-dollar text messaging scam. Tsvetnenko and his co-conspirators defrauded hundreds of thousands of mobile telephone consumers in the United States by placing unauthorised charges on their mobile phone bills. The practice – known as “auto-subscribing”.
‘Cryptoqueen’ accused of $US4 billion OneCoin fraud added to FBI’s most-wanted list – 1 July 2022
Ruja Ignatova is the 11th woman in history to be added to the FBI ten most wanted fugitive list. Dr Ignatova launched OneCoin in 2014 with Sebastian Greenwood, who is currently in prison awaiting trial. The catch with OneCon was that there was no blockchain, a piece of information which keeps a record of transactions made by cryptocurrencies. This meant the coin had no value.
Adelaide’s SkyCity casino faces independent review as casino industry probe widens – 1 July 2022
South Australian authorities have launched an independent review of Adelaide’s SkyCity casino, in light of similar inquiries into casinos interstate. AUSTRAC’s has had concerns with ”ongoing customer due diligence” and adopting, maintaining, and complying with an anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing program.
Australia to review carbon offsets following ‘fraud’ allegations – 1 July 2022
Australia’s new Labor government has appointed a top scientist to lead a six-month review of the country’s carbon credits, following allegations of fraud e.g projects earning credits for growing trees that were already in place and getting credits for growing forests on land that cannot sustain forests.
Jail a possibility for Guy Sebastian’s former manager, as singer says guilty verdict is ‘a lot to absorb’ – 1 July 2022
Guy Sebastian’s former manager Titus Day has avoided jail, for now, as he awaits to be sentenced for embezzling more than $600,000 from the singer. The 49-year-old will be sentenced on September 16.
10 stories this week:
Corporate adviser Anthony Torre charged with ripping almost $2 million from client – 17 June 2022
Mr Anthony Paul Torre appeared at the Perth Magistrates Court charged with eight counts of fraud and five counts of stealing pursuant to sections 409 and 378 of the Criminal Code (WA). It is alleged that Mr Torre stole, or with intent to defraud obtained, approximately $1.882 million from his clients and used the funds from his clients’ accounts for his own benefit.
Tax office and federal police conduct raids over billion-dollar tax scam spread on TikTok and Facebook – 17 June 2022
Tax officers and federal police have raided a dozen locations across Australia in the past three days, as part of an investigation into a billion-dollar tax scam that has gone viral on social media. The number of people involved now is about 70,000, with the ATO investigating $850m in payments to 40,000 people.
Transport company fined $89,000 for breaching fatigue management laws – 17 June 2022
JSS Logistics Pty Ltd, a transport service company has been fined a total of $89,000 after being convicted on 24 charges under the State’s workplace fatigue management laws. The audit found the company’s drivers did not have the rest breaks and non-work time required by the regulations, and that the required records were not kept to the standard required by law.
One word saves Perth man’s $6m fortune from being stolen by hackers – 17 June 2022
Business email compromises, have “exploded” over the last two years against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. A Perth businessman nearly lost $6 million to hackers but one misspelt word saved his fortune from falling into the wrong hands and disappearing forever.
Corporate culture, not ‘bad apples’ to blame at Star, inquiry told – 17 June 2022
An inquiry into the ability of the Star Sydney to hold a casino licence, has revealed that it has failed to realise the effect of its terrible corporate culture. The NSW gaming regulator is hearing submissions from lawyers on behalf of witnesses at the long-running inquiry, which has probed allegations of money laundering, organised crime, fraud and foreign interference at Star and its Sydney venue.
Access to digital version of SMH required to read article
Aussies have lost over $205 million to investment scams, says ACCC – 17 June 2022
The ACC says that since the start of the year, Australians have lost over $205 million to investment scams. That’s a 116% increase on the same period last year. In 2021, Australians lost over $320 million in scams in total, with the majority of the monetary loss coming from investment scams-about $177 million-and dating scams-about $56 million. Article also lists how to spot a scam.
50 businesses under investigation by FWO – 22 June 2022
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker has announced the regulator’s strategic priorities for the year ahead, include investigating large corporate underpayments. Currently 50 large corporates have self-reported non-compliance and since mid-2021, they have commenced court actions against Woolworths Group, Commonwealth Bank and Coles. http://www.ragtrader.com.au/news/50-businesses-under-investigation-by-fwo
Paul Whyte corruption hearing told he started charging for fake services two days after being hired – 22 June 2022
Paul Ronald Whyte, a senior public servant who perpetrated one of the biggest rorts of taxpayer funds in recent Australian history, invoiced a company for work never provided on his corporate credit card. The commission is examining how a person in such a senior position as Whyte, was able to systematically defraud the state to such an extent and whether the governance of the department had contributed to or enabled it.
NT ICAC failed to offer procedural fairness to Darwin Turf Club board member in investigation into $12 million grandstand grant, court finds – 23 June 2022
The Northern Territory’s anti-corruption watchdog failed to offer procedural fairness to board member Damien Moriarty, before making findings of improper conduct in a major corruption investigation. Findings were over the handling of a $12 million government grant for the new facility at Darwin’s Fannie Bay racecourse.
Mining companies accused of corporate failure in shocking WA FIFO sexual harassment report – 23 June 2022
A West Australian parliamentary committee has urged the state’s resources sector to consider a register for perpetrators of serious sexual harassment on fly-in, fly-out sites similar to a working with children check. It was one of 24 recommendations made by the parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the mining industry, triggered after a spate of alleged sexual assaults on WA FIFO workers.
Access to digital version of SMH required to read article
13 stories this week:
Religious fraudster jailed for stealing $2.7m from worshipper and gambling it away at casin – 10 June 2022
Munir Muzafar Fakhrud Hassanali who defrauded a fellow member of a Perth religious community out of $2.7 million and gambled most of it away, has been sentenced to six years and nine months jail. He was found guilty of 82 fraud offences committed between June 2017 and November 2019.
Western Sydney man and woman charged over covid-19 payment fraud – 10 June 2022
Two Malaysian nationals have been charged over their alleged roles in a syndicate suspected of fraudulently claiming more than $440,000 in COVID-19 Disaster Payments. Police allege customers who had employed the online service, had provided identity documents to the ‘agents’ and some reportedly paid up to $1000 for the agents to facilitate their claims.
Prosecuting UK Corporate Fraud May Be About to Get Much Easier – 10 June 2022
New Long-awaited UK law reforms include an option, that would make it a criminal offence, for a company to fail to prevent a fraud, according to a series of proposals by the Law Commission. The laws would help boost conviction rates, by allowing authorities to target companies, that failed to put measures in place to prevent their own staff committing fraud.
Isolation. Strip-searches. Rape: Inside a Tasmanian youth detention centre – 10 June 2022
In October 2019, Alysha was hired to introduce better care to the Ashley Youth Detention Centre in Tasmania. She revealed her belief that sexual and other abuse of vulnerable children and teen detainees was systemically covered up or mishandled. Eventually, she raised her concerns with two Tasmanian premiers, as well as a commission of inquiry. To date, 32 Tasmanian public servants have been stood down pending the commission’s findings. The Ashley Youth Detention Centre is set to close in three years’ time.
Man’s $651k horror after Googling partner’s name – 11 June 2022
Luke Allen has accused his former partner of stealing his identity and racking up thousands of dollars in debt in his name. He believes credit cards and loans were taken out in his name, totalling $651,060, which Allen claims to have had no knowledge of. In a statement, Victoria Police said detectives had received a report of fraud, alleged to have been committed over a four-year period.
Queensland launches inquiry into Star’s suitability to hold a casino licence – 14 June 2022
The Queensland government will launch an inquiry into Star Entertainment’s suitability to hold a casino licence, after a NSW inquiry heard allegations that Star had potentially acted criminally. Star has also been called to give evidence at an inquiry into proposed gambling and money laundering laws in Queensland.
Melbourne company convicted after ABF investigation into illegal workers – 14 June 2022
A Melbourne company (M & G Vizzari Pty Ltd) who operates farms, has been convicted and fined following an Australian Border Force (ABF) investigation into community allegations of the use of illegal workers.
ASIC escalates investigation into Sweetman Renewables – 14 June 2022
ASIC has escalated the Nature Conservation Council’s complaint about possibly misleading and deceptive conduct by Cessnock-based energy start-up Sweetman Renewables, to a full-blown inquiry. There seemed to be numerous media articles that stated Sweetman has signed a contract with a Japanese company to supply woodchips but in fact this was not the case.
Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys under investigation over use of facial recognition cameras – 15 June 2022
Consumer group CHOICE is looking into the retail giants’ use of the controversial technology, which is used on customers as they enter stores. CHOICE said some survey respondents described the technology as “creepy and invasive” and “unnecessary and dangerous”.
Creating A Federal Anti-Corruption Commission: What Does It Mean For Australian Business? – 15 June 2022
One of Labor’s election policies is to introduce a National Anti-Corruption Commission. During the election campaign, Labor promised that any Commission created would be “real”, and a “powerful, transparent and independent” Commission. Article discusses the implications for business and corporate Australia.
Israeli court finds Gaza aid worker guilty of financing terrorism – 16 June 2022
Mohammad El Halabi, the former head of the US-based charity World Vision’s Gaza office, was arrested in 2016 after being accused by Israel’s Shin Bet security service of transferring tens of millions of dollars to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group in control inside the Gaza Strip. He has been held in pre-trial detention since. He has now been convicted after a six-year-long case and will be sentenced.
Peter Foster faces court on the Gold Coast, slams fraud-related charges as ‘bogus’ – 17 June 2022
Peter Foster has faced Southport Magistrates Court over fraud-related charges. He is accused of defrauding a Hong Kong pilot of Bitcoin, valued at about $2 million, in 2019 and 2020.
Guy Sebastian had ‘barrow to push’ against former manager accused of embezzling $800,000, court told – 17 June 2022
Mr Day, Guy Sebastians former manager has pleaded not guilty in the NSW District Court to 50 charges over the alleged embezzlement of nearly $900,000 from Sebastian, who he managed for a decade. These were for royalties and performance feels. The Judge directed jurors to find Mr Day not guilty of three embezzlement counts, however, 47 remained.
