13 stories this week:
Financial Crime Compliance – What About the “Little Guys?” – 19 May 2021
Big-name firms and international financial institutions may survive investigations for alleged regulatory failings and breaches, but most medium and small firms will not, so they need independent expert advice to ensure compliance solutions are tailored to their needs.
Westpac accused of sacking senior executive over whistleblower complaints to CEO – 22 May 2021
Westpac dismissed a senior risk executive (Amanda Ware) just months after chief executive Peter King advised her to seek whistleblower protections. She has now filed a lawsuit claiming unfair dismissal, because she raised a series of concerns about compliance gaps and risk failings with the bank’s top executives.
Whistleblowers shouldn’t face prison for doing the right thing – 23 May 2021
The Human Rights Law Centre has welcomed the findings of a Senate inquiry into press freedom to better protect whistleblowers and public interest journalism in Australia. The final report was published and made 17 recommendations. These included proposed reforms to secrecy and espionage laws that potentially criminalise public interest journalism and a call for long-awaited improvements to federal whistleblower protections.
The country town shopfront behind Chinese labour king’s empire – 23 May 2021
The old shopfront in the tiny south-west Victorian country town of Koroit was an unlikely location for the corporate headquarters of a China-linked labour hire company with earnings of more than $40 million. Mr Shi’s empire came crashing down in 2018 when the Australian Federal Police executed search warrants on several of his properties. The warrants listed Mr Shi as being suspected of 11 criminal offences, including money laundering, tax fraud, secret commissions and breaches of migration laws.
Queensland horse trainer Ben Currie not guilty of fraud over 14 races – 23 May 2021
High-profile Queensland horse trainer Ben Currie has been found not guilty of giving his horses performance-enhancing substances over a two-year period.
Scam victim Victoria Herrera to rebuild her home with a bushfire recovery grant – 23 May 2021
Victoria Herrera’s home burnt to the ground in a bushfire in December 2019. Shortly afterwards, she was conned out of her life savings and insurance money by a man who claimed to be a successful builder from Sydney.
Cryptocurrency policy must catch up – 25 May 2021
Today, 100 million people have a bitcoin wallet. Australia needs a proper regulatory framework to protect consumers and prevent harmful use.
Man arrested over alleged role in $91k puppy scam – 25 May 2021
A man has been arrested over his role in allegedly scamming more than $91,000 from people looking to buy “designer puppies” before laundering the money through cryptocurrency, as part of a multinational crime syndicate.
Former Sydney financial adviser charged over $3.3 million fraud – 26 May 2021
A former Sydney financial adviser is accused of defrauding a dozen people of almost $3.3 million. It is alleged that Gavin Fineff took funds from 12 people meant for shares holdings and diverted them to his own bank account.
Woman allegedly defrauded Macquarie Bank of $1.1 million in loans, insurance – 26 May 2021
Charleen Henegan, is facing serious charges after allegedly receiving almost $1.1 million in fraudulent loans, insurance and brokerage and commission fees from Macquarie Bank. She is accused of committing the offences through a Brisbane car yard business and allegedly forging a tax agent letter, according to court documents.
ASIC investigation leads to 6 years’ jail sentence for former financial adviser – 26 May 2021
Former financial adviser Ross Andrew Hopkins has been sentenced to a maximum six years in prison. Over a period of nearly three years, he misappropriated $2.9 million of his clients’ funds without their knowledge, and used their funds for his own benefit, such as holidays, rent, paying his own credit card debts and repaying personal loans.
‘Charismatic crook’ Foster to surrender – 26 May 2021
Peter Foster was facing 15 fraud charges after allegedly posing as a man called Bill Dawson and extricating 120 Bitcoin from a Hong Kong man in 2019 and 2020. He is planning to hand himself into Queensland Police and plead not guilty to all charges.
ME Bank slapped with criminal charges over redraw clawback – 27 May 2021
ME Bank has been taken to court and criminally charged with false and misleading behaviour and breaches of the Credit Act relating to its disastrous redraw clawback last year after an investigation by ASIC.