News and Analysis
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27 stories this week:
Trading website IBC Exchange exposed as scam after QLD man loses $80k – 23 December 2022
An Australian explains how a group of online scammers coaxed him into giving away $80,000 via a fake cryptocurrency platform called IBC Exchange. He stated that “The sophistication was beyond belief and that the technology and layers of fraud they used was just incredible”.
Meta settles Cambridge Analytica class-action lawsuit for $725 million – 23 December 2022
Parent company Meta, has agreed to pay $725 million to settle a long-running class-action lawsuit accusing Facebook of allowing Cambridge Analytica and other third parties to access users’ private information. The settlement resolves user claims that Facebook violated federal and state laws, by allowing the company’s preferred vendors and partners to harvest their personal data without consent. It’s reportedly the largest ever in a US data privacy class action and the most Meta has ever paid to resolve a class-action lawsuit.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried released on house arrest and ‘largest ever pre-trial bond – 23 December 2022
Sam Bankman-Fried has been released on a 375 million bond package while he awaits trial on fraud charges related to the collapse of the FTX crypto exchange. Prosecutors have accused him of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to plug losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Inside Melbourne woman’s role in multimillion-dollar fraud syndicate – 25 December 2022
Young Melbourne mother Jasmine Vella-Arpaci has been sentenced for playing a central role in an international fraud syndicate which stole millions from victims’ superannuation accounts. She claimed she did this to support her husband’s gambling addiction. The process was to use stolen ID documents from the dark web, editing them as necessary to match one another, before using them to open bank accounts and to support applications to withdraw money from super accounts.
David McBride is ready to go to jail for his beliefs – 26 December 2022
Former defence lawyer David McBride is ready to go to jail with his “head held high” for exposing alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, but has called for the establishment of an independent federal authority to help others avoid the same fate. He stated that the reform was “absolutely needed” to support others wanting to lawfully report wrongdoing within their organisation.
How an Australian crypto exchange became a tool for scammers – 28 December 2022
Collapsed cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage Mine Digital, appears to have been a target for criminals exploiting the platform and lax regulation to rip off Australians through sophisticated investment scams.
Wage theft laws, offences and penalties in Australia – 29 December 2022
A Victorian business and its owner will be the first to face criminal wage theft charges, in any Australian jurisdiction. It is alleged that from July to November 2021, the Rehmat and Mehar Pty Ltd trading as ‘The Macedon Lounge’, dishonestly withheld wages, penalty rates and super from its former employees.
Inside the call centre scam that lured vulnerable workers to Cambodia and trapped them in the murky world of human trafficking – 29 December 2022
Thousands of vulnerable workers in South-East Asia who lost their jobs during the pandemic have been lured into job scams. They say they were made to work in a call centre, using dating apps on mobile phones to meet people looking for love. Once they had established online conversations, they were told to pass the people’s details on to a “chief” who would continue the chat and trick people into sending money for bogus investments.
Pair sentenced to collective 56 years prison for $8.75 billion Singapore share trading scam – 29 December 2022
A Malaysian businessman convicted of masterminding a stock scam that wiped 8.75 billion off Singapore’s exchange has been sentenced to 36 years in jail by a court in the city-state. John Soh Chee Wen and his girlfriend used their knowledge of financial markets to inflate share prices and set up dozens of trading accounts and borrowed large sums to manipulate stock prices.
Global Investigation Review – Australia – 4 January 2023
Informative article covering Australian highest-profile corporate investigations; legal framework; law enforcement authorities; Cyber-related issues; Cross-border issues and foreign authorities; Economic sanctions enforcement and more
The fight to reclaim $1.8 million lost to an international investment scam – 7 January 2023
Article explains the “industrialised nature of scams”. Australians lose more money to investment scams than any other type of scam. Nearly $300 million was lost in the first nine months of 2022 – though with many Australians never reporting their losses, it’s likely the true cost is much higher.
Former Simon & Schuster employee pleads guilty to impersonating editors to steal unpublished books – 7 January 2023
A former employee of book publisher Simon & Schuster, has pleaded guilty to impersonating editors and agents, in order to steal more than 1,000 unpublished book manuscripts, belonging to authors like Margaret Atwood and the actor Ethan Hawke.
Real Housewives of Salt Lake City star Jennifer Shah sentenced to prison for defrauding thousands of people – 7 January 2023
US reality TV star Jennifer Shah, known for her role on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, has been sentenced to six-and-a-half-years in prison for defrauding thousands of people in a telemarketing scam over nearly a decade.
Trump executive Allen Weisselberg gets five-month jail sentence – 11 January 2023
Allen Weisselberg – a long-time executive for Donald Trump ‘s business empire – has been taken into custody to begin serving a five-month jail term for dodging taxes on $1.7 million in job perks. His testimony helped convict the former president’s company of tax fraud.
Perth teen loses nearly $40,000 in sophisticated bank scam – 12 January 2023
Aurora Casilli, lost $36,000 in an instant after receiving messages from a spoofed NAB number. The text looks legitimate and comes through on the same message thread as real NAB texts. It then prompts customers to call a number, and an allegedly fake operator then directs them to transfer money to a new “safe” account.
Australian Taxation Office scam sees Vageesh Potnis steal thousands of dollars from Australians – 13 January 2023
Vageesh Potnis, a Sydney man has avoided jail time, despite scamming vulnerable Aussies out of nearly $30k by pretending to be from the ATO.
Australian authorities say crypto is too often used for money laundering. – 14 January 2023
Senior executives of AUSTRAC claim crypto has become part of the “money laundering tool kit,” to commit money laundering and financial fraud. Article also discusses that ATMs are often the first method of converting crypto into cash so that illicit purchases and deals can be made.
Donald Trump’s company sentenced to pay $2.31 million penalty for tax fraud – 14 January 2023
A New York judge has sentenced Donald Trump’s namesake real estate company to pay a 2.31 million criminal penalty after it was convicted of scheming to defraud tax authorities for 15 years. Jurors found two Trump Organization affiliates guilty of 17 criminal charges. Prosecutors provided evidence that Mr Trump’s company covered personal expenses such as rent and car leases for executives without reporting them as income, and pretended that Christmas bonuses were non-employee compensation.
ATO disqualifies hundreds over self-managed super scams – 15 January 2023
An ATO crackdown on people setting up self-managed superannuation funds to illegally access their retirement savings has prevented the withdrawal of hundreds of millions of dollars. Many have had to pay additional tax penalties and interest on those amounts illegally withdrawn.
Victims of bank Ponzi-like scheme in China unable to withdraw money from frozen accounts – 15 January 2023
Since April last year, at least 40 billion yuan ($8.5 billion) has been frozen in four of the small-sized banks. The four rural banks had promised customers high returns of between 13 and 18 per cent, in what has now been described as a Ponzi-like scheme. In August, authorities arrested 234 suspected bank scammers in connection to the case. Victims have been protesting as they have been unable to withdraw money for nine months.
Morley great-grandmother Dale Hambrook of her life savings – 15 January 2023
A Morley great-grandmother has been scammed out of nearly $150,000 after she was conned through an elaborate cryptocurrency scheme. The scheme used images and fake emails by the celebrity David ‘Kochie’ to con people.
Former Greek associate of Bill Papas denies involvement in fraud – 15 January 2023
One-time Greek business partner of Bill Papas Anastasios Giamouridis has denied any role in the alleged $500m fraud against banking institutions. According to the allegations he also received funds from the scheme.
JPMorgan says fintech was a fraud, closes business – 16 January 2023
JPMorgan has shuttered the financial planning fintech it acquired in 2021 and is suing its founder, claiming most of its users were fake accounts created to inflate the business’ value. In court documents, the bank claims the company paid a data scientist to use “synthetic data” techniques to create a list of 4.265 million “students” that did not exist.
Fraudsters jailed over international crypto scam – 18 January 2023
Four people have been jailed in the UK over a $37 million fraud carried out on an Australian cryptocurrency exchange (CoinSpot) five years ago. Stephen William Boys, Kelly Caton, Jordan Kane Robinson and James Austin-Beddoes were sentenced to a combined 15 years in prison over their involvement in a scam that “exploited a loophole” on the platform.
Fraud trial begins over Elon Musk’s 2018 Tesla tweet, which allegedly artificially affected stock price – 18 January 2023
A trial has begun over whether Elon Musk committed fraud with a 2018 tweet saying he was poised to take Tesla private. The tweets indicated Mr Musk had lined up the financing to take Tesla private at a time when the company’s stock was slumping amid production problems. The prospect of a 104 billion buyout fuelled a rally in the company’s stock price that abruptly ended a week later, after it became apparent that he did not have the funding to pull off the deal after all.
No bail for man accused of worldwide scam – 18 January 2023
One of four men charged over an alleged international investment scam has been refused bail over fears he could try to flee the country. It is alleged the four men were involved in a sophisticated scam using various social engineering techniques, including the use of dating sites, employment sites and messaging platforms, to gain victims’ trust.
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.
14 stories this week:
SkyCity Adelaide casino accepted bags of ‘soiled’ cash, court documents allege – 7 December 2022
Court documents reveal that cash that was dirty and appeared to have been buried, and money kept in plastic bags, was used in large transactions at the SkyCity Adelaide (SCA) casino. The allegations are part of civil proceedings against SkyCity Adeaide by Australia’s financial crimes watchdog.
AUSTRAC to launch Federal Court civil proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide casino over alleged anti-money-laundering breaches – 7 December 2022
AUSTRAC will issue civil proceedings against SkyCity Adelaide. AUSTRAC alleges serious and systemic non-compliance with anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
Elizabeth Holmes’s former partner, Ramesh Balwani, given near-13-year prison sentence over Theranos hoax – 8 December 2022
Former Theranos executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison for his role in the company’s blood-testing hoax. Holmes and Balwani ran Theranos, a company that claimed to have developed a disease-detecting medical scam. The faked technology endangered patients and duped investors.
Embezzlement trial against Markus Braun begins – 8 December 2022
Markus Braun, the former head of disgraced German payment company Wirecard, is charged over the biggest fraud case in German history. Mr Braun has denied embezzling money from Wirecard, and has accused others of running a shadow operation without his knowledge. Wirecard was forced to admit in June 2020 that 1.9 billion euros ($2.9b) were missing from its balance sheet.
Star Entertainment Group fined $100 million over Queensland casino breaches, given 12 months to ‘get their house in order’ – 9 December 2022
Star Entertainment Group has been hit with $100 million in fines and a special manager has been appointed to oversee its Queensland operations following “major failings” at its casinos. The company has also been given 12 months to “get its house in order” or else have its Queensland casino licences temporarily suspended.
ATO reveals it raided 35 properties suspected of using technology to evade paying tax – 10 December 2022
The (ATO) has revealed it has raided 35 properties nationally as part of a global crackdown on businesses suspected of using or supplying electronic sales suppression tools (ESST). ESST helps businesses permanently delete business transactions, reduce sales values or misrepresent transactions in other ways.
Conman Richard Ayoub jailed over multimillion-dollar scam targeting retirees – 16 December 2022
Richard Ayoub,, an American man living in Australia on a working visa has been jailed for scamming retirees out of about $3 million. Ayoub profited from a scam conning retirees into investing in fake bonds.
Fake myGov profiles are being used to hack ATO accounts. Sue found this out the hard way – 19 December 2022
ABC Investigations has uncovered a vulnerability in the myGov and ATO systems which is being exploited by cybercriminals to defraud the taxpayer. Services Australian told ABC Investigations all that is required to create a myGov account is an email address. No proof of identity is necessary and there is no limit on how many accounts can be opened.
Australian winery uses new tech to combat wine fraud – 19 December 2022
Grosset Wines, Adelaide, have swapped out their usual bottle caps for ones that use Enseal. The caps have a microchip inserted underneath their top, which consumers can scan with their smartphones to check if the label matches the bottle’s contents. Wine fraud can occur when empty bottles are refilled with other wines and resealed, label details are changed or bottles are labeled with wrong information about variety, region, or vintage.
The buried gold, the crumbling fraud case and the billionaires’ tsunami – 20 December 2022
Article describes the Million-dollar fraud case in Orange, were Brian Locke was ousted from the board of the company he founded, had $9 million worth of his shares cancelled and was under police investigation for masterminding a multimillion-dollar fraud. All 133 charges against former Gold and Copper Resources CEO Brian Locke were finally withdrawn.
Foreign national extradited to Qld over alleged scam – 20 December 2022
A young foreign national will be extradited to Queensland over allegations he defrauded $30,000 from an elderly man on the Sunshine Coast. The man was contacted via phone, advising him his accounts had been then the men drove from Sydney to his Sunshine Coast home and pretended to be from his bank and convinced him to hand over bank cards and account details before emptying out his accounts.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried signs extradition papers, hearing scheduled for Wednesday – 21 December 2022
Sam Bankman Fried insists the collapse of his $32 million Crypto empire is the result of human error. Federal prosecutor said Mr Bankman-Fried’s actions amounted to “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history”. He is being extradited from the Bahamas to the United States where he faces fraud charges.
ASIC increases focus on cryptocurrency – 21 December 2022
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has increased the number of staff dedicated to cryptocurrency, as high-profile collapses like FTX highlight the danger of the unregulated asset class. Cryptocurrency was currently exempt from regulation, leaving it open to use as a vehicle for money laundering, data breaches and financial crime.
Police warning: Aussie parents ordered to pay child’s drug debt – 21 December 2022
The New South Wales Police have warned Aussie parents about a NEW text scam impersonating their children and claiming they need to repay a drug debt. While many Aussies said they managed to avoid falling for the scam, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said more than 1,150 Australians fell victim to the so-called ‘Hi Mum’ scam in the first seven months of this year, with total reported losses of $2.6 million.
14 stories this week:
Did the royal commission fix banking or are banks back to behaving badly? – 26 November 2022
It has been five years since then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a royal commission into scandals and misconduct in the banking industry. Of the 76 recommendations, many have been implemented but there is still a lot of work still to be done.
‘You can’t be responsible for everyone’s decisions’: Westpac boss pushes back on scam reimbursement – 29 November 2022
Westpac chief executive Peter King has pushed back against calls for banks to reimburse a larger number of scam victims, saying that while lenders were working to fight scammers, customers also had to take some responsibility. The bank normally only reimburses victims when they have not followed the industry’s code of conduct.
EY caught up in alleged Australian coal quality scam – 29 November 2022
According to MP Andrew Wilkie, he has received thousands of documents from a whistleblower said to be an executive within the coal industry, which shows that miners TerraCom, Anglo American, Glencore and Peabody together with the Macquarie Bank and auditor EY as intermediaries engaged in activities to inflate the quality of Australian coal exports – thereby increasing its price and minimising pollution-related import restrictions.
