12 stories this week:


Queensland woman caring for sick husband warns of elaborate employment scam after losing savings – 29 October 2023
A Queensland woman has lost her life savings in an elaborate online employment scam targeting vulnerable people looking for online work. She was falsely employed and manipulated by the scammers for about three weeks and lost $15,473. Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones says the National Anti-Scams Centre has reported an increase of more than 740 per cent in employment scams in 2023, with losses since January this year reaching $20 million.


Queensland public sector whistleblowing laws need a new act – 30 October 2023
Queensland’s public sector whistleblowing legislation has come under the spotlight, prompting a recent review by Alan Wilson KC. The report outlines 107 recommendations which advocate for a transformative shift, specifically the introduction of a new act to replace the existing Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010 (PID Act).


Robyn and Ashley Garratt face court for allegedly defrauding York Community Resource Centre – 30 October 2023
A prominent Wheatbelt couple have faced court charged with defrauding the York Community Resource Centre (York CRC). Robyn Garratt was charged with five counts of fraud by forgery and two counts of stealing as a servant. She has now had six additional charges added by police after a follow-up search warrant. Mr Garratt is facing two charges relating to the same investigation – one of benefiting from fraud and one of property laundering.


Sam Bankman-Fried, former cryptocurrency billionaire, has testified at his fraud trial. Here’s what he said – 31 October 2023
Former billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is currently standing trial for fraud in New York. He is accused of stealing billions from his cryptocurrencycustomers, to pay the bills for his other ventures. The key moments from his testimony are outlined in this article.


High-ranking Tasmanian public servants named under parliamentary privilege over potential misconduct allegations – 31 October 2023
An independent MP (Meg Webb) has used parliamentary privilege to name 22 current and former Tasmanian public servants the commission of inquiry into child sexual abuse may have levelled allegations of misconduct against. Ms Webb said the commission “made it clear” that because it had been blocked by “legislative impediments and calculated legal wrangling on the part of the state, it was not able to finalise the apparently intended adverse findings and findings of misconduct”.


Unlicensed builder Mark Anthony Webster sentenced to jail for defrauding victims out of more than $600,000 – 1 November 2023
An unlicensed builder has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for taking more than $600,000 from clients and spending it on the pokies. Mark Webster was contracted to complete shop fit-outs for restaurants and retail stores after responding to ads online. He used aliases and would provide clients with a false business name, ABN and QBCC registration number. He was given a non-parole period of two years.


Man, 81, faces court accused of stealing more than $900K meant for superannuation, investments and loan – 1 November 2023
An 81-year-old Hackham man has been accused of stealing hundred of thousands of dollars from people, who thought they were putting money into their superannuation funds and other investments. Robert Wayne Collins is charged with 10 counts of aggravated theft and one of aggravated dishonest dealing. Police allege he stole more than $900K intended for investments, superannuation and a loan.


The basic check banks aren’t doing to prevent scams – 1 November 2023
Most Australian banks don’t check that BSB and account numbers match the name of the account customers are sending money to. Account name matching is a basic anti-scam measure that has blocked many fraudulent transactions in other countries. In July 2022, the ACCC called on the banking sector to establish an industry-wide account name checking system, but that has yet to happen.


ASIC removes thousands of scam pages in takedown blitz – 2 November 2023
More than 2100 investment scam websites purporting to offer high-risk products like crypto assets and FX derivatives have been removed since July, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission revealed, with around 20 dodgy websites taken down per day.


Romance scam behind $228m Chinese money laundering ring – 2 November 2023
A $228 million Chinese money laundering syndicate was allegedly linked to a romance investment scam run by an organised crime network. The company, which operates 12 retail shopfronts across Australia, is accused of being used as a front to transfer money to illegitimate customers and conceal about $228 million from regulators. The syndicate allegedly funnelled money into bank accounts set up in the names of relatives and associates, the court was told, with seven people arrested last week over their alleged involvement.


Trial hears of alleged indecent assault, toxic culture at regional WA prison – 3 November 2023
A two-day trial in a regional WA court, heard damning allegations of bullying, harassment and toxic workplace culture at multiple WA corrective services facilities. A woman allegedly indecently assaulted a female colleague at a regional prison last year. The accused says she has been a victim herself, at the prison and another work site.


Letter from Melbourne lawyer John Adams reveals operation of alleged mortgage Ponzi scheme – 3 November 2023
The ABC has obtained a letter showing in 2019 John Adams who passed away suddenly at the age of 81 last month, was offering investors returns about eight times those offered by banks for term deposits. Mr Adams’s business partner of almost 50 years, Shane Maguire, alerted authorities to the potential fraud. The Victorian Legal Services Commissioner is working with police, to investigate whether Mr Adams misappropriated funds invested in the mortgage lending scheme, he operated out of his firm’s Ivanhoe office for more than 40 years.