19 stories this week:
Maurice Molan avoids conviction for role in $1.8m South West TAFE scandal – 12 September 2023
Maurice Molan. a former TAFE executive who pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office has avoided a conviction for his role in a scandal at an educational facility in south-west Victoria. Mr Molan entered Rebecca Taylor into South West TAFE’s database as being qualified to teach an engineering course, despite not having information to suggest she possessed the minimum certification.
Stopping the scammers who target online jobseekers – 13 September 2023
With more than 100 job applications submitted per second on LinkedIn and other websites, scammers are increasingly targeting jobseekers with fake job opportunities. The scams work in two main ways. You get a job offer with some basic information that sounds very interesting, and then you must give personal details which is then used to steal the jobseeker’s identity, or even to open bank accounts or apply for credit in their name. Another frequent scam is to ask “successful” job applicants to hand over money upfront, with a promise that they’ll be paid back – commonly known as an advance fee scam.
WA businessman Chris Marco pleads not guilty to defrauding nine people out of $36.5 million – 13 September 2023
Chris Marco, a Perth businessman who is accused of defrauding nine investors out of $36.5 million has pleaded not guilty to all 50 charges he is facing and will fight the allegations at trial. The criminal charges relate to allegations he defrauded the nine investors out of the funds between July 2013 and October 2018. ASIC also took civil action in the Federal Court in 2020 to wind up the unregistered investment scheme run by Mr Marco.
ESG investigations discussed in Governance Directions Journal – 14 September 2023
Organisations face pressure to show meaningful progress with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives. With ambitious net zero targets looming large, corporates and senior management are in the spotlight. Accountability and transparency are critical as regulatory scrutiny and public expectations rise. KordaMentha forensic expert, Matthew Flemings stated, “The growing prospect of being subjected to an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investigation is creating fresh challenges for organisations and managers.
Australian Authorities Arrest Three In Alleged Romance Scam – 14 September 2023
Australian police have arrested three individuals on charges related to romance fraud. The suspects, two women and a man, allegedly attracted three victims using a newspaper dating ad, posing as a widowed 50-year-old woman. According to authorities, the victims paid nearly half a million dollars to the alleged fraudsters from June 2022 to February 2023. The romance scams in this investigation are an example of elder financial exploitation (EFE). EFE is the most common form of elder abuse and involves misusing (often illegally) older people’s finances, assets, or possessions.
Coles introducing new technology that tracks shoppers’ every move – 14 September 2023
Coles is “aggressively” rolling out new technology that will track shoppers’ every move from the moment they walk into a store. Once you get to a checkout, hi-tech cameras above the self-checkout machines ntrack all items being scanned and bagged. After that, smart gates will lock automatically to prevent anyone with unscanned items leaving the store, sounding an alarm in the process. The ultimate goal is to make it impossible to steal from a Coles store.
Alleged Fraud Prompts Special Administration for Bunurong Land Council – 14 September 2023
A significant Indigenous community organization, the Bunurong Land Council, has been placed under special administration following allegations of financial impropriety involving former leaders. The allegations, involve the misappropriation of funds totalling more than $150,000.
AI enhances the security and value of video technology – 14 September 2023
Coupling AI analytics with video-surveillance systems helps organisations generate business intelligence through the easy capture and analysis of a vast range of information. While this interconnection is inherently powerful, it produces risks that require close monitoring. Systems and data must be accessible, but only to the intended users, and devices must be able to operate on the network without unauthorised intrusion or unintended exposure. Article provides tips for making sure your video-surveillance technology is safe and secure.
Sydney bank worker loses $157,000 in ‘pig butchering’ romance scam – 14 September 2023
A 44-year-old bank worker had fallen head-over-heels, not only for a man who wasn’t real, but a scam that swindled her out of $157,000. The type of scam the worker fell victim to is known for its remorselessness and goes by the aptly brutal term “pig butchering”. Pig butchering is a cross between a romance and cryptocurrency scam and alludes to the idea of victims being “fattened up for the slaughter” with the belief they are falling in love.