How Can Australia Better Protect Whistleblowers? New Report Explains – 29 November 2022
A new report from Griffith University, the Human Rights Law Centre, and Transparency International Australia highlights 12 “areas of reform” in which Australia’s parliament could bolster whistleblower protections and get up to speed with “international best practice.” The report notes that Australia has in the works a National Anti-Corruption Commission, but states that “this highlights big gaps in federal whistleblower protection. The report also displays statistics about current whistleblowers in Australia and contains information about the detriment that whistleblowers experienced, like being fired from their job, facing harassment from co-workers or managers, etc.
Police investigating Melissa Caddick’s disappearance were ‘short-staffed’, inquest hears – 29 November 2022
The detective who took over the investigation into alleged fraudster Melissa Caddick’s disappearance has told an inquest he didn’t re-interview her husband, as he felt he “wasn’t a credible witness”, and accepted there were “major discrepancies” in his version of events. The inquest heard Ms Caddick had life insurance, that included suicide cover, but Detective Sergeant Foscholo’s understanding was Mr Koletti may not have been listed as a beneficiary. Hearings have run over time again, so another date has been set for February.
Security agencies take advice after Chinese camera ban in US, UK – 30 November 2022
Australia’s national security agencies have begun restricting the use of surveillance equipment manufactured by two Chinese firms in government facilities amid a similar block in the US and UK over data security concerns. The Department of Home Affairs, ASIO, and ASD are now scrutinising the use of surveillance cameras from Hikvision and Dahua, with some confirming the Chinese made technology now poses an unacceptable risk and is avoided wherever possible.
Star Entertainment sued by AUSTRAC for alleged money-laundering breaches – 30 November 2022
Star casinos are facing massive fines, with the anti-money-laundering regulator AUSTRAC launching a Federal Court action seeking civil penalties. AUSTRAC alleges Star failed to implement legally required monitoring of money-laundering risk. Each individual breach can attract maximum penalties of between $18 million and $22 million.
ICAC passed on Daryl Maguire evidence to ‘relevant agencies’ before conspiracy charge – 30 November 2022
Australian Border Force confirmed it had charged Daryl Maguire with conspiring to commit an offence, alleging it was linked to “visa and migration fraud”. Maggie Logan, has also been charged with 12 counts of causing the delivery of a document with a false statement under the migration act. It is alleged the duo furnished visa applications “containing statements or information that was false or misleading” on the Commonwealth, allowing non-citizens to remain in Australia.
Vic woman ‘sorry’ for part in $10m fraud – 30 November 2022
Jasmine Vella-Arpaci, a Melbourne woman wrote to her victims, telling them she’s sorry for her major role in a cyber crime syndicate that targeted $10 million in Australian superannuation and share accounts. The group succeeded in defrauding $3 million from superannuation accounts and $238,000 from share trading. There were further attempts to obtain $1.8 million from super funds and $5.7 million in shares.
‘Orchestrated attack on the banking system’: Property fraudster jailed – 30 November 2022
Sheree Becker has been jailed for three-and-a-half years for taking out fraudulent loans against the ANZ Bank on behalf of low-income customers, who could not afford them. Becker had signed up people on low incomes, including one on Centrelink benefits, to her vendor finance scheme.
Microsoft scam drains elderly couple’s $249,000 savings as Bendigo Bank fails to block transactions – 1 December 2022
An elderly couple who lost a quarter of a million dollars in a sophisticated online scam have slammed Bendigo Bank for failing to block the suspicious transactions. Two of their banks, NAB and HSBC, immediately blocked the attempted withdrawals when they noticed the unusual payments.
Former bank employee Sara Daizli facing 237 fraud charges – 2 December 2022
Police allege a former bank employee used her role at the bank to open accounts in fictitious names and swindle hundreds of thousands of dollars. Police claim Ms Daizli siphoned money into her bank account under a false name and allegedly made fraudulent loan applications to ANZ and St George banks.
Hackers declare ‘case closed’ as they leak more Australian health data – 1 December 2022
Hackers appear to have ended their extortion bid as they dump more customer data from insurer Medibank, which had refused to pay $9.7 million in exchange for hackers keeping the stolen records off the internet.
Aussie bitcoin mogul sentenced in the US, advisers slam DOJ – 1 December 2022
Australian bitcoin mogul Greg Dwyer, has been sentenced to one year probation after being found guilty of violating US banking laws while he was a senior executive at troubled cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX, as his advisers slammed authorities for their heavy-handed approach to his charges.
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12 stories this week:
Aussie father reveals how scammers outsmarted him and his bank – 16 November 2022
New South Wales Police believe scammers are getting smarter and consumers need to be wary. An Aussie father had $27,380 taken out of his account. The scammers not only outsmarted him, but also his bank.
Origin issues warning for 4.2 million customers – 16 November 2022
Origin is warning customers about a new SMS scam that tries to steal their payment details. The scam text message tells customers they have an unpaid account and directs them to a fake Origin website. From here, the customer is asked to enter their Origin details and payment information.
ClubsNSW litigation against dying whistleblower an ‘abuse of process’, lawyers say – 16 November 2022
Whistleblower Troy Stolz will ask the Federal Court that contempt proceedings brought against him by ClubsNSW to be permanently stayed. ClubsNSW said an interview he gave to YouTuber Friendlyjordies breached a court order. Stolz’s lawyers are expected to argue that material has come to light showing ClubsNSW is bringing its contempt action to intimidate him.
Elizabeth Holmes sentenced to 11 years in prison on fraud charges – 19 November 2022
Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO and founder of Theranos, has been sentenced to just over 11 years in prison for defrauding the investors of her blood testing startup. The sentence comes almost a year after Holmes was found guilty on four counts of fraud following a months-long trial.
Bunnings, Kmart issue urgent warning over new scam – 19 November 2022
Australian job seekers are being warned about a new employment scam circulating on social media, offering jobs at Bunnings and Kmart. The fake Bunnings job ads use the retailer’s official logo and lure unsuspecting job seekers with an hourly rate ranging from $48 to $75 to gain peoples personal details.
Christian Dior has held Caddick funds for years, whistleblower tells authorities – 19 November 2022
A whistleblower from Christian Dior has alerted authorities to hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen by missing fraudster Melissa Caddick, that have been held for the past two years at the fashion house’s Sydney office.
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How fraudsters used Porsche IPO to target Australians – 20 November 2022
Article outline details about the claims of Fraudulent Porsche IPO offerings and BN Capital, pretending to be a financial services entity. The fraud includes highly professional websites, investment documents and correspondence and claims the banks are not doing enough to protect customers.
Coal exporters accused of falsifying data to prove coal is cleaner, boost profits – 21 November 2022
Leaked details provided by a whistlwhistleblower, claim Australian coal exporters are falsifying data to show their coal is cleaner. MP Andrew Wilkie said “the alleged scam has allowed companies to claim for years that Australian coal was cleaner than it was in reality in order to boost profits and to prevent rejection of shipments at their destinations”.
High-flying first Chinese executive at PwC Australia is accused of $3.3million fraud to buy a Porsche and pay for renovations to the six bedroom mansion she shares with her husband – 22 November 2022
Shao Hong, a high-flying audit assurance partner at PwC Australia and her husband Di Wu are accused of stealing $3.3million from Creative Promotions, a family-owned business. It is alleged they stole millions from them between 2010 and 2022 by ‘digitally altering’ genuine invoices and creating other fake invoices. They allegedly spent the money building dream home in Sydney’s north shore. The Couple’s assets have been frozen as they face legal action to recover cash.
Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley sentenced to combined 19 years in prison for bank fraud, tax evasion – 22 November 2022
Reality stars Todd and Julie Chrisley received sentences for their convictions on charges of bank fraud and tax evasion. In June, the couple were convicted of having inflated their net worth in order to secure more than $30 million in fraudulent loans. They were also found to have dodged their taxes since as early as 2009 and to have hidden their earnings.
HashFlare’s Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin charged over four-year cryptocurrency pyramid scheme – 22 November 2022
Sergei Potapenko and Ivan Turogin are charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. It is alleged that they operated a pyramid scheme and bought luxury cars and real estate with the fraudulent $870 million.
How and why Australian whistleblowing laws need an overhaul: new report – 23 November 2022
Recent developments in Australian whistleblowing cases and the parliamentary debate over Australia’s new National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), have shown how critical it is to get our whistleblower protection laws back up to world standards. A new research report, published by Griffith University, the Human Rights Law Centre and Transparency International Australia, seeks to present a clear roadmap for getting these reforms right.
12 stories this week:
Anti-corruption watchdog report ‘unanimous’ but crossbenchers signal whistleblower, public hearings fight ahead – 11 November 2022
Australia has inched closer to having a federal anti-corruption watchdog after a multi-partisan committee scrutinising the proposal handed down a unanimous report in support of it.
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Pilot accused of illegally chartering flights told wife ‘it’s only money, no one’s been run over’ – 11 November 2022
Josh Hoch, a pilot has appeared in court accused of chartering flights for Katter’s Australia Party members without a certificate to fly commercially. He has pleaded not guilty to 14 charges.
Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil flags multiple reforms to protect personal data after Medibank data leaks – 13 November 2022
The Federal Government is considering making it illegal to pay ransoms. Tighter regulation could also extend to data retention, something Cyber Security MinisterClare O’Neil described as a “national vulnerability’. Data retention forms part of a review of the Privacy Act currently being undertaken by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.
The whistleblower tapes exposing racism in Queensland’s police force – 13 November 2022
Audio recordings leaked to Guardian Australia, by a whistleblower reveal several officers and sworn police using racist and offensive language, while working in a Brisbane watch house. The audio, condemned by Queensland police and the state government, follows evidence at the state inquiry into police responses to domestic and family violence, which included dozens of examples of racist, misogynistic and sexist behaviour.
US prosecutors seek 15 years in prison for Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes – 13 November 2022
US prosecutors have recommended Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes spend 15 years in prison and pay $US800 million ($A1.1 billion) to investors defrauded by her blood testing start-up. The company claimed to be able to run many tests on one drop of blood. It collapsed in 2015 after a series of articles suggesting its devices were flawed.
Wannabe rapper confronted over $700k worth of missing gold – 13 November 2022
Abdel Ghadia, found $760,000 in his bank account – and bought gold bars and coins before police arrested him last year. It seems that a mortage brokers email was comprised and a couple purchasing a house where told to transfer into Abdels bank account. Police arrested Ghadia as part of a major crackdown on a ruthless cybercrime syndicate. However, court documents revealed there is no indication Ghadia was involved in the money transfer and the $700,000 worth of gold the rapper bought, has not been recovered.
NEWS: Australia is ‘economically vulnerable’ to dirty money says FinCrime expert – 15 November 2022
A financial crime expert has warned that Australia is “economically vulnerable” to money laundering. Nathan Lynch, author of the Lucky Laundry explained that the country’s role as a “major international hub” for laundering dirty money has developed due to Australia’s dependence on foreign funding.
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Two men who conspired to manipulate recruitment processes at Department of Finance avoid jail – 15 November 2022
Abdul ‘Alex’ El-Debel and Raminder Kahlon were found guilty of conspiring with a third man to dishonestly obtain a benefit from the Commonwealth, by putting forward candidates from companies with which they were associated. They will rve intensive corrections orders for three and a half years, and will also have to complete 300 hours of community service.
Inside a scam: How cybercriminals are shaping Australia’s digital future – 15 November 2022
Cybercrime is the new face of organised crime – except in the online world, you can’t see the crooks. The hackers hide behind their keyboards and phones, wreaking havoc from every corner of the globe. Debroah night, has created the Pod Cast Anatomy of a Scam, were she breaks down some of the more common scams doing the rounds and explore the technology and psychology used by the cyber-crooks.
Government boosts whistleblower laws – 16 November 2022
Whistleblowers in Australia will be afforded stronger protections under new government legislation set to hit parliament. It means Australia will have stronger whistleblower protections in place before the National Anti-Corruption Commission gets going, which is expected from the middle of 2023.
Jim Marinis and Mary-Jane Daffy lose $40,000 and rack up over $20,000 debt in banking scam saga – 16 November 2022
Jim Marinis and Mary-Jane Daffy, a couple who are small business owners in Melbourne, have lost $40,000 from suspected fraudulent bank transactions, after their personal data was stolen. The cyber criminals also racked up $20,000 debt in personal loans taken out online in their name and applied for a $200,000 loan. The Melbourne based criminals are quite experienced and created a spider’s net so extensive, as they hacked Mr Marini’s personal accounts one after the other including his MyGov account.
Email invoice scam targets Victorian farmers, with ‘insane’ amounts of money lost to criminals – 18 November 2022
Scammers have been targeting Victorian farmers with fake invoices that appear to be from regular suppliers. The scammers are including dodgy phone numbers too and it often goes to someone who speaks perfect English.
11 stories this week:
Full disclosure: The shake-up about to hit corporate Australia – 5 November 2022
This month, the federal government will release guidelines for companies on the use of controversial non-disclosure agreements in workplaces, following the expected legislation in federal parliament of the Respect at Work bill.
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Scammers are turning our most vulnerable into drug mules. Here’s how – 6 November 2022
18 alleged drug mules have been arrested, with some telling the Australian Federal Police (AFP) “they had been coerced into the role after they became victims of online financial scams.” The alleged drug mules are part of a larger trend in which international crime syndicates coerce scam victims into carrying drugs across border to recoup their debts.
California Man Extradited From Australia To Face Charges For Investment Scheme – 7 November 2022
It is alleged that Guzman, executed a scheme to defraud investors of at least $2 million, by falsely representing that he would use the investors’ money to trade in options and other similar investments. Instead it is alleged, he used the money to fund his personal lifestyle and to prevent his victims from redeeming their investments and complaining to authorities, the indictment alleges that Guzman lied to his victims about the status of their investments, and provided them with fake documents, including sham IRS forms and fraudulent account statements. He has been Extradited from Australia to face charges.
Automatic speaker recognition technology outperforms human listeners in courtroom – 8 November 2022
Article discusses research reviewing whether the services of real experts: specialist forensic scientists who employ empirically validated and demonstrably reliable forensic-voice-comparison systems are more reliable than human listeners.
Who Is Extorting Australian Health Insurer Medibank? – 8 November 2022
Medibank publicly said it wouldn’t pay a ransom to attackers who it says took sensitive data of 9.7 million current and former customers. Some cybercrime researchers have dubbed the extorntion group “BlogXX”. BlogXX’s website contains links to the infamous REvil ransomware gang, which attacked the software developer Kaseya in July 2021 and JBS Foods in May 2021. Both incidents had big knock-on effects within Australia.
‘Putin’s chef’ and Wagner group mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin admits meddling in US elections – 8 November 2022
Kremlin-connected entrepreneur Yevgeny Prigozhin has admitted that he has interfered in US elections and would continue to do so, confirming for the first time the accusations he has rejected for years. Mr Prigozhin has been sanctioned by the United States, the UK and the European Union.
ASIC Warns Against Fake IPO Investment Frauds – 9 November 2022
ASIC issued a warning regarding the increased number of fake initial public offering (IPO) investment scams targeting consumers and individual investors. Scammers are impersonating licensed Australian firms and promoting fake offerings. Recently, investors were offered the opportunity to invest in Porsche’s IPO. The fake offers overlapped with the actual listings and led to a loss of funds. ASIC stated that after transferring money to scammers, it is no longer able to help consumers.
