News and Analysis
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‘Australia’s largest energy class action’ filed against Queensland power companies accused of driving up prices illegally – 21 January 2021
47,000 Queenslanders have signed up to the Piper Alderman class action. The law firm alleges two of the state’s biggest power companies artificially created a lack of supply to drive up electricity prices.
The chair of Australia’s corporate regulator has been cleared of misconduct after an expenses investigation, but will still resign. James Shipton went on paid leave after standing down when it was revealed taxpayers paid for his personal tax advice.
Police believe Melissa Caddick still alive as investigation into her disappearance continues – 19 January 2021
Investigators believe Sydney woman Melissa Caddick is still alive, more than two months after she vanished from her eastern suburbs home without a trace. ASIC is currently running an investigation into potential Superannuation fraud.
A cryptocurrency trader in Australia is seeking $250,000 AUD in compensation from two banks claiming he was the victim of unlawful discrimination when his accounts were closed with little warning. Westpac reportedly told Flynn his account was closed because it was “under investigation for cryptocurrency fraud”.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has confirmed it is still working with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to crack down on early release of super scams which cost Australians over $6 million. Scamwatch said it received over 5170 scam reports mentioning COVID-19 with over $6.28 million in reported losses since the outbreak of the pandemic.
A former IOOF executive has alleged the financial services giant fired her because she attempted to exercise her workplace rights
A new cryptocurrency giveaway scam uses verified accounts and Elon Musk’s personality to trick users into giving up their bitcoin.
Scammers purporting to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are trying to steal Aussies’ bank details once again. The firm intercepted an email that looks like it’s from the ATO, and advises taxpayers their tax refund is ready for collection – all they need to do is “click here”. That link takes them to a page that looks like the myGov login website. However, the domain doesn’t belong to myGov or the ATO, and is actually a phishing page.
Richard Hogg, a disgraced tax agent sentenced to three years in prison for stealing more than $4 million, is due to be released from Fulham Correctional Centre, whilst his former clients continued to be chased by the ATO for unpaid taxes. The case has highlighted problems with the Proceeds of Crime Act, which empowers the Australian Federal Police to confiscate assets from offenders, but not compensate their victims.
‘Bit Digital’ surpassed $1.3 billion in market capitalisation on the Nasdaq sharemarket. Security analysts and investors have declared the Chinese-American company a scam, as the assets probably do not exist, and the business is designed to steal funds from investors. The last chairman and CEO are also on the run from police.
IOOF is standing behind its deputy chief investment officer, Stanley Yeo, despite allegations the prominent fund manager groped a female employee’s breasts multiple times, saying a formal investigation found no grounds for his dismissal.
Cybercriminals leveraged the pandemic and launched 122 attacks targeting blockchains in 2020 to steal billions.
A former IOOF executive has accused the wealth manager’s deputy chief investment officer and head of equities Stanley Yeo of sexual harassment, including inappropriate touching on her wedding day, in an unfair dismissal claim.
(Digitial access to SMH required to read article.)
Australia admits $1.5 billion error in investigation into suspected Vatican money laundering – 13 January 2021
Austrac, has admitted that it made an enormous error when it reported to the country’s Senate that $2.3 billion Australian dollars, was transferred from the Vatican to Australia in the six years between 2014 and 2020. The actual figure was $9.5 million .
German authorities accuse Australian man of running DarkMarket, the world’s largest illegal online marketplace – 13 January 2021
An Australian man is accused of operating the biggest illegal marketplace on the darknet. He has been arrested in Germany. All sorts of drugs, forged money, stolen or forged credit cards, anonymous mobile phone SIM cards and malware were among the things offered for sale and more than 140 million euros ($AUD220 million) of cryptocurrency was allegedly exchanged on the site.
Olivia Rose Rodgers, a makeup artist stole more than $65,000 from her former employer (Bupa Health Insurance) to fund her “lavish lifestyle”. She has pleaded guilty to multiple false insurance claims on behalf of family and friends, but she was the sole beneficiary of the money. Lawyer says Rodgers had ‘undiagnosed’ psychological condition.
Former Leighton Holdings executive David Savage has been charged over his alleged role in the international Unaoil scandal, which involved bribery of senior officials in oil-producing nations to secure lucrative contracts. The investigation has discovered approximately $US77.6 million in suspicious payments channelled through Monaco-based consultancy Unaoil and other third parties.
Bitcoin exchange owner who helped scam eBay buyers sentenced to 10 years in prison – 11 January 2021
Rossen G. lossifov laundered nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency for several scammers in less than three years. The scammers posed as military, looking to sell their cars on Craigslist and eBay before deployment. They made their profiles look legitimate by stealing images and names from real people in order to convince buyers to pay them first before delivery.
Chatbox scam impersonating Woolworths tricks shoppers into disclosing bank details – 11 January 2021
Consumers are being warned to keep an eye out for a new chatbot scam impersonating Australian supermarket giant Woolworths. The scam acts as an online chat assistant, tricking shoppers into believing they have won a prize such as a Woolworths store credit or gift card.
The State Market Supervision Administration has filed an antitrust investigation into Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd over their “suspected monopolistic practices”. It also fined the company half a million for breaching anti-competition law.
Interesting point of view regarding white collar crimes. Are they just just crims with an education and crims in suits. Author says we should start treating them that way and demand all governments do the same.
The Australian government’s financial intelligence agency said it is reviewing its data, after questions were raised about its report that $1.8 billion was transferred from the Vatican to Australia over six years. Australia’s bishops have also expressed puzzlement and were seeking clarity.
Scammers are sending out fake text messages about the coronavirus vaccine in an attempt to steal bank details. The scam tells recipients they are “eligible to apply for a vaccine” with a link to a bogus NHS website.
Jack Ma’s technology empire, built on the back of his e-commerce Alibaba and its payments spin-off Alipay, is currently feeling the brunt of regulatory intervention by the US and Chinese authorities. Interestingly he has now disappeared from public view.
Qantas has issued a warning about scammers targeting passengers over flight refunds. The callers are asking customers to provide their credit card details, so that their refund for a cancelled flight can be processed.
Sacha Molitoritsz, academic in law, media and ethics at the University of Technology, Sydney and author of ‘Net Privacy” discusses how we can be free in an age of surveillance’
A former mortgage broker has been convicted of multiple counts of falsifying loan applications, after assisting clients in securing home loans using misleading information.
Australian former executive returns from French ‘castle’ to quarantine and a criminal investigation – 4 January 2021
David Savage had made his career and fortune with Leighton (now named CIMIC), becoming one of the firm’s most influential executives. Police suggest that Mr Savage helped conceal and alter company documents, that threatened to reveal Leighton’s corruption in dealings, to secure a nation-building infrastructure project in Iraq.
Coronavirus-related scams are on the rise, with the ACCC warning some scammers are pretending to be contact tracers – 31 December 2020
Contact tracers rely on QR code scan-in technology to locate and isolate potential contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Cybersecurity expert Kate Carruthers, says when it comes to commercial or privately owned QR applications, there is little regulation to prevent data from falling into the wrong hands.
More than $13 million in welfare payments have been recovered and about 650 matters referred for criminal prosecution, under a joint Services Australia and Australian Federal Police (AFP) Taskforce. The Taskforce detects and disrupts criminal activity within the welfare system.