11 stories this week:
How Telstra gave my details to crypto scammers – 3 June 2022
Illegal access to a Telstra account enabled scammers to have access to a victims emails and therefore all sorts of personal banking information. They were able to .get banking and credit card details, and looked for opportunities to defraud this victim’s family, friends and colleagues. A good article showing how to spot a telco scam.
AI facial recognition, the new detention – 6 June 2022
Hear Professor Toby Walsh, Professor of artificial intelligence, UNSW School of Computer Science & Engineering discuss the use of Face recognition apps and the safeguards to protect our digital privacy and freedoms in Australia.
Flood recovery grant fraud battle slows cash flow for those who desperately need it – 6 June 2022
Businesses and residents in northern New South Wales say their details have been used for fraudulent grant applications. When Andrea Bonotto’s applied for the second part of an approved small business recovery grant, he was told someone else had already claimed it. 2,705 flood recovery applications worth a combined total of nearly $30 million are under review for possible fraud.
Aussies Scammed Over $200M So Far This Year – 6 June 2022
Between January 1 and May 1, Australians lost over $205 million to scams, a 166 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, according to new data from Scamwatch. Dodgy investment scams make up $158 million of the $205 million, and jumping by 314 per cent year-on-year. Of these, $113 million are crypto investments.
Why are so many big tech whistleblowers women? Here is what the research shows – 6 June 2022
A computer scientist and a sociologist, explore the nature of big tech whistleblowing, the influence of gender, and the implications for technology’s role in society. The intriguing results are detailed in this article.
Former policeman who beefed up resume with ‘inexplicable’ lies avoids jail – 8 June 2022
Peter Ravenscroft , a former detective has managed to avoid jail despite lying on his resume to con Frankston local council into paying him $456,038 over 2 years and then tricking Victoria’s public watchdog into giving him a job paying $196,857.
Guilty plea to market manipulation following ASIC investigation into online ‘pump and dump’ posts – 8 June 2022
Using social media to coordinate ‘pump and dump’ activity in listed stocks is an offence under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Article explains, how ASIC continues to take action against this form of ‘market manipulation’.
Albanese government promises national corruption watchdog will have power to investigate pork-barrelling – 8 June 2022
Mark Dreyfus has confirmed Labor’s national integrity commission will have the power to investigate pork-barrelling as well as “serious and systemic” past corruption allegations. Pork barreling is in reference to the utilisation of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win vote.
Google to act on scam ads for financial services – 9 June 2022
Tech giant Google, says it will allow advertising only from financial services providers that have been externally verified, in an effort to crack down on scam ads.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
Forex Capital Trading liquidators hoping to claw back cash for investors from Gibraltar – 10 June 2022
Liquidators are hoping to claw back cash for “vulnerable” Australians who lost tens of millions with a trading company Forex Capital Trading (ForexCT). There is speculation that ‘Invesus’ is their parent company and therefore liable but because they are located in Gilbratar, this will be difficult. Gibraltar is known for its tax benefits for overseas companies.
Former CSIRO executive Mark Wallis jailed for two years after defrauding government of $300,000 – 10 June 2022
Mark Wallis, a former Senior Officer from the CSIRO, has been sentenced to two years in jail for fraud. He spent more than $300,000 of the agency’s money on items including a washing machine, a jet ski and two cars.
10 stories this week:
Whistleblowers’ and journalists’ sources protected under ‘shield laws’ passed in Queensland – 26 May 2022
The identity of whistleblowers’ and journalists’ confidential sources will be protected under new ‘shield’ laws passed in Queensland. The laws will prevent journalists having to disclose information if doing so will reveal the identity of a confidential informant.
Elon Musk reacts to deepfake video of him promoting crypto scam – 27 May 2022
CEO Elon Musk has reacted to a viral video of him promoting a crypto scam, saying “Yikes not me”. The video was made through deepfake, which uses artificial intelligence that manipulates faces and audio files. BitVex, a bogus trading platform, was responsible for the scam.
Businessman under ASIC investigation distributed intimate photo of ex-wife – 28 May 2022
Renato ‘Rennie’ De Maria is currently under investigation by ASIC. He pleaded guilty to circulating an intimate image of his ex-wife and a breach of a family violence intervention order.
The ‘SlumDoge Millionaire’ made it big with crypto. His fortune is now vanishing but he’s all in – 30 May 2022
Glauber Contessoto has become an online celebrity after his Dogecoin windfall, becoming known as the ‘Dogecoin Millionaire’ to his fans. John Reed Stark a lawyer in Washington DC, told four corners that he believes that crypto is one big Ponzi scheme and it facilitates crime. He says it has no underlying intrinsic value and the main reason that people invest in cryptocurrency is because they believe that there’s a greater fool out there.
Crown hit with $80m fine over ‘clandestine, deliberate’ bank card scam – 30 May 2022
Crown Resorts has been hit with a record $80 million fine over its illegal practice of accepting Chinese bank cards at its Melbourne casino to fund gambling and disguising the transactions as hotel expenses.
Access to digital version of SMH required to read article
Star Entertainment Group not suitable to run Sydney casino, inquiry told – 31 May 2022
Several top executives have resigned over the course of an inquiry by the NSW gaming regulator, which has heard allegations of money laundering, fraud and criminal infiltration at the casino. It was established that Star Entertainment Group is “not suitable” to hold a licence for its Sydney casino.
Call to protect Aussies from crypto scams – 31 May 2022
A submission has been made to the new federal government calling for urgent cryptocurrency reforms. In 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received more than 10,000 reports of crypto scams from consumers with losses totalling about $129 million.
Adelaide man charged over alleged property investment scam worth more than $6 million – 2 June 2022
An Adelaide man has been arrested for allegedly deceiving five people to invest large sums of money in properties that never existed.
US lawyer Michael Avenatti jailed for four years for defrauding Stormy Daniels – 3 June 2022
Michael Avenatti, a US lawyer who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels, known for an alleged affair with Donald Trump, has been sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding his former client of $413,000 in book proceeds. He is convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
WA man’s assets seized over laundering – 3 June 2022
A West Australian man has handed over $4 million in assets, including cash in bank accounts, an apartment and other property, after an international money laundering and tax fraud investigation by the Australian Federal Police. Suspicious international banking activity and large fund transfers brought about the investigation.
10 stories this week:
Accountant charged over alleged tax-related frauds – Financial Crimes Squad – 20 May 2022
An accountant and registered tax agent will face court for alleged tax-related frauds totalling almost $600,000. It is alleged that the man submitted fraudulent tax returns which had been altered without his clients’ knowledge in order to obtain a financial benefit. It is further alleged that he made a number of fraudulent applications to the COVID-19 JobKeeper Payment scheme on behalf of clients without their knowledge.
Astrophotographer faces charges for stealing $23K from photo association – 20 May 2022
Mark Culley, a photographer from Queensland has been charged with fraud and theft of $23,000 after using Photoshop to fake legal bank statements while being the President and Treasurer of the Professional Photographers’ Association of Queensland (PPAQ).
NSW teacher loses $500k to elaborate scam two months in the makin – 20 May 2022
A family from NSW found a website offering bonds affiliated with ANZ called Capel Court, with an Australian Business Number. Authenticity was even double-checked with ASIC. The problem is there really is a Capel Court bonds company that ANZ owns – but this wasn’t it. The scammers had stolen the company’s credentials and pretended to be them.
Fraud alert! AI identifies the four stages of a scam phone call – 21 May 2022
Australian researchers have used machine-learning techniques to identify the typical four stages of fraudulent money-taking phone calls. It is said to be one of the only studies to unpack the content of scam calls and the psychological tricks used by attackers in depth.
Advisers urged to treat unsolicited green bond investment opportunities with caution – 23 May 2022
The corporate regulator warned of scammers offering fake green bonds by representing themselves as well-known financial services firms. High in demand, ‘Green bonds’ are used to finance new and existing projects that offer climate change and environmental benefits – that are not directly available to the general public or retail investors.
The most common online scams in Australia – 23 May 2022
The ACCC reported that Australian citizens lost a record $851 million to scams during the pandemic, and these huge losses show no signs of abating. But we can work together to be more scam aware, and there are things you can do to prevent yourself from falling victim to a scam. The article provides breakdown of the most common online scams in Australia and how to can avoid them.
Steven Rootsey in Batemans Bay court for dealing with proceeds of puppy scam – 24 May 2022
Steven Rootsey has been convicted of dealing with nearly $50,000 swindled through an online puppy scam. He was asked to convert the stolen money into crypto currency by an unknown scammer for the benefit of keeping 10 percent for himself.
Employee fraud: recent developments in Australia – 25 May 2022
Article describes two recent cases of fraud in the workplace. One was a director from Deloitte who allegedly stole millions to pay for personal luxury items and another was an employee of Rentokil who falsified invoices and defrauded 3.2 million. Article also discusses how to mitigate the risk of employee fraud.
The inside story of the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund collapse and the missing millions – 27 May 2022
Many had paid thousands of dollars to ACBF (Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund) over decades, after signing up to funeral insurance policies under the mistaken belief that it was a funeral savings fund owned and run by Aboriginal people. ASIC has confirmed it is investigating past and present directors for breaches of both the corporations act and the ASIC act.
Fraudster jailed after losing millions from his South Taranaki iwi – 27 May 2022
An Australia-based fraudster has brought shame as well as a loss of mana and trust to his iwi (Maori NZ Society) after the organisation lost more than $3 million in a series of sophisticated investments.
12 stories this week:
Organised crime thrives because NSW cannot follow the money – 13 May 2022
Up until recent inquiries into The Star and Crown casinos, few people would have even thought that money laundering was a huge problem in Australia. Article explains how it is still an issue.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read full article.)
Áustrac’s chief executive defends financial crime regulator after NSW Police Assistant Commissioner said watchdog was ‘not swinging hard enough’ – 13 May 2022
The CEO of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Nicole Rose has rejected recent allegations that the agency has been too focused on banks. Recent actions by AUSTRAC against banks for anti-money laundering (AML) violations have resulted in record-breaking corporate penalties, such as the AU$700M fine against Commonwealth Bank in 2017 and the AU$1.3BN fine against Westpac in 2019.
