News and Analysis
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Allegations the Department of Planning sacked or abolished the jobs of four whistleblowers are set to be investigated, following the announcement of a review to be conducted a former deputy public service commissioner.
A Melbourne man has avoided jail after defrauding a guide dogs charity of more than $200,000, so he could renovate his home and install a pool. He submitted false invoices to Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV), where he was a general manager, and misused the organisation’s corporate credit and fuel cards.
Councils, schools, regulatory authorities and businesses have been targeted in the south-west by scammers. Emails are hacked and cloned, usually with an invoice for payment sent out that appeared legitimate, but BSB and banking account details had usually been altered to a different account.
Macquarie Group is circulating a memo warning about potential fraud, involving leasing brokers and their clients in retail banking, in relation to vehicle leasing. The bank also circulated a list of signs that brokers should use to detect inaccurate, or fraudulent, applications.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has issued a warning to consumers over scammers pretending to be from ASIC – 18 December 2018
ASIC has alerted Australians to be aware of scammers, impersonating ASIC representatives in connection with an overseas trading platform across stocks, foreign exchange, cryptocurrencies and indices markets. ASIC labelled investment scam as the “most lucrative method of fraud” and said consumers should be on high alert.
A great article explaining tax implications of cryptocurrency in tax returns and changes to Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. Includes details about the requirements to register digital currency exchanges with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.
ASIC is seeking court orders to have AMP’s law firm Clayton Utz, hand over documents that have been “withheld,” as part of its investigation into the wealth manage’rs fees-for-no service scandal.
How ‘spying’ on our elderly parents – with their consent – could keep them safer and at home for longer – 7 December 2018
Surveillance technology is raising privacy concerns around Australia but it may also allow older people to stay in their own homes for longer.
A computer genius who built his own “fraud machine” allowed him to change his voice, making it easier to pretend to be genuine bank customers when speaking to the banks over the phone, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Zenik brokers who made nearly $1 billion in home loans for the big four banks and Macquarie Bank, has been found to make fraudulent mortgage applications using fake bank statements and signatures, fictitious jobs and fabricated payslips and letters of employment.
Bitcoin scammers are sending bomb threat emails to millions around the world, but authorities are confirming ‘NO DEVICES have been found’ – 14 December 2018
Extortion emails demanding recipients send $US20,000 in Bitcoin to a particular Bitcoin address, state that failure to send the payment would result in that person’s workplace being blown up by an explosive device.
Tisha Thi Thi Phan who was the operator of an optometry business in south-west Sydney has been jailed for at least three years for defrauding Medicare by more than $4 million. He submitted almost 30,000 claims for more than 49,000 optometry services that were not actually provided to patients.
US President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for a string of offences, including campaign law violations he said he committed at Trump’s direction.
Dashcams, fitness trackers and smartphone cameras changing the game for police investigating serious crimes – 13 December 2018
The public’s insatiable use of technology has evolved into the perfect crime-fighting tool, creating “a web of surveillance”. Police can now check location information from a suspect’s fitness tracker or smartphone to see if they were near a crime scene — even if location services are turned off. The Australian Parliament last week passed new encryption laws, forcing technology companies to allow police access to encrypted messages.
Fraud squad police have raided the home of NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn’s former chief of staff Rosemary Rogers, as part of a bribery investigation sparked by an internal bank whistleblower. Ms Rogers is being investigated as part of a wider probe involving allegedly suspicious payments by executive events firm the Human Group to win contracts from the bank.
Australian executive Peter Gregg faces up to four years in jail after a Sydney court found him guilty of falsifying company records in relation to an allegedly corrupt $15 million payment during his time at construction giant Leighton Holdings.
The board of IOOF faces potential enforcement action from the corporate regulator as investigations continue on breaches of director’s duties to act in the best interest of super members.
Due to ASIC is investigating Freedom’s insurance alleged mis-selling of life insurance products to vulnerable customers, their products and potential breaches of laws, Freedom may face a liquidity shortfall.
US President Donald Trump has called for a “full and complete” sentence for his former lawyer Michael Cohen. Cohen is scheduled to be sentenced on December 12 after pleading guilty on Thursday to tax evasion, making false statements to a bank, campaign finance violations, and lying to the US Congress.
A corporate travel scandal at NAB is reportedly looking at more than $110 million worth of trips – 5 December 2018
Rosemary Rogers, the former chief of staff to three NAB CEOs, has had her bank accounts frozen as part of an ongoing investigation by the NSW Crime Commission, over potential kickbacks from a corporate travel company, The Australian reports it involves up to $113 million worth of company trips.
Three Victorian mortgage brokers involved in a $170 million fraud have been permanently banned from providing financial services, for their role in creating and using false documents to support loan applications worth millions of dollars between 2008 and 2010.
Alleged tax fraud mastermind doesn’t know who owns his house, ‘can’t remember’ business details – 4 December 2018
In Federal court, dozens of witnesses gave evidence that Mr Whiteman controlled five businesses, that helped clients evade $100mil in tax. However Mr Whiteman claims he has Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder and could not remember details.
Celebrities Mayweather and DJ Khaled have both been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to reveal they were being paid to promote initial coin offerings (ICOs) for cryptocurrencies to investors.
Article claims that ASIC would rather pursue Bank misconduct and corresponding law enforcement by “words” rather than prosecute or issue fines. The regulators arrange for the banks to: (1) recognise ASIC’s concerns without admitting wrongdoing; (2) accept a remediation process; and (3) make a tax deductible “Community Benefit Payment”.
In China, more than 200 manufacturers, including Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi and US-listed electric vehicle start-up NIO, transmit position information and dozens of other data points to government-backed monitoring centres on car owners. The Chinese government’s ability to grab data as it flows from cars, gives its academics and policymakers an edge over competing nations but raises privacy concerns.
ASIC is investigating sixty bankers over home loan fraud involving its ‘introducer’ program. The program pays people outside the bank such as financial planners and accountants for successful lending referrals.The inquiry previously heard several bankers created false documents and accepted cash payments from introducers, while some staff took bribes for fraudulent home loans with the money exchanged in white envelopes.
NSW Department of Planning Secretary Carolyn McNally has referred a whistleblower’s corruption allegations to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. The referral was confirmed by the department on Wednesday as Resources Minister Don Harwin failed to respond to questions in NSW Parliament about planning staff’s role in the secret Ridgelands mining company $5 million community fund, and its reduction to $500,000.
The financial services royal commission has moved on to its second big bank CEO, Brian Hartzer of Westpac. He was questioned about car loan fraud and Westpac continuing to automatically increase credit card spending limits despite advice from ASIC.
There are calls for new regulations to protect workplace whistleblowers, after research found the vast majority of those speaking out face negative repercussions. Research drew on the experiences of 17,778 individuals from 46 separate organisations in Australia and New Zealand and found that of those who reported instances of unethical behaviour in their workplace, 81.6 per cent subsequently faced negative repercussions.
Whistleblower for ASIC says watchdog abandoned him to deal with online harassment alone – 19 November 2018
A former banker who is suffering repeated online attacks on his character and integrity after becoming a witness for ASIC (as part of its investigation of a $65 million property spruiking racket) has warned other people to “run like they’re on fire” if asked to provide evidence on financial scammers. The case has prompted further calls for a national whistleblower protection authority.