Scam losses could hit $4b this year. Should banks wear the cost – 9 November 2022
Australians lost an estimated $2 billion to scams last year, and the government says losses could well double to $4 billion this year. One idea that’s been raised is whether banks should shoulder more of the cost of reimbursing scam victims, thereby giving banks an incentive to improve their defences against scam.
Greek Australian Family robbed out of $40,0000 following massive telecoms hack – 9 November 2022
A Greek Australian family appears to have fallen victim to identity theft following the recent Optus telecoms hack which saw thousands of customer data breached, resulting in them losing some $40,000. Jimmy Marinis and Mary-Jane Daffy said they believed identity thieves “piggy backed” off the Optus hack and gained access to their bank accounts, emptying out their credit cards along the way.
Gold Coast Pensioner’s big bank win after scam fallout – 5 November 2022
A mistake of paying $5 for a supposed unpaid toll in after receiving a scam text message, resulted in Queenslanders loosing $10000 in the Linkt phishing scam.
Worker surveillance tech is outpacing outdated NSW laws – 10 November 2022
The newly published second and final report of the Select Committee on the Impact of Technological and Other Change on the Future of Work and Workers in NSW, which was briefed in March 2020 and published its first report in April, made 13 recommendations to overhaul workplace surveillance and automation legislation that was originally published in 2005. The changes are desperately required due the development of smartphones, high-speed wireless networking, connected security cameras, AI-driven employee monitoring, and other technologies.
Man arrested for $130,000 Centrelink fraud: ‘Scumbag – 10 November 2022
A Taiwanese national was arrested in Sydney after allegedly stealing more than $130,000 in COVID-19 support payments from Centrelink. The fraudsters are believed to have posed as an accounting agency on a messaging app and offered to submit claims on behalf of people who needed to access the payments, in exchange for their details and a fee. The man is also alleged to have stolen several identities and claimed payments in their names.
11 stories this week:
Pathology lab, ACL, criticised for five-month delay in reporting patient data hack – 28 October 2022
Australian Clinical Labs (ACL) has been criticised for waiting five months to inform patients their data had been stolen and leaked onto the dark web. This meant criminals could have accessed the stolen data to commit acts like identity theft, financial scams via impersonation for months.
How Facebook scammers hijacked the Herald brand – 31 October 2022
The Sydney Morning Herald’s website layout and branding have been replicated by criminals to spread fake articles on Facebook and dupe people into investing in fraudulent financial schemes.
Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial begins in New York – 1 November 2022
The criminal trial for the Trump Organisation has begun in New York with the prosecution and defence giving their opening statements. Donald Trump’s company was charged with tax fraud in July 2021, over allegations it helped executives cheat their own taxes.
Former Olympian Neil Brooks and wife ‘very confident’ fraud charges against them will be dropped – 2 November 2022
It is alleged that in 2008 Mr and Ms Brooks made dishonest representations about the success of their sports merchandise business, in order to induce two investors to purchase a 50 per cent stake in the company. They believe they will be cleared of these charges in court.
Corruption claims fly in NAB fraud trial – 2 November 2022
A court has heard that 1.2 million dollars of corrupt payments and altered invoices between 2013 and 2017, were all part of an Helen Mary Rosamond’s plan to reward a NAB senior staffer and lock in extended business contracts with the bank.
Financial watchdog launches investigation into Sportsbet and Bet365 over money laundering suspicions – 3 November 2022
Austrac has launched an investigation into gambling companies Sportsbet and Bet365, on suspicions they have failed to comply with anti-money laundering laws. External auditors will be appointed to investigate the suspected non-compliance.
Queensland couple make horror $860,000 mistake – 3 November 2022
A family has lost $860,000 after being strung along for months by an elaborate syndicate of scammers. Coins Markets, or Coinsmarkets.io, taught them how to buy stocks and trade. The company had a sophisticated website complete with a complex login portal and multiple positive ratings across different review sites. Everything appeared to be legitimate until they were asked to place aggressive trades.
Millions forfeited after investigation into fraudulent scheme – 3 November 2022
New Zealand Police has successfully petitioned the High Court for the forfeiture of more than $2 million under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act, following an investigation into funds held in New Zealand by a Malaysian national. An investigation determined it to be related to a fraudulent scheme run in Malaysia – the VenusFX scheme.
Dreyfus faces international pressure over whistleblowers – 4 November 2022
International transparency groups are pushing Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to drop two high-profile whistleblower prosecutions (former Tax Office employee Richard Boyle and former military lawyer David McBride), and have called for better protections for people speaking up against wrongdoing.
Company directors scrambling to get ID or face $13,000 fine in bid to stop ‘dummy directors’ – 4 November 2022
It will be mandatory for all company directors covered by the Corporations Act to have a unique ID number by end of November. The Directors Identification Numbers are being introduced in a bid to crack down on so-called “dummy directors” and company “phoenixing” by allowing authorities to track activities through various government databases.
Cybercrime reports jump as criminal gangs target families and businesses, cybersecurity agency says – 4 November 2022
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has launched its third annual threat report, revealing that it received over 76,000 cybercrime reports last financial year – a 13 per cent increase from the year before. Criminal gangs are weaponising sensitive stolen data at a greater scale.
14 stories this week:
Central Queensland woman refused bail after facing court over alleged Luke Combs ticket scam – 18 October 2022
A Central Queensland woman has been charged after allegedly scamming more than a dozen country music fans up to $3,500 each. She was arrested and charged with 16 counts of fraud.
Credit Suisse Set to Settle Criminal Tax Case in France – 21 October 2022
Credit Suisse Group AG will aim to settle a tax fraud and money laundering case in France, that saw coordinated raids in five countries from Australia to the UK. The Swiss lender is in the final stretch of negotiations with prosecutors at the Parquet National Financier, to reach a settlement that would include a fine but no admission of guilt.
NSW Govt backs AI inquiry
The NSW Government has agreed to back an inquiry into the use of artificial intelligent technology and whether NSW’s legislative framework is “fit-for-purpose”. The proposed inquiry will explore areas such as transport, health and cyber security, alongside technology including facial recognition, biometric surveillance, and algorithmic programming. – 21 October 2022
Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as Vladimir Putin’s chef, revealed as Wagner Group mercenary boss – 23 October 2022
Over the years, Yevgeny Prigozhin has been at Vladimir Putin’s side, often serving him lavish meals. Recently however, he confirmed that he is the owner of the Wagner Mercenary Group and his guns for hire have played a critical role in keeping Putin’s war going. Now, the man who used to quietly stand behind Putin’s shoulder has revealed himself to be one of his most influential figures inside the Kremlin. This article outlines his humble beginnings and criminal past.
Corporate misincentives – 22 October 2022
Paper outlines how the provision of so many of our essential services – such as telecommunications, power, aged care, disability care and childcare and training services – are tainted by bad corporate behaviour. It seems that all that is required is lots of government money and a set of rules and regulations that can be interpreted subjectively for systems to be rorted. The regulatory framework needs to include clear and significant penalties for bad corporate behaviour.
Australia flags new corporate penalties for privacy breaches – 22 October 2022
After two major cybersecurity breaches left millions vulnerable to criminals, Australia has proposed tougher penalties for companies that fail to protect customers’ personal data. The penalties for serious breaches of the Privacy Act would increase from 2.2 million Australian dollars ($1.4 million) now to AU$50 million ($32 million) under amendments to be introduced to Parliament. A company could also be fined the value of 30% of its revenues over a defined period if that amount exceeded AU$50 million ($32 million).
‘Dracula in the blood bank’: Years of inappropriate billing for spine surgery revealed – 22 October 2022
A 2018 review, conducted by spine surgeon Dr Roy Carey has revealed that doctors spent years inappropriately billing Medicare and private health insurers for expensive and questionable spinal surgery.
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Growth in cybersecurity attacks against Australia outpacing global average – 24 October 2022
Imperva threat research has found that cyberattacks against Australia in 2022 has grown in both frequency and severity at a rate that outpaces the global average. The data suggests that cybercriminals see Australia and its citizens as lucrative targets. Between July 2021 and June 2022 there was an 81% increase in attacks, with the most heavily targeted industries being financial, retail, and business services.
Queensland lawyer Michael Bosscher charged over alleged involvement in $4.5m money laundering syndicate – 25 October 2022
Queensland lawyer Michael Bosscher has been charged over his alleged involvement in a $4.5 million money laundering operation. He is alleged to have opened fraudulent bank accounts in the name of clients at his consultancy business without their knowledge and has been charged with conspiring to deal in the proceeds of general crime worth $1 million or more.
Customers in limbo as Medibank data breach shapes up as far worse than the Optus hack – 26 October 2022
Australia’s Data Breach Debacle Expands
Privacy fears for children caught up in Medibank data breach
The private health provider revealed the cyber attack on its customers’ data could impact about 4 million current customers along with an unknown number of former customers too. Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil described latest development in the Medicare data breach as deeply concerning.
National DNA Program partners with Othram to use forensic genetic genealogy for unsolved Australian case solved Australian cases – 26 October 2022
The AFP will have access to specialised forensic DNA testing, not currently available in Australia, to identify human remains and develop new leads for unsolved crimes, by partnering with a world-leading forensic genomics laboratory Othram.
ASIC faces new Senate inquiry over ‘inaction’ – 27 October 2022
ASIC will be hauled before a fresh Senate inquiry for allegedly failing to enforce the law, after the opposition and crossbench MPs joined forces to act on what they said was widespread community concern that ASIC “was not very responsive”.
Man allegedly scammed ‘vulnerable victims’ out of $9 million then fled the country – 26 October 2022
A man accused of scamming people out of $9 million while posing as a financial planner in Melbourne, has been arrested after landing back in the country. Police are alleging the man worked as a financial planner around Brighton and was unlicensed. Investigators have identified at least 34 alleged victims they believe to be linked to the man from 2014 to 2018.
Sydney man charged over COVID-19 payment fraud – 27 October 2022
A Sydney man has been charged making allegedly fraudulent claims of more than $130,000 in COVID-19 Disaster Payments and Pandemic Leave Disaster Payments as part of criminal syndicate. Police allege the syndicate was using stolen identities, claiming payments in their names and directing the funds to bank accounts controlled by the syndicate.
15 stories this week:
Identity – 13 October 2022
A 30-year-old Queensland man charged with hundreds of identity fraud offences, allegedly also threatened to murder some of his victims when they tried to get their online accounts back.
The messages were uncovered on electronic devices found when a search warrant was executed at a Pallara home last December.
Australia becoming hotbed for cyber attacks – 14 October 2022
Research shows an 81% increase in cyber security incidents in Australia between July 2021 and June 2022. The top three most common risks faced by Australian organisations were automated threats and remote code execution (RCE) or remote file inclusion (RFI).
On trial for bravely telling the truth – 14 October 2022
The trial of a whistleblower who spoke up about government wrongdoing has begun in Adelaide. The article looks at why its come to this, considering Richard Boyle told the truth. He spoke up because the Australian Taxation Office, an immensely powerful government agency, was abusing its power. It was ruining the lives of small business owners and Boyle, a tax office employee in its debt recovery division, wanted to do the right thing.
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Australian Insurer Back Online After Cyberattack – 14 October 2022
Medibank, a private health insurance company serving nearly 4 million Australians has restored access to its policy writing systems, after taking them offline following a cyber incident. Medibank Chief Executive Officer David Koczkar acknowledged the cyber incident to his customers and also requested the Australian Securities Exchange to impose a “trading halt.”
2.2 million Woolworths MyDeal customers exposed in data breach – 15 October 2022
Woolworths has confirmed MyDeal customers have had their data exposed after a “compromised user credential” was used to hack into the system. Woolworths said MyDeal was in the process of contacting around 2.2 million Aussies by email who have been impacted.
The lucrative business of romance scams – 15 October 2022
Internet romance scams cost Australians an estimated $142 million last year, but the law can do little to protect people from emotional exploitation. It is possible, that some of this conduct could be captured by coercive control laws, that are soon to be introduced in Queensland and New South Wales. The difficulty is trying to establish how far the law should, or indeed can, go to protect people from the intangible – but real – harms of emotional exploitation.
Scams, the Optus data breach and keeping your personal data secure – here are the top tips to help you avoid falling victim – 15 October 2022
Great article that shares some top tips on keeping your data secure and answers questions such as “How does the ACCC identify new and changing scams? Have there been many cases of data breaches being used for coercive control?
Federal government describes reports of Medicare fraud as ‘troubling’, AMA condemns ‘unjustified slur’ on doctors – 18 October 2022
A joint investigation by the ABC and Nine newspapers has found doctors are abusing the $28 billion system, at times putting patients at risk and even billing dead Australians to boost profits. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the government will seek to get to the bottom of allegations of Medicare rorting.
Federal ICAC whistleblowers ‘will remain silent’ without stronger protections: lawyer – 18 October 2022
Whistleblower protections put forward in the federal government’s national anti-corruption watchdog do not go far enough and could deter people from coming forward with possible misconduct, a human rights lawyer has warned.
How financial services businesses can avoid fraud – 18 October 2022
As the financial system becomes increasingly decentralised, online criminals are becoming more sophisticated in the ways they breach security protocols. This article looks at why financial fraud is on the rise and discusses how businesses in the financial sector can protect themselves, with thorough due diligence tools, including an examination of their existing and potential clients’ credit history and criminal risk.
The threat keeping Australian CEOs up at night – 18 October 2022
The Optus hack is officially a nightmare for corporate Australia and the chief executive of National Australia Bank, Ross McEwan, says the telco’s travails should galvanise every company in the country into action.
Anti-corruption proposal a missed opportunity for whistleblower protection – 18 October 2022
The Human Rights Law Centre has told a parliamentary inquiry that the draft legislation to establish the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is a missed opportunity for whistleblower protections and should be strengthened.
Australians losing superannuation savings to sophisticated new scam – 19 October 2022
A sophisticated new scam has been uncovered, that targets the retirement nest eggs of Australians. The scam used the names Invest Fast or Invest Quick and pretended to be a financial advice firm based in Melbourne. At least 45 SMSFs were created for potential victims. Investigator Ken Gamble believes there is evidence to link the Invest Quick scam to the Metro Manila call centre.
Collapsed cryptocurrency exchange used customer funds for business loan – 19 October 2022
An Australian cryptocurrency exchange, Blockchain Global that collapsed last year trapping more than $20 million of customer money, dipped into customer funds to provide a loan to support another part of its business instead of keeping the funds on reserve.
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Private contractor use in APS was a major corruption risk, NACC whistleblower protections inadequate, inquiry told – 20 October 2022
An explosion in the use of third-party contractors for public service work under the Coalition posed a serious corruption risk, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.
Access to digital version of Canberra times required to read article
11 stories this week:
Elaborate scam allegedly used leading finance app to trick victims out of superannuation – 4 October 2022
Australian victims of a sophisticated superannuation scam have raised concerns about how they were given access to a leading finance app, which they claim gave them false confidence their money was safe. ASIC is investigating a “third party” in relation to the scam.
