12 stories this week:


Scammers steal millions from Australians each year, but victims have little recourse – 21 April 2023
A woman who lost thousands to a scam said NAB treated her poorly, while the other bank blocked the scammers. ASIC says, the banking industry has no consistent approach for helping scam victims. Advocates want to make banks liable for scam losses, but the industry has rejected this.


Alexander Maconochie Centre detainees under investigation over alleged fraudulent transactions – 21 April 2023
Police are investigating allegations detainees at Canberra’s jail were able to defraud a man of thousands of dollars while incarcerated. ACT Corrective Services told the victim, it’s a “known issue” within Canberra’s jail.


Heidi Barrat avoids jail after pleading guilty to mouse plague relief rebate fraud – 24 April 2023
A woman who fraudulently claimed $60,000 in mouse plague relief funds to fuel her gambling addiction has avoided jail time. She applied for the fund 120 times, using different bank accounts and email addresses for each claim. She has been sentenced to a two-year intensive corrections order, 300 hours of community service and must repay the funds.


Unsuspecting unis caught up in foreign research ‘fraud’ – 26 April 2023
Identity theft, plagiarism, fake journals, pseudo editors: the academic publishing world is rife with misbehavior. An activist in the research misconduct and fraud space for many years says that misbehaviour in academic publishing was being driven by predatory publishers, that made money from academics paying to have their paper included in journals, and the fact that promotions are usually based on, among other things, the number of papers an academic has had published.


IOUpay goes broke after $19m suspected Malaysian fraud – 26 April 2023
Payments minnow IOUpay has been placed into administration after a $19 million suspected fraud involving a Malaysian executive and a persistent legal battle drained its finances. Former chief financial officer Kenneth Kuan Choon Hsuing allegedly used the IOUpay treasury to make about $7 million of loans to businesses connected to himself, his wife and other former employees.


Gold Coast couple never legally owned home they purchased at auction, court ruling finds – 27 April 2023
In March 2018, a couple purchased a house at a mortgagee auction for $1.265 million and have been living in it. What they didn’t know when they bought the property, was that the owner had alleged the house had been unlawfully mortgaged as security for a loan by a relative, who later defaulted. A handwriting expert gave evidence during the trial that the owners signature had been forged on the loan documents. The court found the couple did not have a legal interest in the home, because they were not able to register the title but were entitled to recover $2,751,666.32 from the mortgagees who sold the house for breach of contract.


Crown Casino’s bank cheque practice likely ‘resulted in criminal infiltration’, gambling watchdog finds – 27 April 2023
Crown Casino has been fined $30 million by Victoria’s gambling watchdog for allowing punters to cash bank cheques made out to themselves, exacerbating gambling harm and likely aiding “criminal infiltration by money launderers”. The commission estimates more than $1.5 billion worth of cheques could have been involved in the practice between 1994 and 2021.


Steve Bannon associate sentenced to jail for fraud over Donald Trump’s border wall – 28 April 2023
US Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, an ex-associate of Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, has been sentenced to more than four years in prison, after admitting to conspiring to defraud donors to a campaign to build a wall along the US-Mexican border promised by the former president. The court heard Kolfage took more than $530,000 and spent it on boat payments, jewellery and cosmetic surgery.


New funding to crack down on NDIS fraud syndicates – 28 April 2023
Syndicates ripping off the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be targeted in a fraud crackdown. Some of the syndicates have targeted people with false information on how the NDIS operates, some using the promise of cash or vouchers. The 50 million in funding will ensure the agency has the capability to address fraud and non-compliance.