Access to digital version of AML Intelligence site required to read full article
Australia’s treatment of whistleblowers will be its damnation – 13 May 2022
Article provides examples of how whistleblowers have been treated worldwide. The way Witness K and his barrister Bernard Collary have been the subject of Australian Govt. legal proceedings over the leaking of information to the East Timorese Government of secret recordings made by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), sends a message to the world that our great democracies intend on continuing to deceive and cover up.
Papas’ girlfriend denies knowledge of alleged scam – 13 May 2022
The girlfriend of alleged Forum fraudster Bill Papas has denied any knowledge of the alleged scam that saw Westpac and other banks bilked out of almost $500 million.
Bitcoin runaway Peter Foster gets bail despite six-month disappearance – 13 May 2022
Peter Foster, the self-described “man of mischief” and now alleged fraudster, has been released on bail from prison despite not turning up to court last year and going on the run for six months.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read full article.)
Jeremiah Deakin sentenced to two and a half years in jail for deceiving former sex client into paying him $718,000 – 16 May 2022
Jeremiah Deakin pleaded guilty to posing as a female ASIO officer as part of an elaborate scam to obtain money from a former sex client. He has been sentenced to nearly two and a half years in jail by the ACT Supreme Court.
FSC calls for ban on scam ads on Facebook, Google – 16 May 2022
The Financial Services Council has called for a mandatory code of conduct to regulate advertising via technology giants Google and Facebook and better protect the public from financial scams.
NSW couple loses $500k to highly sophisticated scam – 16 May 2022
A New South Wales couple has lost half a million dollars to a highly sophisticated scam, thinking they were investing in a legitimate finance company. The scammers were allegedly using ANZ Capel Court ABN number and financial services’ licence.
Prominent Sydney corporate lawyer set to be grilled by Ponzi scheme investigators – 18 May 2022
A leading Australian corporate lawyer John Landerer is set to be grilled in court alongside casino giants Crown and The Star, over their alleged links to one of Australia’s biggest Ponzi schemes.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read full article.)
Melissa Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti hands couple’s mansion to receivers – 19 May 2022
The husband of Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick has officially vacated the couple’s luxury mansion in eastern Sydney. Despite being forced to vacate his home, Mr Koletti is fighting for a cut of the sale, along with duped investors. The property with views of the Sydney Opera House is said to be worth between $15-$17 million.
Court slaps manager with six-figure penalty for compensation fraud – 19 May 2022
A Victorian court had recently ruled that a Melbourne-based business manager must pay back $100,000 in overpayments after the court found that he defrauded the state’s workers’ compensation scheme.
Melbourne woman sentenced to time served for ‘brazen’ identity theft bank scam – 19 May 2022
Kristel Galvin-Samie from Melbourne, used wigs and sunglasses to hoodwink some of Australia’s biggest banks into giving her more than $260,000 belonging to other customers, has walked free from court. She was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and complete a community corrections order.
12 stories this week:
Tax Office To Investigate 40,000 Australians Over Fake Business Scam – 6 May 2022
The Australian Taxation Office is cracking down on an $850 million fraud being spruiked on social media that involves people inventing fake businesses to claim GST refunds. It involves offenders setting up sham businesses and ABN applications, then submitting fictional Business Activity Statements to get a false GST refund.
Screen-sharing scams on the rise, watchdog warns – 6 May 2022
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is warning people to beware of people posing as investment advisers and offering to help them set up new schemes via online meeting platforms. They ask their victim to share the screen and enable remote access – which hands over control of their device and, potentially their bank account.
Employee monitoring software became the new normal during COVID-19. It seems workers are stuck with it – 6 May 2022
During the pandemic employee monitoring software, became the new normal, logging keystrokes and mouse movement, capturing screenshots, tracking location, and even activating webcams and microphones. Now the software is here to stay, even in the office. Furthermore, there’s no consistent set of laws operating across jurisdictions in Australia that regulate surveillance of the workplace.
Whistleblowers claim Facebook’s chaotic Australia news ban was a negotiating tactic – 6 May 2022
Former employees, backed by the Whistleblower Aid charity, claim Facebook purposefully “over-blocked” Australian pages during a critical ‘fire” period in order to gain leverage over the Australian government. Complaints filed with Australia’s Competition & Consumer Commission and the US Department of Justice, allege that the company engaged in “a criminal conspiracy to obtain a thing of value, namely favorable regulatory treatment”.
Hotel scams: What travellers need to look out for when booking online – 7 May 2022
There is a rise in scammers sending emails pretending to come from hoteliers and travel companies, directing holiday makers to fake COVID verification sites, that are there to steal their information and infect their computer. Scams often seek to get personal information such as birthdays, bank details, or other valuable confidential data. Unfortunately, many of these details are required when booking flights and hotels, making the travel industry a prime target for data breaches.
Public Interest Disclosures: Compensation for whistleblowers – 7 May 2022
Article outlines what a public interest disclosure is, who can make a public interest disclosures and what compensation there is for detrimental action taken against whistleblowers.
Corporate chicanery unveiled, Ice Hockey Australia supremo gets iced – 8 May 2022
Grove Bennet, a bankrupt and failed pyramid schemer’s management of Australian ice hockey has come to a fast finish because of an investigation in Michael West Media. Amongst other allegations it has been recorded that monetary data offered by Bennett was ‘misleading’, ‘false’ and ‘negligently misrepresented’.
‘PC insanity’: How to handle misconduct investigations in the workplace – 10 May 2022
Article discusses some of the common mistakes made by employers when dealing with workplace misconduct. It states that allegations needs to demonstrate that the conclusions were properly reached, have regard to all of the evidence, and that there’s an explanation as to why decisions were made.
Australian ‘Casanova Conman’ sentenced in visa fraud case – 11 May 2022
An Australian national (Paul Cristallo known as Paul Carter) has been repeatedly accused of swindling women, including allegedly defrauding his mother, was sentenced to eight months after pleading guilty to visa fraud. Carter allegedly posed as a multimillionaire developer and would woo women into turning over to him control of their financial assets.
‘It pays to do your homework’: ASIC urges Australians to seek out licensed advisers – 12 May 2022
The corporate regulator has urged Australians who are seeking financial advice, to only connect with licenced professionals ensuring the adviser is both qualified and licensed, or authorised, to do the job.
Portland doctor Abraham Stephanson admits to defrauding $792k from patients – 11 May 2022
Abraham Stephanson who was a Portland doctor has pleaded guilty to deception charges after defrauding 19 people out of almost $800,000 to support his gambling addiction and pay of his own mortgage. Stephanson used the guise of his father’s diagnosis of terminal cancer to defraud his victims.
Organised crime rampant across Australia, secret briefings reveal – 13 May 2022
Organised crime is running rampant across Australia and agencies are struggling to fight it, according to secret briefings given to cabinet ministers and senior public servants, by the highest-ranking organised crime fighter in NSW. Police Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith says the fight against organised crime was hampered by the lacklustre approach of the nation’s financial crime agency Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)
13 stories this week:
Melbourne widow loses husband’s $760k life insurance payout to scammers – 29 April 2022
A widow lost her insurance payout to a scam. The scammers used Amazon Cloud Frontage which bypassed security measures, allowing them to appear on the first page of a Google web search for “Macquarie Bank term deposit”. The fraudsters were offering a 2.5 per cent rate under the guise of Macquarie Bank which was better than every other bank.
Is it legal for employers to monitor employees using surveillance devices? – 29 April 2022
Article outlines that there’s no general ‘Right to privacy in Australia’ and it is legal for your boss to monitor and track your work-related tasks and performance while at work; whether working from home or on site. However, there’s a complicated web of federal, state and territory laws. Employee monitoring is also subject to these laws and the various rules that regulate surveillance of employees can be very complicated.
Alpaca scammers target would-be buyers online – 29 April 2022
Scammers are now targeting people who are looking to buy alpacas. One victim lost $500 to a scam after putting a deposit down. Serious buyers needed to look out for a reputable breeder to avoid such problems.
9 people nabbed for offering non-existent jobs in Australia – 29 April 2022
The federal commercial crime investigation department director said a crime syndicate used social media to advertise job offers in Australia, and a website to guide the victims to apply for a work visa abroad. Victims were charged A$420 for processing (visa applications) and the syndicate would send them a screenshot showing the application document, as well as a copy of the fake document, using the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs letterhead.
How does identity theft protection work? Stop would-be scammers fast – 2 May 2022
Online scamming has led to a significant increase in identity theft. So reputable companies have stepped forward to offer identity theft protection services. Article looks at the eight types of identity theft and pros and cons of these protection services.
Aspen Medical was given more than $1 billion in government PPE contracts despite no experience in large-scale procurement – 2 May 2022
Aspen Medical had no prior experience in large-scale procurement of medical products before it was picked for a $1 billion PPE contract by the government. A Four Corners investigation, in collaboration with Colombo’s Sunday Times, claims that Aspen Medical has been embroiled in an international criminal probe into corruption and money laundering.?
Former tennis champion Boris Becker jailed in UK bankruptcy case – 30 April 2022
A London court has sentenced German tennis great Boris Becker to jail for two years and six months for hiding hundreds of thousands of pounds of assets, after he was declared bankrupt. He was found guilty of transferring money to his ex-wife, Barbara, and estranged wife, Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg, after his 2017 bankruptcy.
Secret phone taps of ATO deputy commissioner’s son – discussing alleged multi-million-dollar tax fraud – 1 May 2022
Five people have pleaded not guilty over an alleged $105 million tax fraud. The alleged scheme involved the accused parties, ripping off the government, by keeping more than $100 million in GST and Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax, that was meant for the ATO. The jury was played a series of secretly recorded phone calls. The trial is expected to run for six months.
On World Press Freedom Day, will Australia’s major parties pledge to fix our whistleblowing law? – 4 May 2022
Despite the accountability and change their whistleblowing has helped achieve, Richard Boyle, David McBride and Bernard Collaery all face potential jail time for speaking up about serious wrongdoing. Article reflects on their plight – and the government’s responsibility.
Qantas loses appeal on ‘illegally’ outsourcing jobs, with compensation and penalties awaiting – 4 May 2022
Qantas has lost its appeal against a Federal Court decision that found the outsourcing of about 2,000 ground crew workers was illegal and in in breach of the Fair Work Act. Qantas argues the move to outsource staff was always in response to the pandemic and will appeal in the High Court.
