News and Analysis

The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator.   Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.



Almost $1 million paid to scammers since July, says ATO – 15 November 2018

Australians have reported more than 28,000 ‘scam’ attempts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), since July 1, and paid almost $1 million to scammers. The ATO said payments through Bitcoin ATMs had overtaken iTunes vouchers as the most common method of scam payments.

Zero or 261,987. How many times did Westpac breach responsible lending laws? – 14 November 2018

Article outlines how ASIC and Westpac can’t agree on exactly which loans between Dec 2011 and March 2015 contravened the law, nor even concur on exactly what the law actually required.  Also if charged, will the penalty be similar to the Commonwealth Bank’s $700 million money-laundering fine, instead of the the $35 million settlement Westpac has requested?

Perth financial adviser banned by ASIC after stealing conviction – 14 November 2018

A Perth financial adviser will never be able to provide financial services or engage in credit activities in Australia again after he was convicted of stealing more than $100,000 from clients superannuation accounts. ASIC may ban anyone convicted of fraud under the Corporations Act 2001 and National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.

An official Google account on Twitter was hacked by cryptocurrency scammers trying to convince people to send them bitcoin – 14 November 2018

The official Twitter account for Google’s G Suite was the latest to fall victim to a cryptocurrency giveaway scam on Twitter. The post has since been deleted, and spokespeople from Google and Twitter say the companies are working together to investigate the hack of the G Suite account.

Attackers breach Statcounter, target cryptocurrency site – 7 November 2018

Malicious attackers breached Web analytics platform Statcounter on 3 November and inserted JavaScript that would target the cryptocurrency exchange The inserted code had the effect of creating a Web page that would transfer bitcoin to an external bitcoin address. was a popular exchange, with millions of dollars, including US$1.6 million in bitcoin, being transacted every day.,-target-cryptocurrency-site.html

Fraud probe into invoice paid by ACT public housing taskforce – 7 November 2018

Police have spent 12 months investigating a mysterious fraud committed on the ACT public housing taskforce. It seems the fraud was allowed to happen by staff failing to verify a contractors’ bank account details.  It also triggered an internal review of the taskforce’s management of ‘accounts payable’ functions.

Banking royal commission publishes a decade of banking’s dirty laundry – 7 November 2018

A decade of banking’s dirtiest laundry has been aired after the Hayne royal commission published summaries of misconduct stretching back 10 years, revealing disturbing new incidents of fraud, overcharging, theft, privacy breaches, assault and sexual harassment. Details of misconduct by major banks also detailed in report.

Chinese authorities use ‘gait’ surveillance to identify people by their body shape and walk – 6 November 2018

Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool called “gait recognition” software. It uses people’s body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras. China’s artificial intelligence and data-driven surveillance technology is raising concerns about how far the technology will go.

Corporate wrongdoers are let off the hook under Trump – 4 November 2018

In the final months of the Obama administration, US giant Walmart had to pay nearly $US1 billion and accept a guilty plea to resolve a foreign bribery investigation. Barclays, faced demands that it pay nearly $US7 billion to settle civil claims, and the Royal Bank of Scotland was under a criminal investigation. However under the Trump administration, softer rules applied and these US corporate giants are getting off with significantly minor penalties & charges.

Surveillance state: NSW intensifies citizen tracking – 4 November 2018

NSW police and crime agencies are preparing to use a new national facial recognition system, to rapidly match pictures of people captured on CCTV with their driver’s licence photo. Under new laws the federal and state governments will be able to access data and photos from passports, driver licences, and visas for a national facial recognition system called the “National Facial Biometric Matching Capability”.

ASIC seizes assets of an investment firm that has raised millions and is being sued for fraud in the US – 2 November 2018

ASIC has obtained a court order to freeze the assets of Goldsky Asset Management and its founder, Ken Grace.The regulator alleges that Grace operated an unlicensed financial services company which raised $16 million from over 50 investors. ASIC then alleged that investor funds were used for Grace’s personal use, “including substantial payments to family members and the purchase of personal items”.

Economist slams bitcoin as ‘mother of all scams’ – 16 October 2018

An economist has slammed bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as “the mother of all scams”. Bitcoin has lost about two thirds of its value since peaking at $US20,000 in December, with the digital currency hovering around $US6000 for most of 2018. Many people scammed into thinking they were going to make money now part of a potential financial crisis.

New Zealand tops list of most-scammed countries – Microsoft – 16 October 2018

New Zealanders are the most likely people in the world to have experienced a tech support scam, according to a new study from Microsoft. Young male New Zealanders are especially susceptible to losing money from tech support scams, thanks to a tendency towards risky behaviour and overconfidence in their technical abilities.

Prison escapee John Killick in court over fraud related to rug and chess set – 11 October 2018

John Killick, the 76-year-old, who escaped from Silverwater jail in 1999 and was released on parole more than 15 years later, is charged with three offences including knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime. Killick is allegedly the sixth member of a fraud syndicate who fraudulently obtained loans to finance high-end household items and withdraw more than $250,000 cash hidden in a Sydney bank vault.

Man who sold bank accounts to Russian hackers sentenced – 11 October 2018

A California man who says he unwittingly helped Russia conduct a disinformation campaign on social media, before the 2016 US presidential election, has been sentenced to six months in prison and another six months of home confinement, after pleading guilty to a single count of identity fraud earlier this year. He admitted  to sell bank account numbers so his clients could circumvent security features on electronic payment services including PayPal. Since then, he’s been cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the election and has turned over business records and testified before a grand jury.

South Africa should seek damages from KPMG over bank graft: central bank probe – 10 October 2018

South Africa should seek damages from global auditor KPMG for the role it played in a corruption scandal that saw at least R1.9 billion ($130 million) stolen from local bank VBS, a central bank investigation published on Wednesday said. The probe, carried out by a team of lawyers and forensic investigators on behalf of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), is the latest headache for KPMG, which has lost more than a dozen clients as questions have been raised about its ethical conduct in the country.