19 stories this week:


ANZ dragged to court after cleaners and real estate agents helped write $18.5b in home loans – 26 November 2021
ASIC is suing ANZ in relation to 74 loans that may have breached the National Credit Act. The loans were referred to the bank by “introducers” – third-parties who were paid commissions for sending customers ANZ’s way. The banking royal commission heard evidence that some large-scale introducers were tailors or gym owners. ANZ dragged to court after cleaners and real estate agents helped write $18.5b in home loans – Bing


Federal government announces regulatory changes to combat scam text messages – 29 November 2021
Australians have lost $87 million to scams this year. Telecommunications companies will soon be able to block scam text messages from being sent in the first place, thanks to regulatory changes by the government.


New DNA testing technology helps AFP predict criminal profiles – 5 December 2021
A new technology that opens a new world of forensic DNA testing for criminal investigation is being used by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). It is known as Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) and can provide predictions for visual traits of criminals from the DNA they leave at a crime scene, allowing investigators to predict gender, biogeographical ancestry, eye colour and, in coming months, hair colour.


‘Stolen laptop’: Liquidators of collapsed Melbourne crypto company pursue bitcoin millions – 5 December 2021
Administrators of the failed cryptocurrency company “Blockchain Global Limited”, which is based in Melbourne are pursuing millions in missing bitcoin claimed to be sitting on a stolen laptop overseas. The case has highlighted the challenge of tracking down money tucked away in the murky financial world of cryptocurrency, particularly when companies go under and creditors want their money back.


Tax Office could be given phone bugging powers – 6 December 2021
The Australian Taxation Office and AUSTRAC could be handed sweeping new surveillance powers, including the right to bug people’s phones and online communications, as part of an overhaul of telecommunications intercept laws.


(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)

Australia moves to sanction human rights abusers and cyber criminals – 6 December 2021
Legislation to establish ‘Magnitsky-style’ laws passed through parliament on the last sitting day of the year will have the effect of blocking human rights abusers and cyber criminals from travelling to Australia, along with other sanctions powers. The reforms have been introduced to prevent Australia from becoming an ‘isolated, attractive safe haven’ for criminals and their associated businesses for illegal gains.


Serial conman Peter Foster arrested in Victoria after failing to appear at Sydney court hearing six months earlier – 7 December 2021
Serial conman Peter Foster was arrested in the Macedon Ranges six months after failing to appear before a court in Sydney on multiple fraud charges. He was given fugitive status in May this year and is now expected to be extradited to Queensland.


Aussies charged in global laundering sting – 7 December 2021
Eighteen Australians are facing criminal charges after a global money-laundering sting, stopped $2.6 million in “dirty cash” flowing through the nation’s financial institutions. The Australian Federal Police operation identified 27 alleged money mules. More than 1800 people were arrested globally.


New Electronic Surveillance Framework To Govern How Data Can Be Accessed in Australia – 7 December 2021
A new ‘modernised and streamlined electronic surveillance legislative framework’ is set to be in place by 2023. The objective is to develop a new single Act that: better protects individuals’ information and data, including by reflecting what it means to communicate in the 21st century.


Collaery prosecution to enter fourth year – 8 December 2021
The prosecution of whistleblower Bernard Collaery has been pushed back to February 2022, ensuring the case enters its fourth year with no trial date set. Mr Collaery is accused of unlawfully sharing classified information about the alleged bugging operation of the East Timor prime minister by Australian officials in 2004. Once again case highlights the need for whistleblower reforms instead of prosecution of whistleblowers.


Cryptocurrency scams targeting Australians as scammers bank more than $100 million – 9 December 2021
Australian Federal Police say cryptocurrency scams have “exploded” during the pandemic, with new figures from the Australian consumer watchdog showing a 172 per cent increase in losses between January and November this year, totalling $109 million. The article tells the story of three victims of cryptocurrency scams. Cryptocurrency scams targeting Australians as scammers bank more than $100 million – ABC News


ACCC whistleblower vindicated, goes public – but remains persona non grata – 9 December 2021
Three years ago an anonymous Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) official was marched out of his office – and later threatened with criminal action – after internal emails became public via a television exposé on the Takata airbag scandal. Article questions what to do when we punish a whistleblower who turns out to be right?


Woman who stole $940,000 from vet to gamble online jailed for six years – 9 December 2021
Rachel Naomi Perri stole $940,000 from her employer and used the money for online gambling. The court heard that her crimes were only discovered after a restructure led to her position as practice manager at Tasmanian Veterinary Hospital, became redundant.


AUSTRAC and Services Australia partner up to target emergency and disaster payments fraud – 9 December 2021
A new financial crime guide will help financial services businesses detect and report suspicious transactions, indicative of fraud and misuse of emergency and disaster payments administered through Services Australia.


NatWest Fined $348.5M for AML Breach After Calling Out Crypto Fraud – 14 December 2021
NatWest has been fined $348.5 million over a case of fraud where a business customer deposited large sums of money without checks. This is the first time that the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority has conducted a criminal prosecution against a financial institution in the U.K.


Australian Deputy Prime Minister Questions Assange Extradition Ruling – 14 December 2021
Barnaby Joyce believes there are no reasons for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition, since the whistleblower, an Australian national, did not breach any Australian laws and was not in the US when leaked data was published, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister.


Fraud arrest, Brisbane – 15 December 2021
A man is being charged with four counts of fraud following investigations into alleged fraudulent activity relating to election funding. Police will allege the man, a financial administrator for a political party, submitted fraudulent documentation relating to a 2020 election funding application for $24,000.


NSW man accused of trying defraud COVID-19 business relief scheme of more than half a million dollars – 17 December 2021
Strike Force Sainsbery was set up in November to investigate fraudulent applications made against the micro-business grant program. A Warialda Rail man has been charged with 51 offences, including obtaining financial advantage by deception and is accused of making fraudulent applications worth $530,000.


Online credit card fraud on the rise leading up to holiday season – 17 December 2021
Research indicates a significant increase in credit card fraud leading up to the holidays. The new data from AusPayNet shows a 9.2% rise in fraud on payment card transactions in the 12 months to 30 June 2021 (FY21) alongside increased online spending during COVID-19 lockdowns. Overall, the total spending on cards rose 5.4% to $847.3 billion during this same period, with the fraud rate being 57.8 cents per AUD$1,000 spent.