Dr Roger Munro sentenced to four and half years jail for fraud following ASIC investigation – 4 May 2022
ASIC’s investigation found Dr Munro received $299,600 from three investors after he had invited them to invest in his trading scheme, TradeStation Futures Trading Fund (TradeStation). Rather than investing those funds in TradeStation, Dr Munro dishonestly applied the funds to pay for personal expenses, make cash withdrawals, make payments to other investors and transferring funds into a trading account held in the name of Dr Munro’s wife.
Crackdown sees more than half a billion scam calls blocked – 4 May 2022
Initiatives by Telcos and the ACMA have led to a 95 per cent reduction in reports of mobile porting fraud and more than 549 million scam phone calls being blocked.
Senior police officer under investigation following allegations of aiding and abetting criminals – 5 May 2022
IBAC is holding public hearings into allegations Detective Sergeant Wayne Dean took cash payments from a debt collector for pressuring debtors to pay up. The Melbourne Police officer also struggled to explain how he came to have $18,000 in cash stashed in a safe at his home.
Federal judge quits after investigation – 5 May 2022
A federal judge will leave the bench next week after only a year’s service following an investigation into his conduct.
(Accesss to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
12 stories this week:
Trump wall funder pleads guilty to fraud – 22 April 2022
A US Air Force veteran who helped lead a fundraising campaign to build former president Donald Trump’s promised wall, along the US-Mexican border, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud donors of more than $US350,000. He spent the money on a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewellery and cosmetic surgery.
The Butchers from Brazil: The corporate colossus devouring Australia’s food business – 22 April 2022
Australia’s biggest meat company JBS is repeatedly failing to protect its workers from horrific injuries
JBS is the corporate food giant that controls huge amounts of the meat we eat, owning brands from Coles and Woolworths to Aldi. Four Corners investigates this company who is accused for bribery and corruption in Brazil, corruption and sourcing meat from illegally deforested land in the Amazon rainforest. In Australia, they seem to be encouraged and supported and remain untouched.
Warwick Ranclaud suffered burns to 90 per cent of his body during a fire at a JBS facility in NSW. JBS Australia has an appalling track record in the workplace, repeatedly failing to protect its workers from death or serious injuries. They pleaded guilty to exposing its workers to a risk of death or serious injury and were convicted in November 2020.
SA teacher loses her $43k life savings in ‘sophisticated’ phone scam – 22 April 2022
A SA Teacher fell victim to a SIM swap hack, where a cyber-criminal had remotely gained control of her phone by impersonating her to her telco provider, Optus, and asking for an eSIM card. Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will soon require telco companies to use multi-factor authentication before completing a “high-risk transaction” like a SIM swap otherwise they will face legal action.
Australia’s Westpac Banking Fined A$113M for Multiple Compliance Breaches – 22 April 2022
An Australian court ordered Westpac Banking Corp. to pay A$113 million ($82.92 million) in penalties for multiple compliance failures across its businesses, after hearing the last of the six cases filed against it by the country’s corporate watchdog.
Australian banks are repaying 6.5 million customers billions of dollars in junk insurance refunds – 24 April 2022
6.5 million Australian adults have been sold junk insurance by banks, the banking Royal Commission revealed. The Royal Commission ordered financial institutions to set aside $10 billion for refunds, with customers now coming to collect.
Australia’s overheated property market has become a target for hackers – and they’re scamming millions – 24 April 2022
Property settlement scams are becoming more common, as scammers turn their focus to the large and often lightly protected sums of money, that prospective buyers are transferring to the trust accounts of real estate agents and conveyancers. Poor cybersecurity, as well as the failure of banks to verify account names, has made Australia a target, experts say.
Cyber ecosystem nurtures Aussie security start-up – 25 April 2022
According to Crime Stoppers NSW CEO, Peter Price AM, Australia is emerging as a world leader in tackling cybercrime, thanks to more university educated cyber security professionals and a better understanding by business and government of the risks.
AUSTRAC issue financial crime guide – 26 April 2022
In line with AUSTRAC issuing a “financial crime guide” last week, the government’s financial intelligence agency wants banks to adopt more rigorous processes to monitor customers, who may be using cryptocurrencies to facilitate serious crime and to report any suspicious activity.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read this article.)
Former employee pleads guilty to defrauding Darwin construction business of nearly $90,000 – 26 April 2022
Kristy Gall unlawfully obtained a total of $88,273 from her former employer over four years. The fraud was discovered after unauthorised expenses were identified on a credit card issued to her.
Fee-free Plutus Payroll services ‘too good to be true’, jury told – 27 April 2022
A court has heard that the alleged co-conspirators behind a multimillion-dollar tax fraud scheme, offered fee-free payroll services that were too good to be true and voluntarily liquidated bottom-tier companies to put the Tax Office off the scent.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)
Federal government receives open letter from 125 organisations, urging help for Youpla funeral insurance victims – 27 April 2022
125 organisations have written an open letter to the federal government, urging compensation for victims of the Youpla (ACBF) funeral insurance scheme collapse. Youpla first came under the microscope during the Banking Royal Commission, where it was revealed it had falsely marketed itself as Indigenous-owned.
Serious Fraud Office visits Whyalla steelworkers owner GFG Alliance offices in UK in fraud, money laundering investigation – 28 April 2022
Properties linked to British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance – the owner of Whyalla’s steelworks – have been searched overnight by officers from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office. The Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering at the company last year.
15 stories this week:
Aussie watchdog forces major telcos to act on mobile scam – 8 April 2022
Telstra and Optus will soon be forced to crack down on a vicious scam targeting innocent mobile phone users in Australia. Under new The Australian Communications and Media Authority rules, telcos will be required to perform stronger customer identity checks when undertaking “high-risk” transactions such as new sim requests, changes to accounts or disclosure of personal information.
Schools chaplaincy provider bans cohabitation and ‘sexually intrusive’ behaviour in staff’s private life – 9 April 2022
A whistleblower has alleged Australia’s second biggest schools chaplaincy provider imposes a code that discriminates against staff based on relationship status and sexual conduct.
Police seize almost $5m in cash, drugs and cryptocurrency teller machines in Sydney – 10 April 2022
Police have seized, three cryptocurrency teller machines, five kilograms of illicit drugs and 4.7 million in Sydney’s south-east, as part of a multi-agency operation involving the US Department of Homeland Security. The three charged are alleged members of an international organised crime group.
Financial Fraud and Regulating Google and Facebook – 11 April 2022
Misinformation about investment products, have been costing Australians millions of dollars. The result of the ACCC v Meta inquiry could provide greater legal clarity on the duties of digital platforms absent legislation, when it comes to fraudulent advertisements published on their platforms. The inquiry is set to provide an interim report to the Treasurer by 30 September 2022.
Australians to Avoid $120 Million Loss With Automatic Anti-Scam System: Westpac Bank – 11 April 2022
A new banking system will help thousands of Australians save an estimated $120 million (US$89.3 million) annually by stopping scam transactions from fraudulent overseas sellers. Customers will have their credit and debit card transactions to overseas retailers automatically blocked if a scam is detected.
Centrelink scammers target flood-hit residents in northern NSW – 12 April 2022
Scammers have obtained Centrelink customer identities and used their mailing addresses in flood-affected parts of New South Wales, to claim flood relief payments.
Accountant jailed over $390k tax fraud – 13 April 2022
A Victorian accountant, Immanuel Shmuel has been sent to jail over fraudulent BAS statements. He was convicted of attempting to obtain a financial advantage of more than $390,000 by amending his business activity statements to reduce his existing debt and receive a refund.
US man jailed for breaching sanctions by advising North Korea on cryptocurrency – 13 April 2022
Virgil Griffith, a United States man has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for advising North Korea on how to use cryptocurrency trading, to evade sanctions.
A fugitive Chinese billionaire claims this cryptocurrency will overthrow Beijing. Experts say it has the ‘hallmarks of a scam’ – 18 April 2022
An ABC investigation, through analysing financial documents, private chat rooms and blockchain wallets, has unravelled a sophisticated cryptocurrency operation. The scheme has raised alarm bells for financial crime and cryptocurrency experts, who said it had the hallmarks of a scam. Guo Wengui believes HCoin, would be instrumental to their revolution and would replace the Chinese currency. The ABC asked several cryptocurrency and financial crime experts to analyse the trading platform Himalaya Exchange and HCoin. They concluded both raised red flags.
Jeremiah Deakin asks to be jailed after pleading guilty to deceiving former sex client into paying him $718,000 – 19 April 2022
Jeremiah Deakin, admitted to defrauding a man he met online for sex and pretending to be a female spy. The victim paid $718,000 over two years, which Deakin used to fund his ice and gambling addictions.
Husband of Melissa Caddick stakes claim to a share of the millions she owned in property, luxury cars and jewellery – 19 April 2022
Melissa Caddick’s husband, Anthony Koletti is trying to claw back some of the millions in property, cars, jewellery and designer clothes owned by the Sydney fraudster. He submitted that his financial contribution to the household meant he was entitled to a share of the assets. Ms Caddick’s assets are being sold off to repay some of the $23 million, she stole from investors.
Big names (and an economist) in sacked Deloitte director’s haul – 20 April 2022
It took Deloitte less than a month to conclude its action against former director Paul Quill. He’s agreed to repay $3.1 million to the firm, hopefully from the proceeds of the artworks, furniture, fine watches and the like his old employer claims he purchased with fraudulent expense claims.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
AUSTRAC works with businesses to target ransomware and criminal use of digital currencies – 22 April 2022
AUSTRAC has released two new financial crime guides to help businesses, stop ransomware attack payments and the criminal abuse of digital currencies. The guides contain practical information and indicators to help businesses identify and report if a payment could be related to ransomware attacks, or someone could be using digital currencies to commit serious crimes such as money laundering, scams, or terrorism financing
‘No apparent logical reason’ why former CSIRO executive Mark Wallis defrauded government of $300,000 – 22 April 2022
The ACT Supreme Court has heard there was no obvious explanation for why Mark Wallis, a former CSIRO executive spent more than $300,000 of government money on cars, a jet ski and a gym membership. Mark Wallis has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced later in the year.