Banks ‘cyber mature’ but remain top target for scammers – 5 October 2022
Criminals exploiting snippets of personal information to trick customers and employees into opening themselves and their firms to fraud remains the top way Australian financial services businesses are initially breached. Social engineering attacks are also the main way hackers and scammers initially got into financial services companies, using it as a Trojan horse for phishing, fraud and false billing.
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Australian Firm Costa Group Suffers Phishing Attack – 8 October 2022
Australian fruit and vegetable supplier Costa Group says it was subjected to a malicious and sophisticated phishing attack in August, that resulted in unauthorized access to its servers. Sensitive information stolen may include workers’ passport details, bank details, superannuation details and tax file numbers.
‘Large-scale’ GST fraud sees ATO allegedly scammed out of more than $1.8 million – 8 October 2022
The ATO was defrauded of more than $1.8 million through falsified Business Activity Statements. The offenders are accused of inventing fake businesses and submitting fictitious Business Activity Statements, in an attempt to gain a false GST refund.
Former Ipswich council figures charged ratepayers $30,000 for exclusive Brisbane Club dining and memberships – 13 October 2022
More than $30,000 worth of boozy dinners, family perks and ongoing memberships by former senior Ipswich council figures were spent at an exclusive Brisbane Club. Mayor Teresa Harding has labelled the spending “utterly disgusting” and is calling for a forensic audit.
ACCC issues warning as farmers hit by online scammers taking advantage of supply shortages – 13 October 2022
Almost 300 reports of fraudulent sales of tractors and other farm machinery have been made to the ACCC’s Scamwatch between January and August this year, a 21 per cent increase in reports made for the same period in 2021. The ACCC says the sale of fake tractors and heavy machinery alone resulted in losses of $1 million.
Police charge man with hundreds of identity fraud offences, South Brisbane – 13 October 2022
A 30-year-old man was arrested by detectives and charged with more than 300 offences, predominantly relating to identity fraud offences, spanning at least two years. The charges relate not only to the alleged possession of the identification information belonging to more than 160 people, but also to alleged threats made to victims of the frauds, who attempted to take back their online identities, which had been hacked by the man.
China’s mysterious police presence in Sydney – 13 October 2022
It has been revealed this week that a web of police “service stations” have been set up around the world by the People’s Republic of China, ostensibly to help Chinese nationals renew their government-issued identification and drivers’ licenses. But according to a human rights group, the stations have been used to spy on the Chinese diaspora for the Chinese Communist Party. The report accuses stations overseas of involvement in forcibly “returning” more than 200,000 overseas nationals to China.
Optus data breach exposes surveillance capitalism – 13 October 2022
The Optus data breach in late September involved the data of about 10 million customers. It has raised important privacy concerns and led to questions about how personal data is managed by private and public entities. A 2-year review of the Privacy Act, which ended in January, had not yet released information. The Australian Information Industry Association is now calling on the federal government to release an exposure draft before the end of the year.
Hillsong whistleblower allegedly stood down for giving information to charities regulator, court told – 13 October 2022
Natalie Moses, a Hillsong whistleblower alleges she was unlawfully disciplined for providing information to the charities regulator, during an investigation into the global church’s accounts.
A deep dive into a corporate espionage operation – 12 October 2022
There has been a dramatic shift in the level of sophistication of cyberattacks. The article explores data exfiltration and the threat of industrial espionage and explains why these attacks are on the rise.
14 stories this week:
Facebook Marketplace scammer falsified bank transfers, Tasmania Police allege – 3 October 2022
Police allege that a Tasmanian man dishonestly obtained $200,000 worth of property from people who were attempting to sell items on Facebook Marketplace, after presenting a falsified bank transfer receipt.
Illegal phoenix activity – 5 October 2022
Illegal phoenix activity occurs when a new company continues the business of a liquidated company to avoid paying its debts by selling assets, creating dummy directors etc. Article explores what Illegal phoenix is, what you can do to avoid it, and how you can legally resurrect an insolvent or near-insolvent company.
Fraudster targeted Australian super accounts in $3 million scam – 5 October 2022
Vella-Arpaci pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to defraud over separate superannuation and share trading frauds, and to conspiring to deal in proceeds of crime. Police found she held numerous passports, driver’s licences, debit cards and Medicare cards.
Those details were used to withdraw funds from accounts and arrange shares to be sold, with proceeds deposited in newly opened bank accounts and laundered through the purchase of diamonds.
Banks ‘cyber mature’ but remain top target for scammers – 5 October 2022
Criminals exploiting snippets of personal information to trick customers and employees into opening themselves and their firms to fraud remains the top way Australian financial services businesses are initially breached. These social engineering attacks were the main way hackers and scammers initially get into financial services companies, using it as a Trojan horse for phishing, fraud and false billing.
SMSF scam investigation sees call centre raided – 5 October 2022
A scam call centre in Manila set up to steal retirement funds by posing as an Australian company was raided by Cybercrime investigation company IFW Global and the Philippines National Police this month. The scam orchestrators aimed to gather critical information from victims by pretending to be Australian Securities Administration Limited (ASAL), a legitimate and licensed company.
Richard spoke up about inappropriate behaviour at his work. Now he’s facing prison – 5 October 2022
Article is a good summary of how it all started for Richard Boyle and whats happening next. In 2017 Mr Boyle, made a public interest disclosure about maladministration at the Adelaide debt collection centre of the ATO. He was subsequently charged with 66 offences after having his house raided. The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID) is supposed to protect Commonwealth employees who speak up on wrongdoing but these protections have never been tested in court. If the District Court or higher courts reject Mr Boyle’s claim for immunity, he will face a criminal trial in October 2023.
Economist alleges corporate watchdog ASIC is only investigating tiny proportion of complaints – 6 October 2022
An economist alleges ASIC is doing fewer investigations compared to the number of complaints it is receiving. Alleging that fewer than 1 per cent of complaints are going on to be investigated. ASIC has responded saying that 35 per cent of complaints were referred for action, resolved or beyond its jurisdiction. A table is included with an extract of ASIC’s annual report that notes what percentage of complaints it investigates.
Banks get temporary access to Optus customer data to watch for fraud – 6 October 2022
Banks will have to comply with strict requirements to receive customer identification details from Optus to guard against fraud, including making written assurances to regulators, proving they can securely store information and pledging to destroy it when it is no longer required. New regulations unveiled by the Albanese government in response to the Optus cyberattack will allow telecommunications companies to temporarily share customers’ government identification details including driver’s licence, Medicare and passport numbers with banks. Names, addresses and birth dates will not be shared.
Customers lose as banks, telcos pass buck on scam – 6 October 2022
National Australia Bank says it is not responsible for refunding customers duped into transferring their money to criminals who impersonate the bank’s telephone number, but says the banks are now working more closely with telco operators to close gaps that allow these scams to occur.
One in 10 young people willing to become money mules in return for cash – 6 October 2022
In the last 12 months there has been a surge in Money Mule cases amongst older age groups, with a 26% increase in those aged 31 to 39, and a 29% increase in those aged over 40. If a person is caught moving stolen funds, money mules will be left with no bank account, a damaged credit score and the inability to apply for a loan or even a phone contract in the future. They could also end up with a 14-year prison sentence for the crime.
NZ police need better training in privacy and human rights law – here is what should happem – 6 October 2022
The New Zealand Police were recently found to have been routinely and illegally photographing young people and adults in public. There are rules governing the collection of information, with protecting privacy a key requirement. A report revealed that the police did not follow relevant privacy rules.
Teenager arrested for alleged scam on Optus victims as government lets telco share data – 6 October 2022
Federal police have arrested a 19-year-old Sydney man for allegedly sending $2000 blackmail scam texts to 93 people whose data was separately published by the Optus hacker.
West Australian farmer scammed out of $16,000 after trying to purchase cattle on Facebook – 7 October 2022
Scammers are getting better at appearing as legitimate sellers. Police are warning of scammers purporting to sell livestock on Facebook. A farmer in Western Australia’s South West has lost $16,500.
Sydney news: The King’s School under investigation over use of public money – 7 October 2022
The King’s School in NSW, is under investigation by the NSW Department of Education. There are allegations of possible misuse of taxpayers’ funds over building and other plans. The King’s School in Sydney reportedly planned to install a plunge pool at the headteacher’s residence and sent the school’s senior staff to attend a British rowing event.
11 stories this week:
Optus data breach: who is affected, what has been taken and what should you do? – 22 September 2022
Optus customers’ private information may be compromised after a cyber-attack. It is believed the attackers were working for a criminal or state-sponsored organisation. For some customers identity document numbers such as driver’s licence or passport numbers could be in the hands of criminals.
Federal ICAC a ‘great step’ but whistleblowers still at risk without a protection agency: David McBride – 22 September 2022
It is expected the federal government will introduce its much-anticipated national anti-corruption commission bill this week, as crossbenchers demand the proposed legislation include stronger whistleblower protections.
Two arrests over business email compromise (BEC) scam – 26 September 2022
A Tasmanian victim was arranging the purchase of a house through a conveyancer. The email correspondence from the conveyancer to the victim was compromised by a third party who altered the attached account payment information. As a result, the victim unwittingly transferred over $1.2 million to the scammers.
Australian crypto exchange appoints administrators – 27 September 2022
‘Mine Digital’, a digital asset exchange and brokerage has collapsed and control handed to external administrators, amid a dispute where it is being sued for allegedly not doing enough to weed out scammers from its platform. In July, Scammers used the crypto exchange to facilitate the movement of money from investors they tricked using a sham company called 500 Investments.
Avoiding a surveillance society: how better rules can rein in facial recognition tech – 27 September 2022
Our laws have not kept pace with the extraordinary rise of facial recognition technology and has left our community vulnerable to harmful uses of facial recognition. To fill the legal gap, it is proposed a “model law”: an outline of legislation that governments around Australia could adopt or adapt to regulate risky uses of facial recognition while allowing safe ones.
‘Whistleblower’ letter triggered NAB probe, trial of alleged fraudster told – 27 September 2022
A sydney court as part of the Helen Rosamond trial, has recently heard that an anonymous letter exposing an alleged fraud at the NAB came as a shock to a senior bank investigator in the days before Christmas 2017.
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Hundred who stole $350 million from their Australian employers – 27 September 2022
New Australian research has been conducted detailing detailed over one hundred cases where employees ripped off their bosses for at least $1 million. Findings are summarised in this article.
Laws for a federal anti-corruption body have been unveiled. Here’s what you need to know – 28 September 2022
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus introduced legislation to the lower house on Wednesday to set up the National Anti-Corruption Commission. This body would operate independently of the government and have powers to investigate serious or systemic corrupt conduct across the commonwealth public sector. Protections for whistleblowers and journalists as well as safeguards to protect reputations are also included in the proposal.
PNG minister, police hit out at Australia over extradition request for alleged fraudster and Cairns resident Samson Jubi – 28 September 2022
A Papua New Guinea government minister and top justice officials say they are “extremely frustrated” with Australia for harbouring Samson Jubi., a Cairns resident wanted for a mulit-million dollar fraud. He is wanted over the alleged misappropriation of 268 million kina, ($117 million) from impoverished communities in the country’s Western Province.
What does the Optus data breach reveal about corporate governance problems around cyber security? – 29 September 2022
The Optus data breach has exposed wider corporate governance issues in Australian companies around cyber security. Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said that “What has occurred over the last week has been a wakeup call for corporate Australia and we need to be doing everything we can, to make sure that protections are in place”. Article also contains a link to the Department of Home Affairs discussion paper, that highlighted weaknesses in Australian cyber security regulations and incentives. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-29/optus-data-breach-exposes-corporate-governance-gaps-around-cyber/101483874
Anthony Koletti denies delaying his police report so Melissa Caddick could disappear, court hears – 29 September 2022
The husband of accused Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick has flatly denied assisting her in disappearing, delaying a police report to buy her time and withholding information. Mr Koletti waited 30 hours after his wife disappeared to report her missing.
9 stories this week:
Elie Douna: Illawarra property developer sentenced for $15m loan scam – 21 September 2022
A disgraced Illawarra property developer has been sentenced for orchestrating a failed $14.7 million loan scam. Douna made up fake potential buyers in an effort to obtain a nearly $15 million loan.
Donald Trump and adult children sued by New York attorney-general for fraud – 22 September 2022
Former US president Donald Trump and his company have been sued by New York’s Attorney-General for fraud, allegedly padding his net worth by billions of dollars by manipulating the value of assets when preparing his company’s annual financial statements from 2011-2021. His children Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump have also been accused of aiding the alleged fraud.
Former first lady of Honduras Rosa Bonilla jailed after spending more than $756,000 on credit cards and school fees – 22 September 2022
The former first lady of Honduras, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of fraud and misappropriation of funds destined for social programs. She spent $756,609
meant for low-income children on personal credit card payments, her children’s school fees and real estate construction.
Former Cancer Council ambassador Amanda Power charged with fraud – 23 September 2022
A former Cancer Council ambassador has been charged with nine counts of fraud, after she allegedly faked a cancer diagnosis, to secure thousands of dollars from the community.
Warning over ‘spike’ in puppy scams causing $4.2m nightmare for Australians – 23 September 2022
Thousands of Australians have been hit by puppy scams, losing thousands in the process, with warnings there has been another spike in recent weeks. The (ACCC) revealed losses from pet scams have jumped more than 1000 per cent over the last two years.
ClubsNSW accuses terminally ill whistleblower of ‘blatant self-interest’ – 23 September 2022
Troy Stolz, who worked at ClubsNSW from 2011 to 2019, is being sued by his former employer for breaching the confidentiality clause of his contract, after he released an internal report that found 95 per cent of registered clubs were not compliant with money laundering laws. ClubsNSW is also prosecuting him for contempt, alleging that he intimidated, harassed or otherwise brought improper pressure on the organisation in his public comments.
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Secrecy Is Lifted, But the Government Continues Its Punitive Prosecution of Richard Boyle – 23 September 2022
ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle is set to go before the Adelaide District Court to continue his public interest disclosure (PID) defence proceedings. And despite the Commonwealth, yet again, attempting to hide evidence of corruption, an applied suppression order has been lifted.
1 in 5 Aussies prepared to lie for loans – 23 September 2022
A damning new report has shone a light on the growing issue of multifaceted and complex loan-seeker fraud in the domestic mortgage market. One in five (19 per cent) Australians believe it’s okay to tell a “white lie” and report having less debt than they actually have in a financial service or loan application.
Older Aussies are exposed by shift to online banking – 23 September 2022
ACCC’s Scamwatch reports Australians over 65 have lost more money to phishing scams this year than all other age groups combined – totalling over $6.5 million in the first eight months of the year. A drive by banks to get people banking online combined with an increase of seniors using smartphones, and tablets, makes creates a perfect storm for phishing scammers.