Ethereum users targeted in $11.5 million ‘sleepdropping’ digital fraud – 16 September 2023
Ethereum users have been targeted in a new form of digital fraud termed “sleepdropping,” with over $11.5 million stolen since December 2022. The scam involves sending seemingly legitimate ERC-1155 tokens, often disguised as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), to unsuspecting users. The fraudsters’ strategy is to lure users to deceptive websites where they are tricked into authorizing transactions that ultimately transfer their assets into the hands of the scammers. Despite ongoing investigations, the identities of those behind this operation remain unknown.
Banking Association head Anna Bligh sounds alarm over ‘explosion of scams’ amid growth of AI – 18 September 2023
Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh has warned new AI developments could worsen the “explosion” of scams faced by Australian, but may also provide banks with new tools to fight against criminals. In April, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed households lost $3.1 billion to scams in 2022, with the average victim losing $20,000.
Are you being watched while working? What hybrid workers need to know – 18 September 2023
With the rise of remote and hybrid work, there has also been a boom in remote workplace surveillance technology. Companies may be monitoring their employees working remotely, raising questions about the ethics and legality of surveillance. The legality of monitoring employees who are working remotely varies from state to state in Australia. The article also goes on to explain “How to approach remote workplace surveillance”.
Whistleblower fund tackles ‘persecution by prosecution – 20 September 2023
Whistleblowers who face prosecution themselves after calling out crimes and injustice will receive backing from a new fund. Former senator Rex Patrick launched the Whistleblower Justice Fund, amid growing calls to drop the criminal case against Richard Boyle, who blew the whistle on aggressive collection tactics by the ATO and David McBride for his alleged role in leaking defence documents to the media revealing alleged war crimes. The fund’s goal is to pressure the federal government – in particular, the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus – to intervene and end the prosecution.
Scams – A Customer’s Rights, A Bank’s Obligations – 20 September 2023
Partners Andrew Eastwood and Peter Jones and Senior Associate David Curley from Herbert Smith Freehill discuss via a PODCAST, who is responsible when a bank’s customer is scammed.
Victorian man accused of stealing $800,000 through online scams – 20 September 2023
A 63-year-old man will face court after he was charged with allegedly stealing more than $800,000 through online scams, in Victoria. Police claim his alleged victims visited fake websites that purported to be legitimate financial institutions offering investment opportunities, between June and September last year.
Cracking the code: why people fall for scams – 20 September 2023
UNSW Business School experts explain the psychological factors that cause people to fall victim to scams – and what protection can be offered. The experts say financial desperation and a lack of awareness about evolving scam techniques contribute to why many individuals today are being taken in by scams.
Kraken failed to explain crypto product to customers, ASIC alleges – 21 September 2023
ASIC alleges that Bit Trade, which provides Kraken to Australian users, failed to give consumers the appropriate information about the risk of the product they were selling, and whether they would be suitable for it. The customers went on to lose $13 million. Cryptocurrency exchanges including Kraken, BTC Markets, Swyftx and Coinbase are still waiting for the government to introduce regulation to govern the sector.
Brothers charged for allegedly scamming more than $500k – 21 September 2023
Steven and Cameron Meneghetti, are two brothers who allegedly scammed more than $500,000 from hardworking Australians in a months-long financial crime spree. They have been charged with organising multiple funds transfers between March and July 2022 knowing money was from organised crime.
Aussie Bishops, Paypals nuncios ignored complaints from whistleblowers – 21 September 2023
A confidential investigation authorized by Pope Francis into an Australian bishop has found that the prelate may have sexually abused and groomed 71 young aboriginal males dating back 50 years. Witnesses described Bp. Christopher Saunders as “a sexual predator” who sought “to prey upon vulnerable aboriginal men and boys” and groomed his victims, plying them with cash, alcohol, hotels, phones, phone credit, air and bus travel. In May 2021, police and prosecutors announced that because of “insufficient evidence,” they would not lay charges. In August, Saunders resigned as bishop of Broome but still holds his title and his entitlements as bishop.