Former Gold Coast rich-list developer Craig Gore caught conducting business while in jail on fraud charges – 22 April 2022
Disgraced Gold Coast rich-lister Craig Gore, has been sprung by corrections officers, virtually meeting employees and taking a digital tour of a building connected to a business he was illegally running from jail. He pleaded guilty and was fined $1,500
12 stories this week:
Australia’s carbon credit scheme ‘largely a sham’, says whistleblower who tried to rein it in – 22 March 2022
Professor Andrew Macintosh who is an environmental law and policy expert at The Australian National University (ANU) says the system, which gives credits for projects such as regrowing native forests after clearing, is ‘a fraud’ on the environment, taxpayers and consumers. The allegations have been referred to the Commonwealth Auditor General for investigation.
Six charged over alleged cannabis cultivation and COVID-19 rental relief payment fraud – 24 March 2022
Detectives have charged six people – including three Real Estate Agents – following an investigation into the alleged use of rental properties for the cultivation of cannabis, and fraudulent acquisition of COVID-19 rental relief payments.
How technology is solving crimes – 24 March 2022
Thanks to advances in technology, solving crimes has come a long way. Advances range from sophisticated finger mark detection methods, to rapid in-field testing, for example, a portable forensics lab (‘lab-on-a-chip’), forensic genetic genealogy, and use of artificial intelligence in different aspects of the forensic work.
Over 2m Aussies fall victim to scams and fraud – 24 March 2022
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimated 55 per cent of Aussies, or about 11.1 million people, had encountered a scam during the 2020-21 financial year, most commonly over the phone (38.3 per cent), via email (32.2 per cent), text message (23.4 per cent) or online (20.2 per cent).
The growing data privacy debate: is AI being used to undermine your privacy? – 24 March 2022
With data breaches on the rise, data privacy has become a key concern for many Australians, who are sceptical of the activities of businesses that collect, handle and share revealing information about their activities, interests and preferences. Without adequate AI regulation and data privacy laws and guidance, businesses are having to fill in the gaps.
Four-word Facebook messenger scam to ignore – 25 March 2022
Facebook Messenger users have been told to ignore four-letter messages from friends such as “Is this you in this video?” or “look what I found”. Clicking on these could lead to disastrous financial consequences or stolen personal information.
Whistleblower says Microsoft spent millions on bribes abroad (yahoo.com) – 26 March 2022
Former Microsoft manager Yasser Elabd, alleged that Microsoft fired him after he alerted leadership to a workplace where employees, subcontractors and government operators regularly engaged in bribery. He also claims that attempts to escalate his concerns, resulted in retaliation within Microsoft by managers, and eventual termination from his role.
Cryptocurrency scammers turn to deep fakes to snare victims – 27 March 2022
Cybersecurity and consumer experts say cryptocurrency scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated with scammers creating deep fakes of ordinary people. He said these deep fakes ?- which use artificial intelligence and machine learning to create fake videos and images ?- were more convincing when they centred on regular people.
Police close in on person who helped Papas leave the country – 27 March 2022
NSW Police are zeroing in on the person who supported alleged fraudster Bill Papas to leave the country in June 2021, as it continues its investigations into the Westpac and Forum Finance saga.
New ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb vows to target price gougers, plays down Murdoch family links – 28 March 2022
ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb has vowed to target petrol and food retailers who exploit anxiety from recent flood disasters, the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine to gouge prices.
Fake SMSF scammers pounce during COVID-19 – 29 March 2022
The Australian Taxation Office has said it is witnessing an increase in Self Managed Superannuation identity fraud, where crooks use tax professionals to register phony funds to win massive windfalls.
(Access to AFR required to access article..)
Manager tells inquiry of Star casino’s ‘concerning’ lies to Chinese bank – 30 March 2022
A Star casino manager has told a public inquiry about “serious” and “repeated” misrepresentations the company made to the Bank of China concerning the source of millions of dollars. Gambling is illegal in China and local banks often block transfers to foreign casinos. The inquiry, being run by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), heard about a subsidiary company set up by Star, called EEI Services Hong Kong, to assist Chinese customers in accessing money for gaming in Australia.
15 stories this week:
Star senior manager ‘utterly misled’ bank over use of controversial credit cards at casino, inquiry told – 17 March 2022
An inquiry has been told that a senior manager at Star Entertainment Group “utterly misled” the National Australia Bank, about a controversial credit card used by high-rollers at the casino giant’s gambling venues. In 2019, a Chinese financial services company – became concerned that its cards were being used at Star venues to pay for large “suspicious” gambling transactions in breach of its rules, and passed on its concerns to NAB, with the bank then contacting the casino operator.
Surveillance Is a Huge Issue For Domestic Abuse Victims, So the Government Is Stepping In – 18 March 2022
Following a national survey by WESNET, which revealed that almost all women experiencing family violence suffered from technology abuse, the federal government will invest $104 million over the next five years into domestic violence funding.
ATO flags cryptocurrency crackdown amid evasion concerns – 18 March 2022
Tax authorities will tighten scrutiny of cryptocurrencies in a bid to ensure users are accurately reporting gains and identify whether it is being used as an investment or for business purposes. The clampdown comes amid regulatory concerns that many taxpayers believe cryptocurrency operates in an anonymous digital world, or that gains are tax-free, or only taxable when holdings are cashed back into Australian dollars. ATO will also target investors correctly calculating costs such as brokerage fees, transfer and platform costs, borrowing expenses, interest on loans, and legal fees.
ACCC takes Facebook owner to court over fake cryptocurrency ads – 18 March 2022
The AC has launched a world-leading legal case against Facebook owner Meta, for publishing scam cryptocurrency ads featuring well-known Australians. The ACCC alleges this conduct is in breach of the Australian Consumer Law or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act.
Fraudulent GST refunds land NSW man in jail – 18 March 2022
A New South Wales man has been sentenced after obtaining more than $171,000 in fraudulent GST refunds. In addition to his criminal conviction for tax fraud, he was also ordered to repay the full amount in reparations.
Stolen Bitcoin, fake personas and a trip to Ukraine: Inside the case against crypto heist couple Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein – 19 March 2022
Social influencer, writer, entrepreneur and amateur rapper Heather Morgan and her husband Ilya Lichtenstein, a Russian-American tech entrepreneur, face up to 25 years in jail if found guilty of conspiring to launder stolen Bitcoin worth billions of dollars.
Mining sector sexual misconduct: FIFO sexual harassment whistleblowers tell shocking allegations to 60 Minutes – 19 March 2022
A married mother of two, who made particularly disturbing allegations of persistent sexual harassment in the mining industry to a parliamentary inquiry, is continuing her whistleblower campaign, fronting cameras to tell her story.
Former Apple employee, charged with fraud amounting to $13.47 million, has finances frozen, five properties seized – 20 March 2022
Dhirendra Prasad, a former Apple employee has been charged with defrauding the tech giant out of more than $US10 million ($13.47 million) by taking kickbacks, stealing equipment and laundering money. The federal government has seized five real estate properties and financial accounts worth about $US5 million from Mr Prasad, and will seek to keep those assets as proceeds of crime.
Former Kleenmaid director sentenced for fraud and insolvent trading – 21 March 2022
On 18 March 2022, a former Kleenmaid director Andrew Eric Young, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated fraud by dishonestly causing $330,000 to be withdrawn from a Kleenmaid company bank account, two days prior to administrators being appointed. Mr Young transferred the funds to a bank account held by a company, in which he held an interest and from which he and his wife would benefit.
Australian judge accuses UN of ‘coup d’etat’ after dismissal from case involving Chinese dissidents – 21 March 2022
Australian judge Rowan Downing, QC, has accused the United Nations of an “attack upon the independence of the judiciary” and a coup d’etat after he was removed from the case of a whistleblower (Emma Reily) who had accused the global body of passing on information to Beijing about Chinese dissidents.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)
At the heart of all fraud lies deceit: building a profile of a corporate fraudster – 21 March 2022
Dean Mitchell from KPGM, provides some insights on white collar fraud and the people who commit it. He touches on patterns of behaviours and claims corporate fraudsters, according to forensic psychologists, go out of their way to refine their techniques, to avoid past mistakes and maximise what they can get away with.
Alexei Navalny – jailed Russian Opposition Leader and vocal Putin critic – found guilty of fraud – 22 March 2022
A Russian court has found jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny guilty of large-scale fraud and sentenced him to nine years in a maximum-security prison, with police detaining both of his lawyers immediately after the hearing. Navalny is one of the most prominent critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has dismissed the criminal case brought against him as politically motivated.
Craig Thomson, accused of AVO breach and facing fraud charges, granted bail – 23 March 2022
Former federal Labor MP Craig Thomson has been granted strict bail after spending the night in custody on the NSW Central Coast, accused of fraud offences and breaching an apprehended violence order. Police alleged he made two fake COVID-19 business grant applications, dating back two years, totalling $25,000.
Erskine resident warns others after almost losing $300,000 to investment scam – 22 March 2022
A 73-year-old Erskine resident was almost left $300,000 out of pocket after he was targeted by an investment scam. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported people lost over $27,000 to investment scams just in February, 2022. Article reminds readers to check if a financial advisor is registered via the ASIC website and check ASIC’s list of companies you should not deal with.
ASIC financial influencer crackdown targets unlicensed financial advice – 23 March 2022
The financial watchdog has put social media finance influencers on notice, with the ASIC financial influencer crackdown threatening up to five years’ jail and $1 million-plus fines for ‘influencers’ giving out financial advice without a licence.
11 stories this week:
Unfair practices law needed to improve consumer protection, says outgoing ACCC chair Rod Sims – 4 March 2022
Ex ACCC chair, Rod Sims has said Australia needs a law banning “unfair practices”. He said such a law could help protect consumers from having their own data used against them. He mentioned practices such as false scarcity reminders such as low-stock warnings, false sales countdown timers, targeted advertising utilising consumers’ own data to exploit their individual characteristics, pre-selected add-ons and design interfaces that discourage unsubscribing.
