14 stories this week:
Why the AFP and ASIC are still using tech from a group under investigation – 26 February 2023
At the time of Nuix’s public float in late 2020, the $1.8 billion investigative software group claimed the globe’s corporate cops could not live without its data forensics tools. Now, Australian regulators – which have been using Nuix’s own programs to pursue the embattled tech group and its former executives for alleged breaches of companies laws – need to find out if this is true.
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Push for inquiry into consulting firms after PwC tax leaks – 27 February 2023
The Greens will push for a Senate inquiry into the way the federal government uses consultants. This is due to concerns about the PwC tax leaks scandal and the big four consulting firm’s inability to explain why it buried a damning report, into the unlawful robo-debt scheme.
‘Illegal’ strip searches of children among claims made by Queensland watch-house whistleblower – 27 February 2023
In a damning submission to the state’s youth crime bill, Brisbane watch-house officer Steven Marshall detailed what he described as “human rights breaches” that he witnessed at Brisbane Watch House during 2018 and 2019. He warns a new proposal by the Palaszczuk government to make breach of bail an offence for children could result in further chaos at watch houses, due to increase numbers. Queensland police have been contacted for comment.
Calls for national body to protect whistleblowers – 27 February 2023
A parliamentary inquiry is examining whistleblower protection reform, set to be implemented ahead of the start of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. Senior lawyer for the Human Rights Law Centre Kieran Pender said while other countries had set up broader bodies to oversee whistleblower protections, Australia was yet to establish a similar organisation.
Melbourne man accused of demanding crypto in bushfire threat – 28 February 2023
Cybercrime detectives have charged a Melbourne man after he allegedly threatened to start a bushfire if $5 million in cryptocurrency was not transferred within three days. The man was later arrested and charged with extortion with threat to endanger life and threat to destroy or damage property.
Australians urged to beware of new PayID impersonation scam – 28 February 2023
National Australia Bank (NAB) urged people who sell unwanted or used items online to watch out for a new PayID impersonation scam. Sammers will buy items using PayID but then claim that the transaction couldn’t be completed because the seller doesn’t have a PayID business account. Scammers will claim they’ve sent extra money to upgrade the account, send a fake email, and pressure the seller to reimburse them. But no money will ever appear in the seller’s account.
Surveillance tech Auror under lens after Greens Senator calls for “urgent review” – 28 February 2023
Greens Senator David Shoebridge has called for Parliament to urgently review the widespread use of retail surveillance technology. He believes an urgent review and regulation of crime intelligence platforms are required to safeguard the public against invasions of privacy and exploitation.
Ex-MAFS star charged over alleged boiler room scam makes surprising court request – 28 February 2023
Mr Daniel Webb, who rose to fame as one of the grooms of the popular reality show MAFS, is alleged to have pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars dispersed by one of the companies linked to the cold-call scam syndicate. Police allege the boiler room scam, which included multiple people other than Mr Webb, would cold call victims and offer investments in products that did not exist and duped more than $20m from hundreds of victims.
Experts call for urgent whistleblower protections for migrant workers who report exploitation – 28 February 2023
Migrant workers generally endure exploitation in silence for fear of jeopardising their visa or ability to stay in Australia. Organisations and unions across Australia are calling for urgent whistleblower protections for migrant workers.
Australian watchdog sues coal miner TerraCom over whistleblower violations – 1 March 2023
ASIC has filed a lawsuit against coal miner TerraCom Ltd (TER.AX) alleging it breached whistleblower protections, after a former employee claimed it had falsified the quality of its coal for export. (ASIC) has been investigating TerraCom over allegations of inflated coal quality in export documentation, since claims were first aired in early 2020, as part of an unfair dismissal case.
Former public servant avoids jail over JobSeeker fraud, magistrate accepts man was ‘driven by need, not greed’ – 1 March 2023
A former Commonwealth public servant will not spend time in jail for establishing a fictional Centrelink account in order to receive JobSeeker payments, later paid into his teenage son’s bank account. He was sentenced to six months in jail but was released on an 18-month good behaviour order and 60 hours of community service
SAPOL steals the win at 2023 Australian Fraud Awards – 1 March 2023
A South Australia Police (SAPOL) initiative titled ‘Operation Measure’ which targets retail shop theft has been recognised with a national award winning the Best Retailer and Policing Collaboration Award at the 2023 Australian Fraud Awards on 9 February 2023.
ASIC Bans Property Fundraiser over Fraud Convictions – 2 March 2023
ASIC has permanently banned Sean Colville Niven, of Perth, Western Australia, from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities. Mr Niven was convicted in the Perth Magistrates Court for two offences contrary to the Bankruptcy Act. Namely, making a declaration that he knew to be false, and for disposing of property intending to defraud creditors.
Andrew Wilkie demands NSW Police launch investigation after Hillsong podcast – 3 March 2023
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie says NSW police must “act today” after a new podcast raised serious allegations about a Hillsong institution. News Corp Australia’s new podcast ‘Faith on Trial’ contains allegations from five different women that young, female students at the college were taught to physically “submit” to their husbands. Mr Wilkie said the allegations were nothing short of “shocking” and demanded immediate action.