News and Analysis
The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator. Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.
Interesting article about whistleblower laws and and how Australia’s corporate whistleblower framework lags international best practice. It tells how we need people to speak up, so that corporate and tax misconduct can be uncovered early, but that we also need laws in place to protect them when they do.
Hay Shire Council general manager’s corporate credit card use ‘shocks’ colleagues – 15 November 2018
Former Hay Shire Council General manager, Allen Dwyer purchased golf equipment, antiques, toys and groceries and made cash advances using corporate credit card. The audit report criticised “material deficiencies” in the accounting records as a possible breach of the Local Government Act.
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.
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?
Real estate agent Chris Deutrom, who directed money into own accounts, found guilty of fraud – 14 November 2018
Chris Deutrom was found guilty on eight charges of obtaining a benefit by deception. He directed $237,000 in advertising rebates into his personal accounts and remanded in custody ahead of sentencing later this month
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.
Global banking giant UBS, was hit with a long-expected fraud lawsuit by the US accusing it of fuelling the 2008 global financial crisis by deceiving investors, who bought tens of billions of dollars of risky mortgage-backed securities.
Darwin real estate agent Chris Deutrom has admitted in court he “lied” and “panicked” when confronted by Elders management about redirecting $234, 000 In advertising rebates into his personal bank accounts to pay off credit cards and to help build his 3 storey house.
A former Brisbane liquidator has pleaded guilty to embezzling $800,000 from a property development company he’d been appointed to dissolve, after it was wound up following a court application by ASIC.
Cryptocurrency fraudsters are hacking verified Twitter accounts, changing their names to something that resembles prominent business people like Elon Musk (Tesla founder) and promoting tweets for false Bitcoin giveaways.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
A US Treasury Department official has been charged with leaking confidential documents relating to US President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort, the Russian embassy and others to a reporter from digital media company BuzzFeed.
Key conspirators charged in the Plutus tax fraud, allegedly secretly controlled a separate network of recruitment firms and payroll companies, that were wound up. They owed the tax office Pay as you go tax and GST.
Australian internet stores will be stripped of their ability to store consumer credit card numbers on in-house IT systems under a radical payments security overhaul launched by Visa this week that mandates the use of tokens for online transactions.
Corporate fraud is a global scourge costing hundreds of billions per annum.
Paper describes types of Fraud permeating the financial world and what social and economic trends are driving fraudulent activity.
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 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.
A Melbourne man accused of defrauding more than $36 million from the Commonwealth Bank will stand trial. Andrew Cameron has pleaded not guilty to conspiring with others to defraud the CBA by providing false documents and information to secure about 121 home loans.
The CEO of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) has recently disclosed that the thousands of children’s Dollarmite accounts have been fraudulently used by the Bank’s staff members to earn bonuses and achieve the targets.
Construction of Ballarat’s new police forensic hub is underway as the Andrews Labor Government continues its fight against ice and high-harm crime in regional Victoria. The new facility will speed up forensic testing and help police investigate crime faster in Ballarat and Western Victoria.
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.
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 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.