NSW man arrested after 2 women lost $20k – 11 March 2022
A western Sydney man has been arrested after two women were defrauded and lost savings totalling almost $20,000. NSW Police will allege in court, the man posed as an employee of a financial institution and called the women, telling them their accounts had been hacked. He then allegedly when to their homes before taking their money.
Scamwatch: It can be hard to say no to a cute puppy but don’t rush in and fall for a scam – 11 March 2022
Australian Community Media has compiled a list of current scams identified on sites such as scamwatch.gov.au, cyber.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website, dedicated to informing people about fraudulent and dishonest activities. This article summarises what to look out for.
Crown v Shannon: bigwigs off the hook, small fish fried – 14 March 2022
Michael West reports on the world of deluxe double standards. For example, ASIC would NOT be pursuing Crown directors for breaching their duties. Yet ASIC is still pursuing the bank victims advocate, Geoff Shannon of the website Unhappy Banking, even trying to drag him off his hospital bed after spinal surgery to force him to face charges in another state.
Former Wirecard chief executive charged with fraud – 14 March 2022
Wirecard’s former chief executive Markus Braun has been formally charged by Munich public prosecutors with fraud, breach of trust and accounting manipulation after a 21-month criminal investigation into the collapse of the German payments group.
Fake heiress Anna Sorokin makes new bid to fight deportation – 15 March 2022
Anna Sorokin, the convicted swindler who claimed to be a German heiress to finance a posh lifestyle in New York, is making a new bid to fight deportation. She scammed New York’s elite, hotels and banks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell to face trial on theft charges after losing High Court appeal – 15 March 2022
South Australian Independent MP Troy Bell will face trial in October accused of misappropriating public funds, after he lost his High Court bid to stop the prosecution.
Accidentally paid a fraudulent invoice? Your legal position is murky – 15 March 2022
If you have accidentally paid a fraudulent invoice, are you liable to pay an invoice a second time, or is the supplier liable for failing to have adequate cyber security? The answers to this question will depend on the precise circumstances that occurred surrounding the fraudulent payments. Article reviews basic principles that have been considered.
Investigation after images of Sydney home altered to include ”expansion joints’ that were never there – 15 March 2022
NSW Fair Trading is investigating allegations that builder Metricon photo shopped images of a Sydney family’s dream home, to include expansion joints” that were, in fact, not there.
ASIC announces new whistleblower review – 16 March 2022
The corporate regulator is preparing to review whistleblower programs from a sample of companies. The upcoming review will assess how selected companies handle whistleblower disclosures, how they use the information from disclosures to address issues or change their operations, and the level of board and executive oversight of the program.
Mastercard says real-time payments increase risk of fraud – 16 March 2022
Mastercard is developing a new service for banks that will add card-like consumer protections to transactions sent over the real-time payment system that competes with its network.
(Digital access to AFR required to read article.)
Melissa Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti pens scathing letter, claiming ASIC ‘dehumanised’ his wife – 17 March 2022
Melissa Caddick’s husband says ASIC removed CCTV cameras from their Sydney home, so they will never know if his wife was murdered. He claims his wife was ‘dehumanised’ in her home by ASIC investigators.
Mr Flamboyant’s fraud charge begs the question: How can suppliers ensure they’re paid? – 17 March 2022
Article looks at what can suppliers do to ensure they do not find themselves at the mercy of an alleged fraudster who does not pay for good and services rendered.
9 stories this week:
Mortgage broker frauds: Here’s how to avoid them – 5 March 2022
There are two primary types of mortgage broker frauds: fraud for profit and fraud for housing. Article explains how they differ and tips hon how to avoid them. Mortgage broker frauds: Here’s how to avoid them
Who Is Liable For Credit Card Fraud In Australia? – 5 March 2022
Card providers in Australia usually have a zero liability stance when it comes to credit card fraud. For those who follow the terms of their offer, there is no concern of liability whatsoever. Article also answers other questions such as “Do credit cards have frauid liability?” and “What Is The Punishment For Credit Card Fraud In Australia?”
Half billion-dollar Bill: accused fraudster living the good life in Greece – 6 March 2022
Alleged fraudster Bill Papas has broken his silence as a joint investigation by The Age, Herald and 60 Minutes reveals his comfortable life in Greece. His statement included words such as …”I have been deprived of the opportunity to fund any meaningful engagement with federal proceedings commenced by a well-resourced financial institution. I do intend to address the matters raised at an appropriate time but for now, my primary focus is my health.” McGrathNicol partner and a liquidator to Bill Papas’ businesses, Jason Ireland, says it’s the biggest alleged fraud he’s ever seen.
ASIC moves to shut some recourse avenues for scam victims – 7 March 2022
ASIC is backing a tightening of the voluntary code of practice regulating electronic payments. The changes would limit its usefulness as a mechanism for consumers to recover losses from scams related to ATM, eftpos, card, internet and mobile banking transactions.
Electronic surveillance law reform a step in the right direction – 8 March 2022
The legislative framework governing electronic surveillance by Australia’s policing and intelligence agencies is undergoing major reforms. However, developing a new, concise, ‘streamlined’ and ‘future-proofed’ framework without excessively compromising right to privacy is complicated.
Adelaide family loses $93,000 after bitcoin hackers empty secure offline wallet – 7 March 2022
An Adelaide dad’s plan to pay off his mortgage and retire early has backfired, after discovering his off line ”secure” cryptocurrency wallet was hacked. A report from crypto data company Chainalysis released in February found that cryptocurrency-based crime soared in 2021.
Beware the “disaster chasers”: Four ways to avoid scams amid the flood crisis – 8 March 2022
Westpac’s general manager of fraud prevention and financial crime, says scams have almost tripled through the pandemic and perpetrators have been known to pose as insurers, businesses or government organisations offering ‘help’ to victims of extreme weather events such as floods. ScamWatch advises that Australians only donate to a legitimate charity after checking that is on the national register and to be weary of ‘disaster chasers’.
Elizabeth Holmes’s ex may hold her ticket to less prison time – 9 March 2022
Any new information that comes out pointing to Holmes’s former partner Ramesh “Sunny’ Balwani’s as the mastermind of the Theranos ”blood testing startup fraud”, improves Holmes’s chances of getting a reduction in prison time. She accused him of emotional and sexual abuse and the force behind everything.
Papas’ girlfriend to return to Australia to fight allegations – 10 March 2022
A lawyer for Bill Papas’ girlfriend Louise Agostino says she will return to Australia to defend allegations made by Westpac, that she was a part of a conspiracy to defraud the bank of $285 million. The bank is seeking a court order that Ms Agostino “pay damages for the tort of unlawful means conspiracy”.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
13 stories this week:
‘Whistleblowers are suffering’: Lawyers renew calls to drop Collaery prosecution – 9 February 2022
Bernard Collaery is the whistleblower that revealed that the federal government spied on neighbour Timor-Leste during tense negotiations. The proceedings returned before the ACT Supreme Court to hear the Attorney-General’s request to add further, secret evidence. This will support its attempt to reverse an ACT Court of Appeal judgment that denied the federal government a secret trial.
Australian cryptocurrency investors targeted in fake crypto app scam, but Google says it ‘takes action’ when ‘violations found’ – 10 February 2022
The Australian Tax Office estimates up to 600,000 Australians have invested in “crypto-assets”. The latest scam involves fake apps offered on stores like Google Play.
CQUniversity pilot project to byte into cybercrime menace costing Australians billions – 11 February 2022
A CQUniversity-led tech team hopes its prototype device can help Australian businesses combat an escalating cybercrime crisis, which cost the nation a staggering $33 billion last year. The device will snip and sit in the network and whenever there is a human error – such as letting the default password onto your smart device or forgetting to encrypt customer data to your database – it will identify them and prepare a report.
Nuix not out of the woods as yet as ASIC continues to probe – 12 February 2022
ASIC concluded an investigation into the Nuix prospectus and said it was not taking any further action.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)
Australia drops landmark criminal cartel case against Citi, Deutsche – 12 February 2022
A cartel lawsuit against Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG and four former executives over a $1.8 billion share issue has been withdrawn. The move ends a challenge to the way investment banks jointly underwrite capital raisings and removes the threat of jail for the former bank executives.
The “Bonnie and Clyde” of cybercrime: a record seizure of stolen bitcoins – 14 February 2022
Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein were arrested in the United States where they are suspected of having tried to launder more than three billion dollars in stolen bitcoins. The FBI says they tried to hide their tracks using “an extensive range of cutting-edge technologies”.
Trump Organization accountants say financial statements should ‘no longer be relied upon’ – 15 February 2022
The accounting firm that prepared Donald Trump’s annual financial statements says the documents “should no longer be relied upon”, after New York’s Attorney-General said they regularly misstated the value of assets. New York’s Attorney-General is investigating “fraudulent or misleading” valuations.
ACCC issues warning over surge in romance scams – 15 February 2022
Scamwatch noted 3,400 filed romance scam cases that cost Australians $56 million – a 44% increase from the year prior. Keeping in mind that only 13% of victims report the incident. Luring people into handing over money and romance baiting, to lure them into investing in cryptocurrency are the most common romance scams.
Fraud sentencing set for March – 15 February 2022
A former financial officer of the Mulwala Water Ski Club has been committed to the NSW District Court for sentencing on three counts of ‘dishonestly obtain financial benefit by deception’. Ms Kaye Leanne Ferguson was initially charged with 27 counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception after transferring more than $1.1 million from the club to multiple offshore bank accounts between December 2020 and January 2021.
Hollywood email scam nets $900m – 17 February 2022
Los Angeles actor Zachary Horwitz, fabricated email communications, convincing investors to hand over cash, telling them that their money would be used to acquire film distribution rights, which would then be licensed to online platforms like Netflix and HBO. Horwitz was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after admitting he operated a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
Criminal abuse’: record sums of illicit money in cryptocurrency, report says – 17 February 2022′
A report from Chainalysis, reveals record sums of illicit money are being channelled through cryptocurrencies, including theft and money laundering. The research estimates that $A12 billion was laundered in cryptocurrency in 2021, a 30 per cent increase from 2020.