10 stories this week:
A 96yo has almost $500k taken by son, daughter-in-law, documents filed in Mackay court allege – 12 September 2022
A 96-year-old woman has allegedly lost almost $500,000 to the people who were supposed to be caring for her. Court documents allege the 96-year-old was asked to sign blank cheques by her son Maxwell Finlay Turner and his wife Debbie Maree Turner over several years.
UAE rejects Danish court’s extradition of Sanjay Shah in billion dollar tax fraud charges – 12 September 2022
Sanjay Shah is under investigation for one of Denmark’s largest-ever fraud cases. He is suspected of masterminding a US$1.7 billion ($2.47 billion) tax scheme and cannot be extradited to Denmark to face charges.
AUSTRAC launches investigation into betting giant and Ladbrokes owner Entain – 12 September 2022
The corporate betting giant Entain Group Pty Ltd, that owns the bookie firm Ladbrokes, is being investigated by Australian federal agents over a possible violation of an anti-money laundering and terrorism financing law.
Cryptocurrency scam losses hit new high in Queensland as cost of living bites – 12 September 2022
Queenslanders have lost $40 million dollars so far this year in cryptocurrency and investment scams – the highest loss ever recorded in the state. Scammers are using sophisticated strategies to lure their victims in, including posing as celebrities and even as Queensland police officers on social media. Nationally, $263 million has been lost this year, almost double the losses in 2021.
Jason Bran Lees convicted over ‘sophisticated’ computer hacking scheme has sentence reduced – 13 September 2022
Jason Bran Lees who has been convicted of diverting $1.15 million from small businesses and charities in a “sophisticated” computer hacking scheme, has had his 8 years sentence reduced. The elaborate computer hacking scheme targeted the payroll systems of at least 23 organisations, including a charity for disadvantaged Indigenous Australians.
How financial services businesses can avoid fraud – 13 September 2022
Article looks at why financial fraud is on the rise and discusses how businesses in the financial sector can protect themselves with due diligence tools, including an examination of their existing and potential clients’ credit history and criminal risk.
Alleged Thai ‘love scammer’ denied bail in Australia – 13 September 2022
Siriluck Fatima Chimmalee is accused of stealing from men she met online through a dating app. She is facing trial for over 100 charges of fraud.
Police say she allegedly pretended to be a registered remitter and charged customers steep inflation rates, to exchange large sums of money from Australia to other countries – charges to which she has so far pleaded not guilty.
Twitter misleading the public, whistleblower says – 14 September 2022
Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter Zatko, has told US lawmakers the firm is “misleading the public” about how secure the platform really is. Mr Zatko was giving evidence following an 84-page long whistleblowing complaint he made about security practices inside the social network. He was fired by the firm in January.
Fraudsters use CBA brand to lure investors into fake bonds – 15 September 2022
Criminals are using the brands of CBA and London-headquartered funds asset manager Aviva Investors in attempts to defraud potential investors with fake, high-yield bond offerings. Investors searching for stable income amid a crash in technology stocks and as the easy money of low interest rates disappears, are coming up against a range of internet scams.
Melissa Caddick inquest hears request by fraudster’s mother and brother to give evidence – 15 September 2022
An inquest is examining when and where Ms Caddick died. The investigation contain reference to a proposed experiment where by several pig carcasses were cast into the ocean, after being fitted with tracking devices and running shoes. One of the aims was to ascertain the behaviour of sharks, the inquest was told. The court has heard an autopsy was unable to determine if the foot was separated as a result of blunt force, sharp force, or decomposition. The inquest, continues.
11 stories this week:
World-first database set to help WA Police combat threat of 3D-printed guns – 26 August 2022
A world-first database which could help law enforcement agencies investigate criminals who are caught with 3D-printed firearms, has been developed in WA by a forensic expert who fears the technology will be used in crimes in the near future.
What will Australian regulation mean for cryptocurrency? – 26 August 2022
Australia is set to be the first country to do a virtual stocktake of the cryptocurrency sector, in a move that has global commentators buzzing. The initial focus for the government will be ‘token mapping’, which refers to grouping types of crypto assets based on their technological features and underlying code.
Expert says if it’s ‘too good to be true,’ then it’s likely a scam – 26 August 2022
Businesses and consumers should become wary as losses to imposter bond investment scams almost tripled in the first half of 2022, with consumers losing more than $20mil. The imposter bond scams often impersonate legit financial companies or banks and claim that they advance government/treasury bonds or fixed-term deposits.
Bill Shorten issues NDIS fraud crackdown warning as woman jailed, another charged – 27 August 2022
A 47-year-old has been charged for allegedly defrauding the NDIS of more than $300,000 after lodging fraudulent claims for people from across the country, including in Far North Queensland and Victoria.
Julian Assange files latest appeal against extradition to US – 27 August 2022
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lodged an appeal in a UK court against his extradition to the US, where he faces 175 years in jail. Assange has been indicted on 17 espionage charges in the US and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of military and diplomatic documents leaked by whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
Australia’s ASIC lays out roadmap for safeguarding consumers from digital assets scams – 27 August 2022
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) is looking to focus more on protecting consumers from digital assets and cyber crimes, as part of its “Corporate Plan” for 2022-2026.
Scammers shift their sights from card payments to crypto – 28 August 2022
Despite a surge in online card payments, card fraud has reduced because most scammers now ask for payment in cyptocurrencies. Anonymity makes it much more difficult to identify the perpetrators, or recover lost money.
Storage scams look to burn your wallet with fake space – 29 August 2022
It’s not just email or phone scams you need to worry about, but also scams dealing with fake hardware. It’s a scam selling cheap external solid state storage device advertising 30TB, but turning out to instead be two 512MB microSD drives with dodgy firmware.
Corporate cop launches investigation into collapse of AI start-up Metigy – 29 August 2022
ASIC has launched an investigation into the collapse of artificial intelligence marketing start-up Metigy, whose founder (David Farifull) went on an $18 million property buying spree in the months before it went into administration. Fairfull’s private company allegedly received a $7.7 million loan from Metigy in November 2021, for which he signed as both borrower and lender, according to the administrators’ report into the company.
Financial crimes regulator probes Perth Mint – 30 August 2022
The financial crimes regulator has launched an investigation into Perth Mint, Australia’s biggest gold and silver refiner, over what it has described as compliance concerns, and ordered the appointment of an external auditor under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act.
Warrant out for Thai dance Youtuber ‘Nutty’ after hundreds report losing thousands to Forex scam – 31 August 2022
Natthamon aka ”Nutty”, who was a popular YouTuber in Thailand cheated thousands of followers out of nearly $80 million. 6,000 people gave Natthamon money to invest after being promised to see returns of up to 35 percent if they wired through cash.
14 stories this week:
The online scammer targeting you could be trapped in a South-East Asian fraud factory – 21 August 2022
All across South-East Asia, heavily guarded, online scam compounds have sprung up to house industrial-scale scam operations – and to trap people forced to work for them in terrifying conditions. People are forced to come in, they’re being trafficked in and are forced to meet targets.
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‘Hostile’: Victoria Police crackdown on alleged financial fraud scheme – 21 August 2022
Police have arrested six people across Melbourne as part of a crackdown on an alleged nationwide financial fraud scheme, with links to gang members and their associates. They were involved with a number of large-scale deceptions against government agencies, where they provided false details in order to receive fraudulent payments.
ASX-listed company investigated by ASIC for greenwashing – 22 August 2022
The corporate watchdog is conducting at least two investigations into “greenwashing”, including a publicly listed company, as it warns businesses and fund managers to avoid overhyping their climate change credentials.
Ex-F1 boss Ecclestone in court for fraud – 22 August 2022
Former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, has denied fraud over an alleged failure to declare 400 million pounds of overseas assets, to the British government.
Fertile grounds for fraud post COVID – 23 August 2022
Major economic disruption increases the need and opportunity for financial fraud. The article explains why people commit fraud and how certified fraud examiners detect fraudsters who “fudge the figures”.
‘Not my job to be a crypto cheerleader’: ASIC boss warns on risky, volatile cryptocurrency investments – 23 August 2022
One of the regulator’s key priorities was to warn consumers about the risks involved with the crypto investment space. The industry has been calling on the government to introduce legislation to reduce the risk for investors and turn crypto into an established, safer asset class. The former Liberal government developed draft reforms last year which regulators and Treasury are assessing and implementing.
Hackers reportedly deepfaked a Binance exec to carry out listing scams – 24 August 2022
Criminals impersonating executives with the help of technology has become common practice. Binance’s chief communications officer, Patrick Hillman says hackers used a deepfake of his image in Zoom calls to scam cryptocurrency executives. He claims the hackers successfully duped crypto project representatives into thinking he would help their tokens get listed on Binance’s exchange.
Queensland Star casino concerns referred to regulator that approved shareholder with alleged crime links – 24 August 2022
ABC Investigations revealed the business empire behind Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, a key backer of the multi-billion-dollar Queen’s Wharf casino, had criminal associations, including through recent business ties. The ABC’s report has been referred to the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.
Market regulator of Australia protects public from crypto damage – 24 August 2022
The financial regulator ASIC stated in its recently issued “Corporate Plan” that as “developing technology and products disrupt our financial ecosystem,” it will be focused on “digitally enabled misconducts” as part of its four-year strategic plan that extends to 2026. https://www.thecoinrepublic.com/2022/08/24/market-regulator-of-australia-protects-public-from-crypto-damage/
Fraudsters are getting smarter so get to know the red flags, says BDO – 24 August 2022
Fraud and cyber-attacks are on the rise and the red flags are getting harder to spot. The article describes what you can do to help keep yourself and your business safe and recommends organisations take a proactive approach to fraud and cyber risks.
Twitter whistleblower to testify about company’s ‘widespread security failures’ at Senate hearing – 25 August 2022
Twitter’s former security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, will testify at a Senate hearing about the company’s security practices. If Mr. Zatko’s allegations claims are accurate, they may show dangerous data privacy and security risks for Twitter users around the world.
ASIC statement on publication of FRAA report – 25 August 2022
The Financial Regulator Assessment Authority’s (FRAA) report has been released on the review of the Effectiveness and Capability of ASIC. It found that ASIC is effective and capable in the areas reviewed and made four recommendations around enhancing ASIC’s use of data and technology, strengthening its engagement with stakeholders, enhancing its ability to measure effectiveness and capability, and continuing to broaden its mix of skill sets.
Gold Coast couple lose deposit for family home in $39,000 email scam – 25 August 2022
Home buyers are a potentially lucrative target for sophisticated cybercriminals. A Gold coast couple have now potentially lost $39,000 due to transferring the money to a scammer instead of their real estate agent.
Sneaky scam robbing hundreds of millions from Aussies – 26 August 2022
Investment scams have cost Australians over $242 million dollars already this year – a massive rise on last year’s total of $177 million for the entire year. Only 13 per cent of Australians report their losses to Scamwatch so these figures could be much higher.
10 stories this week:
Phishing fraudsters used SIM box to fleece hundreds of victims, police allege – 11 August 2022
An alleged fraud syndicate operating out of homes in Sydney’s northern suburbs used a SIM box to send hundreds of thousands of automated text messages, containing links to fake banking and telecommunication websites, where victims were prompted to enter their details. Police have worked with CBA, NAB and Telstra to identify victims.
INTERPOL launches global awareness campaign to highlight the use of money mules; Executive Director warns moving money for someone else is ‘risky business’ – 11 August 2022
Interpol has launched a new awareness campaign that aims to urge individuals not to become money mules. The campaign reminds people that they are responsible for keeping their own bank accounts safe and that moving money on behalf of others could land them in trouble. It also covers how the industry works, the risks associated and how to avoid becoming a money mule.
Whistleblower protection overhaul needed in Queensland to prevent next Fitzgerald inquiry, experts say – 12 August 2022
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has agreed to the recommendations of three high-profile inquiries that have called for a review of whistleblower protections. But the premier is yet to provide any details about who will lead it and what, specifically, they will be tasked with examining. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/aug/12/whistleblower-protection-overhaul-needed-in-queensland-to-prevent-next-fitzgerald-inquiry-experts-say
Whistleblower lawsuit alleges financial misconduct and dubious expenditures inside Hillsong Church – 12 August 2022
Natalie Moses is suing Hillsong for contravening the Fair Work Act, claiming it breached its own whistleblower policy, by preventing her from raising serious complaints about the church’s financial operations.
New legislation targeting the use of cryptocurrency and digital assets in organised crime introduced in Parliament – 12 August 2022
The Major Crime and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 (Bill) was introduced in the lower house of the Victorian Parliament earlier this month. Some of these reforms are specifically targeted towards the gathering of evidence relating to, and seizure of, digital assets, such as cryptocurrency, used in the commission of offences. The Bill will amend and insert new provisions into the Confiscation Act 1997 (Vic) (Confiscation Act) to strengthen police powers.
SDA seeks $250m compensation from McDonald’s operators who allegedly denied paid breaks to Australian worker – 12 August 2022
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) is seeking compensation on behalf of more than 250,000 current and former McDonald’s workers across Australia. McDonald’s workers have alleged that they were denied 10-minute breaks that they were entitled to.
NDIS taskforce to hunt down organised crime groups ‘robbing’ billions from disability clients – 15 August 2022
A police taskforce to hunt down organised crime groups exploiting the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be established by the government in coming weeks. NDIS anti-fraud teams have recovered a small portion of the alleged billions that have been defrauded from the scheme, charging 18 people since 2020 with a total of about $14 million in alleged fraud.
Drivers warned about toll road text scam as Aussies lose record amount – 17 August 2022
An SMS phishing scam targeting drivers who have toll accounts, has lead to a Gold Coast woman being scammed out of $4,000.
Melbourne mum scammed out of $200,000 after $210 deposit appeared on bank account – 17 August 2022
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), more than $2 billion was robbed from people last year through scams. This mum had a curious deposit in her account and after receiving a phone call and returning the money, large deposits were withdrawn from her account.
Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg pleads guilty to tax evasion – 19 August 2022
Donald Trump’s long time lieutenant has pleaded guilty to tax evasion but due to a deal with prosecutors, he is unlikely to serve more than 100 days in prison. He pleaded guilty to 15 counts, including tax fraud and larceny.
9 stories this week:
Missing Persons Week prompts calls for information on human remains found in South Australia – 4 August 2022
Police have renewed calls for public assistance during National Missing Persons Week, as there are 147 missing persons in South Australia. Detectives say Forensic technology is more advanced than ever.
Syndicate dismantled following investigation into identity theft and bank fraud – 5 August 2022
Financial Crimes Squad detectives have charged four people and dismantled a criminal syndicate, allegedly involved in multiple identity and banking frauds totalling more than $1 million. Police will allege in court the syndicate created a number of shell companies to assist with obtaining cheque books, EFTPOS terminals, and the creation of banking profiles which were then used to procure fraudulent funds.
Prosecutors seek suppression orders in case against tax office whistleblower Richard Boyle – 5 August 2022
Boyle is attempting to use Australia’s whistleblower protections to shield himself from prosecution. The case, being heard in the South Australian district court, is the first major test of the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PID Act). It will be crucial in assessing the strength and practical effectiveness of the nation’s whistleblower protections, which the new attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, is contemplating reforming.
