19 stories this week:
Elon Musk defends Twitter use in Tesla investors’ class action lawsuit over ‘funding secured’ tweet – 21 January 2023
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has testified that investors do not always react to his Twitter messages as he expects, defending himself in a fraud trial over his 2018 tweet, that indicated he had secured funding to take the company private, something which did not end up taking place. Shareholders alleged that Mr Musk lied when he sent the tweet, costing investors millions. A jury of six men and three women will decide whether the tweet artificially inflated Tesla’s share price by playing up the status of funding for the deal, and if so, by how much.
Convicted Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes is a flight risk, US prosecutors say – 21 January 2023
Prosecutors say Elizabeth Holmes is a flight risk and shouldn’t be allowed to stay out of prison while she appeals her 11-year prison sentence for defrauding investors. She had purchased one-way plane ticket to Mexico three weeks after being convicted for fraud.
Government’s warning over ‘insidious’ scam targeting social media users – 23 January 2023
Australians are being urged to be on guard against an emerging social media scam that involves fraudsters impersonating staff from the Australian Tax Office. The phoney accounts send replies or direct messages offering to resolve the taxpayer’s issue. The scammer then tries to get the member of the public to click on a link in an attempt to access their money or private information.
Corporate Australia’s dirty hidden secret – 23 January 2023
Business crime may be endemic across big companies, and law enforcement is doing little to stop it.
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Financial Planner Bradley Grimm Pleads Guilty to Fraud – 25 January 2023
Mr Bradley Grimm, a former Melbourne financial planner, pleaded guilty to three counts of engaging in dishonest conduct whilst running a financial services business. At the time of the offending, each breach of s1041G(1) of the Corporations Act carried a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Australia Warden Allegedly Steals from Inmates to Gamble, Could Land in Prison – 25 January 2023
Brenton Williams, a former general manager of a correctional facility in Adelaide, allegedly stole more than $100,000 from prisoners and then gambled it. The money is part of the funds inmates have to turn in when they report to the facility.
Surge in online ‘sextortion scams over school holiday period – 29 January 2023
The ÁFP have warned there has been a surge in online financial ‘sextortion’ targeting young Australians over the school holiday period. Statistics from the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation show overseas offenders were primarily targeting teenage boys, who make up 90 per cent of victim reports.
Bankman-Fried denies witness tampering claim – 29 January 2023
What to know about Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s embattled founder
Bankman-Fried, 30, has been free on $US250 million ($A352 million) bond since pleading not guilty to charges of fraud in the looting of billions of dollars from the now-bankrupt FTX. His lawyer insisted his client did not seek to influence a witness in the US government’s fraud case against him, accusing prosecutors of trying to portray him “in the worst possible light”.
Whistleblowing reform needs to be comprehensive – 30 January 2023
The Human Rights Law Centre, Griffith University’s Centre for Governance & Public Policy and Transparency International Australia have called for a comprehensive reform process to ensure stronger protections for Australian whistleblowers. The organisations welcomed the Government’s first, largely-technical phase of reform to the Public Interest Disclosure Act, which protects federal public servant whistleblowers, however the group expressed concern about the risks of a piecemeal approach to improving whistleblower protections.
Bunbury bookkeeper Kathleen Griffiths pleads guilty to stealing from local businesses – 30 January 2023
Kathleen Margaret Griffiths, a Bunbury bookkeeper pleads guilty to 16 charges of stealing $750,000 from two businesses over a decade. She used several tactics to conceal her offending. The affected business owners were placed under financial stress as a result.
Adam thought he was starting a new job, until he lost $28,000. What are recruitment scams and how are they targeting job seekers? – 30 January 2023
Scammers are pretending to be hiring on behalf of high-profile companies and online shopping platforms and impersonate well-known recruitment agencies. The scammer contacts you by email, letter or phone and offers you a job that requires very little effort for high returns, or a guaranteed way to make money quickly.
Hackers abuse legitimate remote monitoring and management tools in attacks – 30 January 2023
Security researchers warn that an increasing number of attackers are using legitimate remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools (ie.threat actors) in their attacks to achieve remote access and control over systems. These tools are commonly used by managed service providers (MSPs) and IT help desks so their presence on an organisation’s network and systems might not raise suspicion.
State government ready to make any changes recommended by review into Adelaide Casino – 31 January 2023
Former Supreme Court judge Brian Martin KC has been investigating the Adelaide SkyCity’s casino operator since July and will report to Liquor and Gambling Commissioner. It followed an 18-month investigation, with AUSTRAC alleging systemic failures in how SkyCity handled anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
William Knoll’s scammers made it sound like they were on his side – 31 January 2023
According to the consumer watchdog, the ACCC, there were more than 200,000 scams reported last year, costing Australians more than $568 million. 17 years old William Knoll, lost $5,000 when he was told scammers were accessing his money, but they were in fact the scammers! Mr Knoll said the person on the other end of the line sounded knowledgeable – and legitimate.
Whistleblowers need their own agency, says Jeff Morris – 1 February 2023
When working for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Jeff Morris blew the whistle on “unbelievable practices” going on in the financial planning division. He says that protections for those who expose corruption are deficient, saying ‘it will ruin your life and we absolutely need fundamental whistleblower reforms’.
After a decade of decline, Australia is back on the rise in a global anti-corruption ranking – 1 February 2023
Australia ranked 13th out of 180 countries in the Transparency International’s annual Global Corruption Perceptions Index. This is up from a low of 18th last year. The index ranks countries on their perceived levels of public sector corruption – the higher the score, the less perceived corruption. Ranking 13th out of 180 is pretty good, but we have done better and the public expects better.
Adani pulls off $3.6b share sale despite fraud allegations – 1 February 2023
Indian energy giant Adani has survived its first major test following serious bullying, fraud & criminal allegations raised last month by US short-seller Hindenburg Research. Australian industry players, view the Hindenburg report as a “sophisticated activist hit job” that would not affect the Australian operations.
Ubank hacking: Man has $20k drained from bank account after details leaked by Optus, Medibank – 2 February 2023
A Brisbane man has had all his savings and his entire salary for January cleaned out of his account – leaving him with no money to pay off his car loan or credit card. He was caught up in both the Optus and Medibank identity theft hacking scandals – which saw millions of customers affected.
AFP money-laundering bust highlights Australia’s gaping real estate vulnerability – 3 February 2023
This week federal police arrested nine people and seized millions of dollars’ worth of Sydney homes, cryptocurrency and luxury items, crushing a syndicate it is alleging offered money laundering at an “industrial scale”. The AFP allege the syndicate acted as an unregulated multi-national bank, drawing on cash reserves in multiple countries around the world and facilitating transactions for criminal clients.
NT whistleblower provisions under review – 19 January 2023
The Northern Territory’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption is to conduct a review of the region’s public sector whistleblower provisions amid concerns people are not reporting wrongdoing for fear of retaliation.