Warning of fraud risks as travel resumes – 18 February 2022
A new report has warned of vaccination-related fraud risks as Australia reopens to international travellers in coming months. The U4 Anti-corruption Resource Centre told the committee organised crime networks, corrupt healthcare workers and anti-vaxxers were the main perpetrators of fraud.
Embellishing the truth in a CV is common. But here’s where you can cross the line into fraud – 18 February 2022
Article describes examples of where there’s a clear point at which an embellished CV ventures into criminal territory.
17 stories this week:
ATO puts out urgent alert warning of cryptocurrency scam – posted 4 February 2022
Fake texts claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) attempt to pin the receiver for cryptocurrency tax evasion and encourage mobile phone users to provide information about their online wallets.
Sydney man’s plan to retire at 58 backfires after epic crypto hack – posted 4 February 2022
Scammers have cleaned out a man’s cryptocurrency portfolio and now, six months later, the couple have lost any hope of getting 100k back after investigations hit a dead end.
US attorney, Michael Avenatti, convicted of stealing from Stormy Daniels over book deal detailing tryst with Donald Trump – posted 5 February 2022
US attorney Michael Avenatti, has been convicted of cheating porn actor Stormy Daniels, out of nearly $300,000 she was supposed to get for writing a book, about an alleged tryst with former president Donald Trump.
Australia: NSW regulator takes Melco to Supreme Court for $2.6B in costs over Crown inquiry – posted 7 February 2022
Melco Resorts & Entertainment is being taken to court by the New South Wales gaming regulator. The operator could pay millions of dollars, over its role in the inquiry led by Commissioner Patricia Bergin into Australian gaming giant Crown Resorts. The probe found a series of failures in corporate governance, including money laundering at the company’s casinos.
Corporate Giant Accused of Systemic Workplace Bullying and Harassment – posted 7 February 2022
Corporate giant DP World has been publicly called out by a number of its employees who claim the company is covering up systemic bullying, assault and harassment. It’s also claimed the company actively protects perpetrators and vilifies victims.
Criminal charges are ‘nonsense’: Palmer – posted 8 February 2022
Clive Palmer who faces two counts of dishonestly for misusing his position as a director and two counts of dishonestly gaining a benefit or advantage, says that the criminal fraud charges against him, are a bid to “do him slowly” with no real prospect of conviction.
Woman jailed after stealing nearly $1m to play gaming app that never paid out – posted 8 February 2022
Tammy Maree Buckley has been sentenced to six and a half years in jail after swindling almost $1 million from her employer to play a gambling app on her mobile phone. The court heard that she committed 202 fraudulent transactions over a year.
Collaery charges must be dropped and whistleblowing laws overhauled – posted 8 February 2022
The Human Rights Law Centre has called on the Morrison government to drop the unjust charges against whistleblower Bernard Collaery and urgently reform Australia’s whistleblower protection laws. Kieran Pender, Senior Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said ”Whistleblowers should be protected, not punished”.
$2.75 million cash seized by Federal authorities in Western Australia – posted 8 February 2022
$2.75 million in illicit cash and three luxury cars have been confiscated after three separate investigations in Western Australia. The investigation began after receiving financial intelligence from AUSTRAC that identified suspicious account activity and large funds transfers between bank accounts in WA and Thailand.
AVO to protect investigator taken out against Melissa Caddick’s husband – posted 9 February 2022
Police are seeking an apprehended violence order against the husband of Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick, to protect Isabella Allen, who is investigating her multi-million-dollar “Ponzi scheme”.
Star Sydney Encouraged Local High Rollers to Lie in Possible Tax Dodge: Whistleblowers – posted 9 February 2022
Two former workers at The Star, said they were directly involved in a scheme that encouraged VIP gamblers based locally in the state of NSW to claim they lived elsewhere. In return, the casino would give them lucrative rewards. That’s because the Star would ultimately have to pay less in tax to the NSW government as a result.
Australia’s wealthiest man files landmark legal action against Facebook – posted 9 February 20221.
Billionaire Dr Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest AO, the wealthiest man in Australia, has initiated criminal proceedings in the WA Magistrates Court against Meta, formerly known as Facebook. He has claimed that Facebook breached federal AML laws by facilitating clickbait advertising scams.
Bill Papas’ business partner wants court to throw out ‘weak case’ against him – posted 9 February 2022
Westpac has accused Mr Tesoriero of being part of a conspiracy with Mr Papas to commit the fraud against the bank and knowingly assisting Mr Papas in conducting it. Mr Tesoriero has launched a bid to have the civil case brought against him thrown out because it is “very weak”.
Child safety probe ordered in north Qld – posted 9 February 2022
The Queensland government will probe claims that vulnerable children are being removed from foster care and sent back to their biological parents in unsafe homes.
Meta files Nigeria ‘phishing scam’ lawsuit – posted 9 February 2022
Meta and banking group Chime have launched a lawsuit against alleged Nigerian ‘phishing’ scammer attacks, that deceive people and gain access to their online financial accounts.
Emily Jane Walker and Jason Bran Lees sentenced in Adelaide over ‘sophisticated’ computer hacking scheme – posted 10 February 2022
An Adelaide couple involved in a “sophisticated and large-scale computer hacking scheme” that diverted more than $1.15 million from small businesses and not-for-profit organisations across Australia to fund their drug addictions have been jailed. Lees was sentenced to serve at least five years jail, while Walker was sentenced to serve at least two.
Couple accused of laundering $5 billion in hacked bitcoin, which was only worth $100 million when it was stolen – posted 10 February 2022
A couple in New York faces charges of conspiring to launder approx. 5 million (AUD) dollars in cryptocurrency, stolen from a 2016 hack of a virtual currency exchange. Much of the laundering occurred through accounts on a dark web site since shut down and the laundered bitcoin was used to purchase gold, NFTS and gift cards.
20 stories this week:
‘If you don’t understand it, don’t use it’: How to protect your crypto (posted 20 January 2022)
According to national competition regulator the ACCC, more than $35 million was lost in Australia to cryptocurrency scams by mid-2021. Cryptocurrency is vulnerable because everyone wants to get in early and make a buck in the online economy. Article details how to protect your cryptocurrency but also states if you don’t understand it – don’t use it.
Why organizations mustn’t ignore the threat of voice fraud (posted 21 January 2022)
Phone crime has an obvious appeal over direct physical crime, as the offender is well out of harm’s way and the more skilled criminals make themselves very difficult to trace. Commonly, fraudsters bank on social engineering techniques to aid them in their goal of tricking call center agents or consumers into handing over information. Article looks at how artificial intelligence and machine learning help organizations to combat voice fraud.
Addresses oversight and over-reach risks of Australian laws (posted 21 January 2022)
“Everyday Australians” have more to fear from surveillance carried out by ‘big tech’ and private companies than from government and intelligence agencies, according to Home Affairs boss Michael Pezzullo. Home Affairs is currently leading a major consultation around replacing a “patchwork” of surveillance and interception laws with a single, technology neutral Act. Pezzullo said that the government wanted to produce legislation that would set a standard for “self-restraining surveillance”.
Australians lost a record $323 million to scams in 2021 (posted 21 January 2022)
Money lost to scams almost doubled in one year, with more than 286,000 Aussies reporting they were scammed last year. These figures represent a ‘significant’ increase of 84% compared to 2020, when Aussies lost $175.6 million through the year. Investment scams accounted for $177 million, followed by dating and romance scams which saw people losing $52 million.
The Hollywood Con Queen lured hundreds of people into a bizarre scam, but the biggest twist was yet to come (posted 23 January 2022)
The scam of luring creative artists to Indonesia from all over the world – actors, movie producers, make-up artists, photographers etc. went on for years. As the scam grew in its scale and audacity, it became clear a sophisticated fraudster was impersonating powerful women. Finally, after Nicoletta Kotsianas and the K2 investigators had gathered a critical mass of evidence, proving the magnitude of the scam and the scale of the total monetary losses – well over $1.39 million – the FBI stepped in. Hargobind Punjabi Tahilramani, a 41-year-old Indonesian man has now been charged with several counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
COVID drives up scams, ethics down for Australian business (posted 23 January 2022)
Has the lucky country become the dodgy country? It’s hard to escape that conclusion from the latest Global Integrity Report from accounting and consulting group EY, which positions Australia an outlier in terms of both suffering from, and perpetrating, unethical behaviour.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read articlae.)
When it comes to sexual assault, safety apps aren’t the answer (posted 24 January 2022)
“Walk Me Home” and similar apps, has been rightly lamented by critics as another Band-Aid solution that (again) places the onus on women to protect themselves, and ultimately fails to tackle the root cause of male violence. A good controversial article about using technology as a solution to victims of crime before it occurs.
Crypto fraudster Stefan Qin reveals why he stole $123m (posted 24 January 2022)
A Canberra-born crypto crook who swindled $123 million from investors has given a tell-all interview about why he did it, before entering prison. Stefan Qin was found guilty of deliberately misleading Australian and US investors and falsifying account statements while running his crypto outfit Virgil Sigma Fund.
The Price of Speaking Out: Australia’s Hostile Environment for Whistleblowers (posted 27 January 2022)
Gerd Schroder-Turk was sued for millions of dollars after he spoke up about the treatment of students at Murdoch University. The article outlines that whilst the government is making moves towards bringing the public sector in line with the private, the current internal protections for private sector disclosures are “inadequate” and “largely imaginary.”
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise wins multi-billion-dollar fraud suit against UK tech tycoon Michael Lynch (posted 29 January 2022)
Technology company Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has won a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against a British businessmen it accused of fraud after purchasing his software business, Autonomy, a decade ago. Mr Lynch and Autonomy’s former chief financial officer, Sushovan Hussain, were accused of artificially inflating the company’s revenues
Death threats, ghost researchers and sock puppets: Inside the weird, wild world of dodgy academic research (posted 31 January 2022)
Former Swinburne University academic Ali Nazari has had 86 papers retracted and Ehsan Mohseni from the University of Newcastle, has also had several papers withdrawn. Unlike many other countries, Australia has no national office for research integrity.
Former BRADAAG CEO denies allegations of misusing funds, bullying staff at Tennant Creek rehab service (posted 31 January 2022)
Northern Territory government authorities have confirmed they are investigating allegations that the former Chief Executive a critical alcohol rehabilitation service, misused its resources and bullied an employee.