NSW casinos to face AUD$100M fines for misconduct under new reforms – 5 August 2022
Australian Casinos in New South Wales could face fines of up to AUD$100M for misconduct under new reforms announced this week. The NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) announced it will have powers to fine operators up to AUD$100M and hold individual board members and execs accountable for “serious wrongdoing.”
UK Plans To Use Smartwatches & Facial Recognition To Surveil Convicted Migrants – 6 August 2022
Migrants convicted of a crime in the U.K. may soon have to submit five daily facial recognition scans, via a smartwatch as part of sweeping new surveillance practices under consideration by the country’s Home Office and Ministry of Justice. Privacy advocates say the always-on surveillance wearable is cruel, unnecessary, and based on technology plagued by inaccuracy and bias.
Are Australians sleep-walking their way into mass surveillance? – 8 August 2022
Australia is failing to take our digital privacy seriously, warns former human rights commissioner Ed Santow. We don’t get a lot of choice about consenting to digital companies’ privacy policies and how they collect our information, so we actually need to read terms and conditions before agreeing.
Investors advised to watch for scams – 9 August 2022
ACCC Deputy chair has stated ‘that financial losses to imposter bond investment scams has nearly tripled in the first half of this year, with more than $20 million lost by consumers to the sophisticated scams’. These scams impersonate real financial companies or banks and claim to offer Government/Treasury bonds or fixed term deposit.
Telco Circles.Life Fined $200,000 For Fraud Rule Breach – 9 August 2022
Circles.Life, a Singapore-based telco, is facing a fine of $200,000 for breaching fraud regulations. The budget telco that makes use of the Optus network, was called out by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), who found that the company failed to conduct proper identity checks. This in turn, resulted in 42 consumers falling victim to fraud with compromised emails and bank accounts.
Pubs are buying facial recognition technology to track and record you – 10 August 2022
The Australasian Gaming Expo in Sydney this week had exhibitions from multiple companies selling facial recognition technology. They can identify patrons, track their movements and even record their emotions. The Australian Human Rights Commission called for a moratorium on facial recognition technology in “high-risk” decision-making until it was further regulated. Former commissioner and now UTS Professor Edward Santow is part of a group drafting model regulation that is set to be released later this year.
12 stories this week:
With fake photographs of fully-furnished homes, scammers target renters who are desperate to secure housing – 30 July 2022
There has been an increase in real estate scams reported to the ACCC. One family relocating to Adelaide recently lost $3,200 to a scam. The advertised, ‘fully furnished home’ was actually a building site.
Murrumbidgee Mill project caught up in fraud case involving former company directors – 31 July 2022
BCEG International (Australia) Pty Ltd, a company linked to Wagga’s multimillion-dollar Murrumbidgee Mill development, has sued its former directors over the fraudulent transfer of cash to a personal project via false invoices and sham sub-contracts.
Australian police charge man with developing spyware used by more than 14,500 people – 1 August 2022
An Australian man, faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly creating and distributing spyware, that became the subject of a global law enforcement operation. He is accused of creating the Imminent Monitor remote access Trojan (RAT), which was sold to more than 14,500 individuals across 128 countries.
‘I’m a 29-year-old private investigator. Here’s what my life looks like – 1 August 2022
Sydney private investigator Amy Elliott reveal why some Aussies disappear without a trace:
This article is about Amy Elliot, a NSW Private investigator who provides some great examples of the trials and tribulations and the benefits of being a female PI.
Second article outlines why people disappear and how to find them.
Victoria Police given power to seize cryptocurrency wallets under new organised crime laws – 2 August 2022
New laws are being introduced into parliament under the Major Crime and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. They changes are designed to give police greater ability to investigate organised crime, seize proceeds of crime and disrupt organised crime on the black market.
Corporations’ use of facial recognition technology paused after CHOICE investigation – 2 August 2022
An investigation by consumer advocacy group ‘Choice’, found that Kmart and Bunnings were using FRT (Facial Recognition Technology) to ostensibly protect customers and staff while reducing theft in select stores. Choice also found that the chain, The Good Guys uses technology that stores the unique biometric information of its customers. All three giants are now pausing FRT use until the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) provides guidance.
‘Sophisticated’ money launderer granted bail after police seize more than $10 million in goods – 2 August 2022
Australia’s Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) has confiscated more than AUD$10M in assets as part of a major international money laundering probe across the ACT. Officers seized more than eight properties, four high-end vehicles, luxury goods, cash and crypto as part of the raid. A 35-year-old man has been charged.
SEC Says 11 People Fooled Users Out of $AU425 Million in Crypto Pyramid Scheme – 2 August 2022
The Securities and Exchange commission has alleged that 11 people that had helped found and operate the company Forsage were actually operating a crypto pyramid or ponzi scheme, raking in over $AU426 million from worldwide investors. The SEC said the promoters were engaged in the unregistered offer and sale of securities in Forsage and and are now facing civil penalties.
The alleged fraud in Alzheimer’s research and what it means for patients – 2 August 2022
There have been recent allegations that research underpinning widely held understandings of what causes Alzheimer’s may be fraudulent. A potential fabrication of research images and the allegations, now question whether the governing bodies of research and drug approvals are truly effective.
Aussies have been scammed out of more than $20 million in fake bond investment schemes this year – 3 August 2022
The number of Australians scammed by fake bond investment schemes almost tripled in the first half of this year, with losses topping $20 million. The “alarming” spike comes amid rising interest rates, as consumers considering investing in bonds are exposed to the sophisticated frauds.
Four men charged in relation to roofing scam which collected more than $640,000 from Melbourne residents – 3 August 2022
Victoria Police have arrested and charged four people, who are accused of posing as workers from a legitimate roofing company and then collecting more than $640,000, after telling home owners their roofs needed urgent repairs.
Fraudster lands in jail after stealing identity to escape South Australian authorities – 5 August 2022
Travis Whyte stole the identity of a man in South Australia and $25,000 that belonged to him. He was attempting to escape authorities and flee to the Northern Territory. He pleaded guilty to eight offences, including five charges of obtaining benefit by deception.
13 stories this week:
Australian regulators team up to combat digital assets scam sites – 25 July 2022
Two Australian market regulators-the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)-have partnered to combat digital assets scams. They have jointly deployed countermeasures services which automatically take down websites hosting phishing and other scams on a trial basis.
Artificial intelligence can monitor workplaces for safety breaches. Experts say privacy laws are laggin – 25 July 2022
The emergence of artificial intelligence that uses cameras to check for health and safety breaches in the workplace, has raised concerns about a creeping culture of workplace surveillance. Experts say Australian law is not up-to-date, to sufficiently regulate the rising use of AI in the workplace
Bond scammers impersonate Barrenjoey to lure investors – 25 July 2022
Investment bank Barrenjoey, is the latest big name financial institution, to find its brand is being used by imposters posing as representatives of real firms to scam victims seeking high-yield investments.
Access to digital version of AFR required to read article
Australian Corporate Conduct Regulator Releases Guidance On Greenwashing Risks – 25 July 2022
ASIC has released guidance to superannuation and managed funds as to how to avoid the risk of greenwashing when promoting sustainability-related products. e.g., funds and other financial products where investments are made based on environmental or social criteria, amongst other factors.
Urgent warning on supermarket scam spreading on social medi – 26 July 2022
Job seekers around Australia, are being urged to be wary of a new supermarket scam. Letters, which promise applicants a range of ALDI positions and salaries, appear to contain an official ALDI Australia letterhead and watermark and contain instructions which the applicant must follow as part of the recruitment process, which are suspected to enable fraudsters to gain money and or personal details from their victims.
Bunnings, Kmart stop using facial recognition – 26 July 2022
Australia’s creeping surveillance state: Big Brother is on the march
Kmart and Bunnings have temporarily halted their use of facial recognition in stores pending an investigation from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). Public backlash is said to “send a clear message to all retailers” that Australians don’t want invasive surveillance technology, as part of their shopping experience.
Former Darwin resident who defrauded former employers of nearly $90,000 sentenced to two years in prison – 26 July 2022
Kristy Gall, a Darwin resident has been sentenced to two years in prison after defrauding her former employers, Jakes Steel and Welding, for nearly $90,000 over a four-year period. She made 201 unauthorised transactions using a company credit card and paid herself recreational leave she wasn’t entitled to.
End prosecution of ATO whistleblower, Dreyfus urged – 26 July 2022
Legal groups and former senator Rex Patrick have renewed calls for Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus to stop the prosecution of Tax Office whistleblower Richard Boyle. Mr Boyle, spoke publicly in 2018 about aggressive practices by the ATO, including hardline use of so-called garnishee notices, used to claw back tax debts from individuals and business.
Access to digital version of AFR required to read article
Buy Now Pay Later: Risks And Fraud Prevention – 26 July 2022
The buy now, pay later method (BNPL) has started to gain popularity in recent years so fraudsters and cybercriminals have found a way to exploit it for their own gain. Article details the most common types of BNPL fraud and how to prevent it.
Former Melbourne High School business manager pleads guilty to stealing more than $350,000 – 27 July 2022
A 65 year old woman will plead guilty to stealing more than $350,000 from one of Melbourne’s most prestigious schools. She is facing 17 charges dating back to 2012 for modifying invoices.
Australians lose $300 million to scams in first half of 2022 – 27 July 2022
Australians have lost $295 million to scams in the first half of 2022, according to newly released data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch. Investment scams were the most financially damaging during the first half of 2022, causing more than $219 million in losses compared to $177 million lost throughout the entirety of 2021. This was followed by dating and romance scams which have cost Australians $16 million in the first half of 2022
Married Hawaii couple charged with conspiring against US government after allegedly using names of dead children as fake identities – 28 July 2022
A married couple who allegedly lived for decades using the names of two dead children have been charged with identity theft and conspiring against the government. The pair have both been charged with conspiracy to commit an offence against the US, false statement in passport application and aggravated identity theft.
The real reason behind hundreds of customers queueing outside a Bank of China in Sydney’s CBD as five institutions have their entire fortunes FROZEN amid fraud allegations – 28 July 2022
Dozens of people have flocked to the Bank of China in Sydney after the Communist government froze transactions at five banks over illegal practices. Chinese authorities confirmed Henan New Fortune, had illegally manipulated its banks into holding its customer’s money in an attempt to defraud investors. A three-month investigation uncovered the abuse, with the Chinese government promising to pay back their money.
12 stories this week:
Five face possible tax fraud charges and 40,000 under investigation – 14 July 2022
The Australian Taxation Office has executed more raids this week as part of a “zero tolerance” crackdown on GST tax fraud. Five suspected Sydney fraudsters could now face charges, and another 40,000 individuals are under investigation, suspected of inventing fake businesses to claim false refunds.
Crime commission says NSW poker machine laws may increase money laundering risks – 14 July 2022
A proposal from the NSW Crime Commission has indicated that some of the state’s gambling laws have increased the risk of money laundering through poker machines, as well as lowering club credit limits “significantly.”
Preventing Financial Fraud in Accounts Payable – 15 July 2022
Cybercriminals have realised humans are the weakest link in security and are using social engineering techniques, to trick accounts payable teams into assisting in fraud, without even knowing it. An excellent article providing links to Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Centre’s guide and tips and processes that companies should implement in their Accounts Payable department.
Private drone use needs federal safety, privacy laws – 15 July 2022
Private drone use is not covered by specific regulations and there is no consistency in laws across states. Use of drones are open to privacy issues, nuisance claims, and surveillance and stalking. Article says Legal framework should include third party liability, owner registration & mandatory flight log.
Australia a honeypot for Indian student visa fraudsters – 18 July 2022
After the government removed limitations on students’ work hours in any industry early in 2022 to help businesses crippled by skills, there was an increase in visa fraud and falling education standards.
COVID-19 lockdowns see rise in bank and credit-card fraud as more people work and shop from home – 18 July 2022
Australian Banking Association chief executive Anna Bligh, says card fraud remains a serious problem in Australia. Almost 7 per cent of the adult population or 1.4 million Australians experienced card fraud in 2020-21. Fraud on bank and credit-card transactions also rose 9.2pc to $490 million over the 2020-21 financial year.
Former investment scheme operator faces 50 fraud charges – 20 July 2022
Perth businessman Chris Marco, has been criminally charged after being accused by the corporate regulator, of a large-scale fraud that led to investors losing millions, in an unlicensed managed investor scheme.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews apologises after IBAC investigation finds ‘extensive misconduct’ by Labor MPs – 20 July 2022
Operation Watts was a joint probe between the Victorian Ombudsman and the state’s anti-corruption watchdog. The investigation was prompted by 2020 reports detailing allegations of branch stacking – a process used to recruit party members by paying for their membership. The report has 21 recommendations to address ongoing corruption risks.
Regulator’s three-pronged plan for tackling national scam threat – 20 July 2022
ACCC boss Gina Cass-Gottlieb has outlined her favoured approach for reducing the cost that scammers put upon Australians, with a focus on better collaboration between government, consumer groups and the private sector. She also believes the true figure for scam losses incurred in 2021 was $2 billion.
The growing WhatsApp scam that has cost Aussies $2.3m in 2022 – 21 July 2022
Mother loses $4,500 in a sophisticated text message scam from someone pretending to be her daughter: ‘Everyone’s just got to be so careful’
What do TikTok, Bunnings, eBay and Netflix have in common? They’re all hyper-collectors using mass surveillance – 21 July 2022
An electronic scan of your face is taken and stored by many Australian retail chains. This new phenomenon – “hyper-collection” – represents a growing trend by large companies to collect, sort, analyse and use more information than they need, usually in covert or passive ways. In many cases, hyper-collection is not supported by a truly legitimate commercial or legal purpose. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-07-21/faceprint-mass-surveillance-data-collection-privacy/101254838
Mustang in bank’s sights as Tesoriero’s gift to girlfriend queried – 21 July 2022
Westpac’s lawyers have been reviewing assets and income disclosed by business partners of Bill Papas, who allegedly orchestrated the $500 million fraud. The disclosures of Vincenzo “Vince” Tesoriero, who the bank alleges was in on the scheme or ought to have known about the $500 million fraud, have become increasingly important. https://www.watoday.com.au/national/mustang-in-bank-s-sights-as-tesoriero-s-gift-to-girlfriend-queried-20220720-p5b38i.html
Access to WA/SMH today required to read article.
13 stories this week:
An elaborate LinkedIn scam led to one of the largest heists in crypto history – 8 July 2022
An elaborate LinkedIn scam was the source of one of the world’s largest crypto heists. An employee at Sky Mavis, the developer of the Axie Infinity Game was approached via LinkedIn with a fake job offer. The scammers then abused the trust they had developed to infect the individual’s device with malware. The hack saw 173,600 ether and 25.5 million USD Coin stolen, totalling $625 million in value.
Police charge man after more than $170,000 stolen during BEC scam – 8 July 2022
Detectives have charged a man over his alleged involvement in a business email compromise scam, against a Sydney telecommunications business. The business deposited $177,000 into a fraudulent account upon receiving an altered invoice for payment.
Five big trends in how Australians are getting scammed – 8 July 2022
According to the ACCC, Australians lost an estimated $2 billion to fraudsters, more than double that of 2022. Top of the list are investment scams, dating and romance scams, false billing, remote access scams and threats or blackmail. Article details the five scam types that have grown most in value from 2020.
Crypto could lead to royal commission within a decade: McGrathNicol – 11 July 2022
A lack of regulation around the spruiking of cryptocurrency assets and services is leaving consumers at risk of poor advice and fraud, with the avenues of recourse unclear, restructuring and advisory firm McGrathNicol warns.
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South Australian man pleads guilty to falsifying payslips to help Vietnamese migrants secure home loans – 11 July 2022
Lam Duc Vu, who was a Justice of the Peace, provided false payslips to banks, in a bid to help Vietnamese migrants buy properties, that they otherwise could not have secured. He pleaded guilty to at least 10 counts of dishonest dealings with documents between 2016 and 2017.
Kristi Anne Barden, 46, sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to one theft charge and 47 fraud charges – 11 July 2022
A mother-of-two was sentenced to four years in prison for stealing more than $178,000 from her bosses. Perth’s Kristi Anne Barden billed her employer – an environmental advisory group called Strategen – for luxury vacations and a rental car, and kept a company laptop even after she was laid off.
Indian police bust fake cricket league streamed for Russian punters – 12 July 2022
Police in India have shut down an elaborate hoax cricket league that saw labourers masquerading as professional cricket players, allegedly to dupe gamblers in Russia. The organisers broadcasted at least five matches on YouTube, before the police intervened. Gamblers bet almost $6,000 on the results and four people have been arrested in relation to the fake match.
ACCC calls for banks to name check transfers to cut fraud – 12 July 2022
Banks are being pressured to ensure money transferred online, arrives in the correct account, by confirming the name of the intended recipient. A move the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says will reduce the $420 million worth of frauds that occur each year.
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‘Whack-a-mole’: Scam text crackdown to force telcos into action – 12 July 2022
Australians frustrated with scam text messages will be protected under new rules that force Telcos to track and block fraud, but experts warn the efforts won’t stop worsening financial crime.
Chinese bank scam victims to be repaid after protests turn violent – 12 July 2022
Approx. 10 million people are calling on the authorities to return tens of billions of yuan of deposits in a suspected financial scam. It has prompted the banking watchdog to speed up drafting a plan to resolve risks even as a police investigation is still ongoing.
Kmart, Bunnings investigated for facial recognition us – 13 July 2022
Kmart and Bunnings will be called before the Information Commissioner, to explain exactly how their use of facial recognition to monitor customers in their stores, is in line with Australian privacy laws, following last month’s revelations that retailers had quietly begun using the controversial surveillance technology.
Josh’s tax file number was stolen. Now his personal data is at risk – and his money – 14 July 2022
An ABC Radio presenter in Brisbane, was shocked when his accountant informed him his TFN had been blocked by the ATO because it had been “compromised”, and he could not file his tax return. A stolen TFN could mean that refunds and documents could be obtained without your knowledge or permission. A good reminder to check your MyGov and superannuation accounts.
ASIC investigation uncovers ‘concerning consumer losses from trading in CFDs’ – 14 July 2022
Following an ASIC investigation, Sirius Financial was found engaging an offshore call centre, to source clients to trade in high-risk contracts-for-difference (CFDs) and margin foreign exchange contracts products. It was found that the call centre representatives used “pressure selling tactics” and provided clients with personal advice without the licence to do so.
9 stories this week:
New ID check anti-scam rules apply from today – 30 June 2022
New rules to protect consumers from scams that target customer interactions with telcos came into force on 30 June 2022. The rules introduced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are designed to prevent unauthorised access by scammers to people’s telco services and personal information.
Woman loses $35k to scammer using Westpac’s phone number – 1 July 2022
Article explains how Jess Ridley was scammed by a third-party imitating Westpac telephone numbers. The TV presenter was conned out of $35,000. According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, call line identification over-stamping, where the person calling you displays a different number from the one they are calling from, is legal unless it is being done for unlawful or malicious purposes. This is called caller ID spoofing.
CBA wants cross-industry code to reduce scam risk – 4 July 2022
CBA wants a new scam code being developed by Treasury to include banks, digital platforms, telcos, crypto exchanges and other payments providers to make sure the costs of growing levels of fraud are shared equitably. The bank has also introduced stricter transaction authentication processes in its banking app.
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Scammers stole over $2 billion from Australians last year – more than double 2020’s total: ACCC – 4 July 2022
Australians lost more than $2 billion to scammers in 2021, the ACCC estimates. This is more than double the amount lost the previous year. The increase was driven by a rise in crypto investment scams and pyramid schemes.
‘Placate her anger’: investigation dismisses allegations of domestic violence against Queensland police officer – 5 July 2022
A Queensland police whistleblower said the police chose not to pursue credible domestic violence allegations against a serving officer, after dismissing his wife as having “mental health issues” and needing to be “calmed down”. The whistleblower, a former senior sergeant, has made an unpublished submission to a Queensland inquiry into police culture and the handling of domestic violence cases.
Prosecution of whistleblower lawyer Bernard Collaery dropped after decision by attorney general – 7 July 2022
The Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, has dropped the prosecution against Witness K’s lawyer, Bernard Collaery, for allegedly revealing spying on Timor-Leste. Collaery was charged with unlawfully disclosing information about an Australian Secret Intelligence Service mission to bug the government offices of Timor-Leste.
Canberra men found guilty of conspiring to manipulate recruitment processes for IT staff in the Department of Finance – 7 July 2022
Abdul ‘Alex’ El-Debel and Raminder Kahlon who were accused of conspiring to manipulate the recruitment processes for IT staff in the federal Department of Finance have now been found guilty by a jury in the ACT Supreme Court.
Early detection crucial in stopping BEC scams – 7 July 2022
Research by Cofense Intelligence has revealed that Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams attempt to establish trust with targeted employees over multiple emails. Great article that describes key signs on how to spot fraudulent emails.
Former Theranos president Sunny Balwani found guilty of fraud, conspiracy – 8 July 2022
A US jury has convicted former Theranos president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani of defrauding investors and patients about the blood testing startup that was once valued at $9 billion. Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos were accused of lying to investors about their machines’ ability to run a broad range of tests from a few drops of blood.
9 stories this week:
Cabinet backs new money laundering laws to target organised crime – 23 June 2022
The NSW government will introduce laws to confiscate unexplained wealth from criminal gangs and ban the use of encrypted devices as part of long-waited reforms to combat money laundering and organised crime. The new measures are designed to cripple the finances of crime networks, stopping criminals from profiting from their actions and incapacitating them financially.
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Man sentenced in Batemans Bay court for dealing with proceeds of online puppy scam – 27 June 2022
Steven Rootsey, from NSW has been fined $6,000 and sentenced to a two-year community corrections order for dealing with nearly $50,000 in swindled funds related to an online puppy scam. He was asked to convert money to cryptocurrency by an unknown person via Snapchat and was promised 10 per cent of the funds in return.
Queensland IT guru found guilty of $73,000 insurance fraud – 28 June 2022
Anthony Onyeka Okeke tricked Allianz Insurance and QBE Insurance into paying insurance claims, for four vehicles after he staged or fabricated a series of crashes. He was found guilty of defrauding insurance companies of more than $40,000 and trying to dishonestly get more than $30,000.
Government hunts down fake businesses with intensified fraud crackdown – 28 June 2022
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) executed raids across the country to crack down on individuals suspected of defrauding by inventing fake businesses and ABNs to claim false refunds.
Zhenya Tsvetnenko handed eight-year jail term in US for multi-million-dollar text message scam – 29 June 2022
Perth man Zhenya Tsvetnenko has been sentenced to eight years in a federal US prison, for his role in a multi-million-dollar text messaging scam. Tsvetnenko and his co-conspirators defrauded hundreds of thousands of mobile telephone consumers in the United States by placing unauthorised charges on their mobile phone bills. The practice – known as “auto-subscribing”.
‘Cryptoqueen’ accused of $US4 billion OneCoin fraud added to FBI’s most-wanted list – 1 July 2022
Ruja Ignatova is the 11th woman in history to be added to the FBI ten most wanted fugitive list. Dr Ignatova launched OneCoin in 2014 with Sebastian Greenwood, who is currently in prison awaiting trial. The catch with OneCon was that there was no blockchain, a piece of information which keeps a record of transactions made by cryptocurrencies. This meant the coin had no value.
Adelaide’s SkyCity casino faces independent review as casino industry probe widens – 1 July 2022
South Australian authorities have launched an independent review of Adelaide’s SkyCity casino, in light of similar inquiries into casinos interstate. AUSTRAC’s has had concerns with ”ongoing customer due diligence” and adopting, maintaining, and complying with an anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing program.
Australia to review carbon offsets following ‘fraud’ allegations – 1 July 2022
Australia’s new Labor government has appointed a top scientist to lead a six-month review of the country’s carbon credits, following allegations of fraud e.g projects earning credits for growing trees that were already in place and getting credits for growing forests on land that cannot sustain forests.
Jail a possibility for Guy Sebastian’s former manager, as singer says guilty verdict is ‘a lot to absorb’ – 1 July 2022
Guy Sebastian’s former manager Titus Day has avoided jail, for now, as he awaits to be sentenced for embezzling more than $600,000 from the singer. The 49-year-old will be sentenced on September 16.
10 stories this week:
Corporate adviser Anthony Torre charged with ripping almost $2 million from client – 17 June 2022
Mr Anthony Paul Torre appeared at the Perth Magistrates Court charged with eight counts of fraud and five counts of stealing pursuant to sections 409 and 378 of the Criminal Code (WA). It is alleged that Mr Torre stole, or with intent to defraud obtained, approximately $1.882 million from his clients and used the funds from his clients’ accounts for his own benefit.
Tax office and federal police conduct raids over billion-dollar tax scam spread on TikTok and Facebook – 17 June 2022
Tax officers and federal police have raided a dozen locations across Australia in the past three days, as part of an investigation into a billion-dollar tax scam that has gone viral on social media. The number of people involved now is about 70,000, with the ATO investigating $850m in payments to 40,000 people.
Transport company fined $89,000 for breaching fatigue management laws – 17 June 2022
JSS Logistics Pty Ltd, a transport service company has been fined a total of $89,000 after being convicted on 24 charges under the State’s workplace fatigue management laws. The audit found the company’s drivers did not have the rest breaks and non-work time required by the regulations, and that the required records were not kept to the standard required by law.
One word saves Perth man’s $6m fortune from being stolen by hackers – 17 June 2022
Business email compromises, have “exploded” over the last two years against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. A Perth businessman nearly lost $6 million to hackers but one misspelt word saved his fortune from falling into the wrong hands and disappearing forever.
Corporate culture, not ‘bad apples’ to blame at Star, inquiry told – 17 June 2022
An inquiry into the ability of the Star Sydney to hold a casino licence, has revealed that it has failed to realise the effect of its terrible corporate culture. The NSW gaming regulator is hearing submissions from lawyers on behalf of witnesses at the long-running inquiry, which has probed allegations of money laundering, organised crime, fraud and foreign interference at Star and its Sydney venue.
Access to digital version of SMH required to read article
Aussies have lost over $205 million to investment scams, says ACCC – 17 June 2022
The ACC says that since the start of the year, Australians have lost over $205 million to investment scams. That’s a 116% increase on the same period last year. In 2021, Australians lost over $320 million in scams in total, with the majority of the monetary loss coming from investment scams-about $177 million-and dating scams-about $56 million. Article also lists how to spot a scam.
50 businesses under investigation by FWO – 22 June 2022
Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker has announced the regulator’s strategic priorities for the year ahead, include investigating large corporate underpayments. Currently 50 large corporates have self-reported non-compliance and since mid-2021, they have commenced court actions against Woolworths Group, Commonwealth Bank and Coles. http://www.ragtrader.com.au/news/50-businesses-under-investigation-by-fwo
Paul Whyte corruption hearing told he started charging for fake services two days after being hired – 22 June 2022
Paul Ronald Whyte, a senior public servant who perpetrated one of the biggest rorts of taxpayer funds in recent Australian history, invoiced a company for work never provided on his corporate credit card. The commission is examining how a person in such a senior position as Whyte, was able to systematically defraud the state to such an extent and whether the governance of the department had contributed to or enabled it.
NT ICAC failed to offer procedural fairness to Darwin Turf Club board member in investigation into $12 million grandstand grant, court finds – 23 June 2022
The Northern Territory’s anti-corruption watchdog failed to offer procedural fairness to board member Damien Moriarty, before making findings of improper conduct in a major corruption investigation. Findings were over the handling of a $12 million government grant for the new facility at Darwin’s Fannie Bay racecourse.
Mining companies accused of corporate failure in shocking WA FIFO sexual harassment report – 23 June 2022
A West Australian parliamentary committee has urged the state’s resources sector to consider a register for perpetrators of serious sexual harassment on fly-in, fly-out sites similar to a working with children check. It was one of 24 recommendations made by the parliamentary inquiry into sexual harassment against women in the mining industry, triggered after a spate of alleged sexual assaults on WA FIFO workers.
Access to digital version of SMH required to read article
13 stories this week:
Religious fraudster jailed for stealing $2.7m from worshipper and gambling it away at casin – 10 June 2022
Munir Muzafar Fakhrud Hassanali who defrauded a fellow member of a Perth religious community out of $2.7 million and gambled most of it away, has been sentenced to six years and nine months jail. He was found guilty of 82 fraud offences committed between June 2017 and November 2019.
Western Sydney man and woman charged over covid-19 payment fraud – 10 June 2022
Two Malaysian nationals have been charged over their alleged roles in a syndicate suspected of fraudulently claiming more than $440,000 in COVID-19 Disaster Payments. Police allege customers who had employed the online service, had provided identity documents to the ‘agents’ and some reportedly paid up to $1000 for the agents to facilitate their claims.
Prosecuting UK Corporate Fraud May Be About to Get Much Easier – 10 June 2022
New Long-awaited UK law reforms include an option, that would make it a criminal offence, for a company to fail to prevent a fraud, according to a series of proposals by the Law Commission. The laws would help boost conviction rates, by allowing authorities to target companies, that failed to put measures in place to prevent their own staff committing fraud.
Isolation. Strip-searches. Rape: Inside a Tasmanian youth detention centre – 10 June 2022
In October 2019, Alysha was hired to introduce better care to the Ashley Youth Detention Centre in Tasmania. She revealed her belief that sexual and other abuse of vulnerable children and teen detainees was systemically covered up or mishandled. Eventually, she raised her concerns with two Tasmanian premiers, as well as a commission of inquiry. To date, 32 Tasmanian public servants have been stood down pending the commission’s findings. The Ashley Youth Detention Centre is set to close in three years’ time.