Caught up in the great buy now, pay later scam (posted 31 January 2022)
Identity theft and buy now pay later schemes.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
Financial advisor jailed for Dishonestly Obtaining Financial Advantage by Deception (posted 1 February 2022)
A former financial advisor Ahmed Saad has been sentenced to jail for dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception after unlawfully giving clients early access to their superannuation funds.
Ex-RAAF man in court over fraud of 95y (posted 2 February 2022)
Partlin, of Birkdale, Brisbane, allegedly dishonestly induced a 95 year old man to part with $680,000 over three months in 2020 and allegedly accessed the man’s bank account stealing $20,000.
Queensland whistleblowers need better protection, Logan Mayor Darren Power says (posted 2 February 2022)
The Mayor of Logan Darren Power says Queensland needs better protections for whistleblowers. His comments come after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appointed Tony Fitzgerald to conduct an inquiry into the structure and powers of Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).
Former Canberra Vodafone shop owner Mohit Arora avoids jail after allowing his customers to be defrauded (posted 3 February 2022)
Mohit Arora allowed criminals to steal the personal details of his Vodafone store customers has avoided time in prison. The criminal group stole the identities to set up fake credit cards and loans in 2019 and 2020.
Australian mining billionaire files lawsuit against Facebook over scam ads (posted 3 February 2022)
Iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest is launching criminal proceedings against Meta Platform (Facebook) in an Australian court, alleging that it breached anti-money laundering laws and its platform is used to scam Australians. He is alleging Facebook “failed to create controls or a corporate culture to prevent its systems being used to commit crime.
Meta accused by whistleblower of skimping on safety in Australia (posted 3 February 2022)
According to former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen, Meta is underinvesting in the safety and security of its social media platforms in overseas markets, meaning there is less avenues for recourse available to Australians. The whistleblower states the company’s budget “disproportionately” favoured the United States.
Big banks fight push for billions of dollars in scam refunds (posted 3 February 2022)
ASIC is currently reviewing the ePayments code, a voluntary code of practice that contains consumer protections for electronic payments, in a process that has been plagued by delays. However, Australia’s major banks are fighting a push from regulators to force them to refund billions of dollars lost in online scams, arguing requirements to bear the costs of internet fraud could create complacency among consumers and lead to even more losses.
12 stories this week:
Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather sued over alleged crypto scam – 14 January 2022
The celebrity reality TV star and boxer are facing a lawsuit alleging they misled online followers into buying crypto as part of a “pump and dump” scheme. The lawsuit claims that the celebrities made “false or misleading statements” while promoting a crypto token sold by ethereum, or EMAX.
Santos agrees to pay $400k to Rallen over Beetaloo Basin gas wells dispute – 14 January 2022
Rallen Australia (Australia’s biggest landholding company) had taken the multinational energy company Santos to court, alleging they had misled and deceived farmers by not alerting them to revisions of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP), the company had undertaken to add two additional gas wells to the land at Tanumbirini Station.
Dirty cash and crypto: how the booming cryptocurrency market is open to exploitation – 15 January 2022
Austrac, says the criminal use of cryptocurrency is no longer confined to online scammers like Evan Leslie McMahon who used faked Paypal accounts to store money. Now criminals are trying to deposit criminal proceeds through a digital currency exchange provider and send money to a counterpart offshore using cryptocurrency itself.
North Korean hackers stole $550m worth of cryptocurrency in 2021, report say – 15 January 2022
North Korea is described as the country “that supports cryptocurrency-enabled crime on a massive scale”. It launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms in 2021, extracting nearly $US400 million ($550 million) worth of digital assets, one of its most successful years on record. The United Nations has accused Pyongyang of using stolen funds to support its nuclear and ballistic missile programs to circumvent sanctions.
‘Do not rely on social media ads’: ASIC warns Australians with self-managed super funds that cryptocurrency scams are on the move – 17 January 2022
The financial market watchdog has issued a clear warning about cryptocurrency scams impacting self-managed super funds, as fraudsters continue to target older Australians and their retirement savings. In December, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission declared losses of up to $109 million.
Market expected to expand with a CAGR of 8.3% over the forecast period from 2017 to 2025 – 17 January 2022
One of the popular methods of crime detection is the use of forensics technology. The rising influence of forensic technologies in various crime investigation scenarios will present an array of opportunities for the forensic technologies market during the forecast period of 2017-2025. Transparency Market Research’s (TMR’s) report on the forensic technologies market has every component that will assist the stakeholder in understanding the current scenario. The link is in the article.
European Union: Exposing The Truth: What The EU Whistleblower Directive Means For Global Business – 18 January 2022
The global pandemic has heightened issues around whistleblowing like never before. On December 17, there was the implementation of the EU’s new whistleblowing directive that was due to be adopted into national laws by different EU states, but as a consequence further issues and challenges have come about.
How to avoid ATO crackdown on SMSF early withdrawal scam – 19 January 2022
The ATO will be looking out for self-managed super funds (SMSFs) that lodge late returns in its crackdown on unlawful early withdrawal of savings, according to scheme specialists. Paul Rafton, superannuation national leader for BDO Australia, an accounting, tax and consulting group, says late lodgement is one of the ATO’s triggers for launching an investigation.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
Australia, UK to jointly target state-based actors and ransomware groups – 20 January 2022
Australia and the United Kingdom have signed a pact to crack down on state-based actors, ransomware groups and other “malign actors” that use cyber attacks to “undermine freedom and democracy”. The two countries also intend to “strengthen the resilience and response capabilities of countries in the Indo-Pacific region to malicious cyber activity via joint capacity building activity”.
New York attorney-general says Donald Trump’s company misled banks, tax officials – 20 January 2022
Former US president Donald Trump’s company has misrepresented the value of its assets by millions of dollars to get loans, insurance and tax breaks, according to documents filed by the New York attorney-general.
Financial crime in 2021: Year in review – 20 January 2022
The past 12 months have been eventful in the world of financial crime. From policy reforms to the Pandora Papers to pandemic fraud, compliance professionals, law enforcement and legislators have had plenty to chew on. This article summarises ten of the most important events of 2021, with a view to what we can expect in the coming year.
Investment and romance scams soar as Australians lose record $323 million in 2021 – 20 January 2022
Australians unwittingly handed over a record $323.7 million to scammers in 2021, leaping 84 per cent compared to 2020, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch. There were 286,608 reports made to Scamwatch in 2021, up 32 per cent on the year before. cammers continued to leverage the global pandemic, state-wide lockdowns and remote working.
11 stories this week:
Aussie crypto ‘fraud’ diverted ICO funds to African gold miners – 7 January 2022
Australian cryptocurrency entrepreneur Craig Sproule has been charged by the US corporate watchdog for defrauding investors by diverting millions from a digital coin offering to South African gold mining investments. Mr Sproule and two companies he founded – Crowd Machine Inc and Metavine Inc – have been charged with making materially false and misleading statements when selling digital asset securities
Record Amount Stolen By Crypto Scams in 2021 – 7 January 2022
Crypto-correlated crime reached a distressing new record in 2021. With an increase of around 80% from the previous year, scammers managed to abscond with a record $14 billion in cryptocurrency last year. Record Amount Stolen By Crypto Scams in 2021 (ibtimes.com.au)
Bill Papas’ cousin defends $720,000 in payments from alleged fraudster – 7 January 2022
The cousin of alleged fraudster Bill Papas has defended receiving $720,000 from the colourful soccer identity’s share trading account in breach of freezing orders, saying the transfers were to pay legal fees and loan repayments.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
Know How Identity Theft Protection Services Industry May Double Its Market Size in Years to Come – 8 January 2022
The global Identity Theft Protection Services market report is a comprehensive study that encompasses top manufacturers, prospective market share, revenue, purchaser volume with respect to explaining the volume and global segmentation of the Identity Theft Protection Services industry. Access the report and find out more via this link.
Ousted James Hardie boss ‘blindsided’ by sacking – 10 January 2022
Ousted James Hardie chief executive Jack Truong states he was “blindsided” by his sacking last week following an investigation into claims of bullying, allegations he says he “unequivocally” rejects.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
The ‘rug pull’: crypto investors lose $4b in new scam – 11 January 2022
Cryptocurrency investors lost almost $US3 billion ($4.2 billion) last year in an emerging scam known as the “rug pull”, where fraudsters lure investors into dodgy digital coins and run off with the proceeds.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
After being convicted of fraud and conspiracy, Paul Manafort signs a deal for a book called “political prisoner.” – 10 January 2022
Paul Manafort the former chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign, was convicted of tax fraud and conspiracy charges and sentenced to seven years in prison. He is now writing a new memoir in which he calls himself a “political prisoner”.
Fresh development in alleged bitcoin conman Peter Foster’s case – 11 January 2022
Mr Foster is charged with multiple counts of fraud relating to an alleged multimillion dollar bitcoin scam. It is alleged he induced a man known as Konstantinos Stylianopolous to deliver digital currency and US currency bank credits, to a company known as Sports Predictions Trading. He has been charged with five counts of fraud, two counts of obtaining and dealing with identification information and one count of using a false record.
Australian Woman’s Fight to Prove Singapore Fraud – 12 January 2022
For six years, an Australian woman named Julie O’Connor has made many efforts to raise claims of fraud and what she calls a cover-up by powerful people over the acquisition of the Singapore and Vietnam assets of an Australia-based firm, Strategic Marine Pty Ltd. O’Connor says she has been vilified on social media and that her photographs have been doctored into news articles, which falsely showed her family members as being convicted paedophiles.
Telstra Teams up With Aussie Banks To Block SIM Swaps and Porting Fraud – 13 January 2022
SIM swaps and porting fraud are on the rise, so, to counter this trend, Telstra is teaming up with Australian banks to try and block this precursor to identity theft and serious financial crime.
John Hempton vows to target Australian frauds – 13 January 2022
John Hempton (co-owner and CIO of Bronte Capital Management Pty Ltd) believes Australia’s defamation laws – paired with an increase in investing activity by retail punters cashed-up with superannuation, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s new habit of intimidating “completely honest short-sellers” – has resulted in an easy environment for “scammers” to sell “garbage” to mum and dad investors.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)