Man’s $651k horror after Googling partner’s name – 11 June 2022
Luke Allen has accused his former partner of stealing his identity and racking up thousands of dollars in debt in his name. He believes credit cards and loans were taken out in his name, totalling $651,060, which Allen claims to have had no knowledge of. In a statement, Victoria Police said detectives had received a report of fraud, alleged to have been committed over a four-year period.
Queensland launches inquiry into Star’s suitability to hold a casino licence – 14 June 2022
The Queensland government will launch an inquiry into Star Entertainment’s suitability to hold a casino licence, after a NSW inquiry heard allegations that Star had potentially acted criminally. Star has also been called to give evidence at an inquiry into proposed gambling and money laundering laws in Queensland.
Melbourne company convicted after ABF investigation into illegal workers – 14 June 2022
A Melbourne company (M & G Vizzari Pty Ltd) who operates farms, has been convicted and fined following an Australian Border Force (ABF) investigation into community allegations of the use of illegal workers.
ASIC escalates investigation into Sweetman Renewables – 14 June 2022
ASIC has escalated the Nature Conservation Council’s complaint about possibly misleading and deceptive conduct by Cessnock-based energy start-up Sweetman Renewables, to a full-blown inquiry. There seemed to be numerous media articles that stated Sweetman has signed a contract with a Japanese company to supply woodchips but in fact this was not the case.
Kmart, Bunnings and The Good Guys under investigation over use of facial recognition cameras – 15 June 2022
Consumer group CHOICE is looking into the retail giants’ use of the controversial technology, which is used on customers as they enter stores. CHOICE said some survey respondents described the technology as “creepy and invasive” and “unnecessary and dangerous”.
Creating A Federal Anti-Corruption Commission: What Does It Mean For Australian Business? – 15 June 2022
One of Labor’s election policies is to introduce a National Anti-Corruption Commission. During the election campaign, Labor promised that any Commission created would be “real”, and a “powerful, transparent and independent” Commission. Article discusses the implications for business and corporate Australia.
Israeli court finds Gaza aid worker guilty of financing terrorism – 16 June 2022
Mohammad El Halabi, the former head of the US-based charity World Vision’s Gaza office, was arrested in 2016 after being accused by Israel’s Shin Bet security service of transferring tens of millions of dollars to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group in control inside the Gaza Strip. He has been held in pre-trial detention since. He has now been convicted after a six-year-long case and will be sentenced.
Peter Foster faces court on the Gold Coast, slams fraud-related charges as ‘bogus’ – 17 June 2022
Peter Foster has faced Southport Magistrates Court over fraud-related charges. He is accused of defrauding a Hong Kong pilot of Bitcoin, valued at about $2 million, in 2019 and 2020.
Guy Sebastian had ‘barrow to push’ against former manager accused of embezzling $800,000, court told – 17 June 2022
Mr Day, Guy Sebastians former manager has pleaded not guilty in the NSW District Court to 50 charges over the alleged embezzlement of nearly $900,000 from Sebastian, who he managed for a decade. These were for royalties and performance feels. The Judge directed jurors to find Mr Day not guilty of three embezzlement counts, however, 47 remained.
11 stories this week:
How Telstra gave my details to crypto scammers – 3 June 2022
Illegal access to a Telstra account enabled scammers to have access to a victims emails and therefore all sorts of personal banking information. They were able to .get banking and credit card details, and looked for opportunities to defraud this victim’s family, friends and colleagues. A good article showing how to spot a telco scam.
AI facial recognition, the new detention – 6 June 2022
Hear Professor Toby Walsh, Professor of artificial intelligence, UNSW School of Computer Science & Engineering discuss the use of Face recognition apps and the safeguards to protect our digital privacy and freedoms in Australia.
Flood recovery grant fraud battle slows cash flow for those who desperately need it – 6 June 2022
Businesses and residents in northern New South Wales say their details have been used for fraudulent grant applications. When Andrea Bonotto’s applied for the second part of an approved small business recovery grant, he was told someone else had already claimed it. 2,705 flood recovery applications worth a combined total of nearly $30 million are under review for possible fraud.
Aussies Scammed Over $200M So Far This Year – 6 June 2022
Between January 1 and May 1, Australians lost over $205 million to scams, a 166 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, according to new data from Scamwatch. Dodgy investment scams make up $158 million of the $205 million, and jumping by 314 per cent year-on-year. Of these, $113 million are crypto investments.
Why are so many big tech whistleblowers women? Here is what the research shows – 6 June 2022
A computer scientist and a sociologist, explore the nature of big tech whistleblowing, the influence of gender, and the implications for technology’s role in society. The intriguing results are detailed in this article.
Former policeman who beefed up resume with ‘inexplicable’ lies avoids jail – 8 June 2022
Peter Ravenscroft , a former detective has managed to avoid jail despite lying on his resume to con Frankston local council into paying him $456,038 over 2 years and then tricking Victoria’s public watchdog into giving him a job paying $196,857.
Guilty plea to market manipulation following ASIC investigation into online ‘pump and dump’ posts – 8 June 2022
Using social media to coordinate ‘pump and dump’ activity in listed stocks is an offence under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Article explains, how ASIC continues to take action against this form of ‘market manipulation’.
Albanese government promises national corruption watchdog will have power to investigate pork-barrelling – 8 June 2022
Mark Dreyfus has confirmed Labor’s national integrity commission will have the power to investigate pork-barrelling as well as “serious and systemic” past corruption allegations. Pork barreling is in reference to the utilisation of government funds for projects designed to please voters or legislators and win vote.
Google to act on scam ads for financial services – 9 June 2022
Tech giant Google, says it will allow advertising only from financial services providers that have been externally verified, in an effort to crack down on scam ads.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
Forex Capital Trading liquidators hoping to claw back cash for investors from Gibraltar – 10 June 2022
Liquidators are hoping to claw back cash for “vulnerable” Australians who lost tens of millions with a trading company Forex Capital Trading (ForexCT). There is speculation that ‘Invesus’ is their parent company and therefore liable but because they are located in Gilbratar, this will be difficult. Gibraltar is known for its tax benefits for overseas companies.
Former CSIRO executive Mark Wallis jailed for two years after defrauding government of $300,000 – 10 June 2022
Mark Wallis, a former Senior Officer from the CSIRO, has been sentenced to two years in jail for fraud. He spent more than $300,000 of the agency’s money on items including a washing machine, a jet ski and two cars.
10 stories this week:
Whistleblowers’ and journalists’ sources protected under ‘shield laws’ passed in Queensland – 26 May 2022
The identity of whistleblowers’ and journalists’ confidential sources will be protected under new ‘shield’ laws passed in Queensland. The laws will prevent journalists having to disclose information if doing so will reveal the identity of a confidential informant.
Elon Musk reacts to deepfake video of him promoting crypto scam – 27 May 2022
CEO Elon Musk has reacted to a viral video of him promoting a crypto scam, saying “Yikes not me”. The video was made through deepfake, which uses artificial intelligence that manipulates faces and audio files. BitVex, a bogus trading platform, was responsible for the scam.
Businessman under ASIC investigation distributed intimate photo of ex-wife – 28 May 2022
Renato ‘Rennie’ De Maria is currently under investigation by ASIC. He pleaded guilty to circulating an intimate image of his ex-wife and a breach of a family violence intervention order.
The ‘SlumDoge Millionaire’ made it big with crypto. His fortune is now vanishing but he’s all in – 30 May 2022
Glauber Contessoto has become an online celebrity after his Dogecoin windfall, becoming known as the ‘Dogecoin Millionaire’ to his fans. John Reed Stark a lawyer in Washington DC, told four corners that he believes that crypto is one big Ponzi scheme and it facilitates crime. He says it has no underlying intrinsic value and the main reason that people invest in cryptocurrency is because they believe that there’s a greater fool out there.
Crown hit with $80m fine over ‘clandestine, deliberate’ bank card scam – 30 May 2022
Crown Resorts has been hit with a record $80 million fine over its illegal practice of accepting Chinese bank cards at its Melbourne casino to fund gambling and disguising the transactions as hotel expenses.
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Star Entertainment Group not suitable to run Sydney casino, inquiry told – 31 May 2022
Several top executives have resigned over the course of an inquiry by the NSW gaming regulator, which has heard allegations of money laundering, fraud and criminal infiltration at the casino. It was established that Star Entertainment Group is “not suitable” to hold a licence for its Sydney casino.
Call to protect Aussies from crypto scams – 31 May 2022
A submission has been made to the new federal government calling for urgent cryptocurrency reforms. In 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received more than 10,000 reports of crypto scams from consumers with losses totalling about $129 million.
Adelaide man charged over alleged property investment scam worth more than $6 million – 2 June 2022
An Adelaide man has been arrested for allegedly deceiving five people to invest large sums of money in properties that never existed.
US lawyer Michael Avenatti jailed for four years for defrauding Stormy Daniels – 3 June 2022
Michael Avenatti, a US lawyer who represented adult film star Stormy Daniels, known for an alleged affair with Donald Trump, has been sentenced to four years in prison for defrauding his former client of $413,000 in book proceeds. He is convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
WA man’s assets seized over laundering – 3 June 2022
A West Australian man has handed over $4 million in assets, including cash in bank accounts, an apartment and other property, after an international money laundering and tax fraud investigation by the Australian Federal Police. Suspicious international banking activity and large fund transfers brought about the investigation.
10 stories this week:
Accountant charged over alleged tax-related frauds – Financial Crimes Squad – 20 May 2022
An accountant and registered tax agent will face court for alleged tax-related frauds totalling almost $600,000. It is alleged that the man submitted fraudulent tax returns which had been altered without his clients’ knowledge in order to obtain a financial benefit. It is further alleged that he made a number of fraudulent applications to the COVID-19 JobKeeper Payment scheme on behalf of clients without their knowledge.
Astrophotographer faces charges for stealing $23K from photo association – 20 May 2022
Mark Culley, a photographer from Queensland has been charged with fraud and theft of $23,000 after using Photoshop to fake legal bank statements while being the President and Treasurer of the Professional Photographers’ Association of Queensland (PPAQ).
NSW teacher loses $500k to elaborate scam two months in the makin – 20 May 2022
A family from NSW found a website offering bonds affiliated with ANZ called Capel Court, with an Australian Business Number. Authenticity was even double-checked with ASIC. The problem is there really is a Capel Court bonds company that ANZ owns – but this wasn’t it. The scammers had stolen the company’s credentials and pretended to be them.
Fraud alert! AI identifies the four stages of a scam phone call – 21 May 2022
Australian researchers have used machine-learning techniques to identify the typical four stages of fraudulent money-taking phone calls. It is said to be one of the only studies to unpack the content of scam calls and the psychological tricks used by attackers in depth.
Advisers urged to treat unsolicited green bond investment opportunities with caution – 23 May 2022
The corporate regulator warned of scammers offering fake green bonds by representing themselves as well-known financial services firms. High in demand, ‘Green bonds’ are used to finance new and existing projects that offer climate change and environmental benefits – that are not directly available to the general public or retail investors.
The most common online scams in Australia – 23 May 2022
The ACCC reported that Australian citizens lost a record $851 million to scams during the pandemic, and these huge losses show no signs of abating. But we can work together to be more scam aware, and there are things you can do to prevent yourself from falling victim to a scam. The article provides breakdown of the most common online scams in Australia and how to can avoid them.
Steven Rootsey in Batemans Bay court for dealing with proceeds of puppy scam – 24 May 2022
Steven Rootsey has been convicted of dealing with nearly $50,000 swindled through an online puppy scam. He was asked to convert the stolen money into crypto currency by an unknown scammer for the benefit of keeping 10 percent for himself.
Employee fraud: recent developments in Australia – 25 May 2022
Article describes two recent cases of fraud in the workplace. One was a director from Deloitte who allegedly stole millions to pay for personal luxury items and another was an employee of Rentokil who falsified invoices and defrauded 3.2 million. Article also discusses how to mitigate the risk of employee fraud.
The inside story of the Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund collapse and the missing millions – 27 May 2022
Many had paid thousands of dollars to ACBF (Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund) over decades, after signing up to funeral insurance policies under the mistaken belief that it was a funeral savings fund owned and run by Aboriginal people. ASIC has confirmed it is investigating past and present directors for breaches of both the corporations act and the ASIC act.
Fraudster jailed after losing millions from his South Taranaki iwi – 27 May 2022
An Australia-based fraudster has brought shame as well as a loss of mana and trust to his iwi (Maori NZ Society) after the organisation lost more than $3 million in a series of sophisticated investments.
12 stories this week:
Organised crime thrives because NSW cannot follow the money – 13 May 2022
Up until recent inquiries into The Star and Crown casinos, few people would have even thought that money laundering was a huge problem in Australia. Article explains how it is still an issue.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read full article.)
Áustrac’s chief executive defends financial crime regulator after NSW Police Assistant Commissioner said watchdog was ‘not swinging hard enough’ – 13 May 2022
The CEO of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Nicole Rose has rejected recent allegations that the agency has been too focused on banks. Recent actions by AUSTRAC against banks for anti-money laundering (AML) violations have resulted in record-breaking corporate penalties, such as the AU$700M fine against Commonwealth Bank in 2017 and the AU$1.3BN fine against Westpac in 2019.
Access to digital version of AML Intelligence site required to read full article
Australia’s treatment of whistleblowers will be its damnation – 13 May 2022
Article provides examples of how whistleblowers have been treated worldwide. The way Witness K and his barrister Bernard Collary have been the subject of Australian Govt. legal proceedings over the leaking of information to the East Timorese Government of secret recordings made by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), sends a message to the world that our great democracies intend on continuing to deceive and cover up.
Papas’ girlfriend denies knowledge of alleged scam – 13 May 2022
The girlfriend of alleged Forum fraudster Bill Papas has denied any knowledge of the alleged scam that saw Westpac and other banks bilked out of almost $500 million.
Bitcoin runaway Peter Foster gets bail despite six-month disappearance – 13 May 2022
Peter Foster, the self-described “man of mischief” and now alleged fraudster, has been released on bail from prison despite not turning up to court last year and going on the run for six months.
(Access to digital version of SMH required to read full article.)
Jeremiah Deakin sentenced to two and a half years in jail for deceiving former sex client into paying him $718,000 – 16 May 2022
Jeremiah Deakin pleaded guilty to posing as a female ASIO officer as part of an elaborate scam to obtain money from a former sex client. He has been sentenced to nearly two and a half years in jail by the ACT Supreme Court.
FSC calls for ban on scam ads on Facebook, Google – 16 May 2022
The Financial Services Council has called for a mandatory code of conduct to regulate advertising via technology giants Google and Facebook and better protect the public from financial scams.
NSW couple loses $500k to highly sophisticated scam – 16 May 2022
A New South Wales couple has lost half a million dollars to a highly sophisticated scam, thinking they were investing in a legitimate finance company. The scammers were allegedly using ANZ Capel Court ABN number and financial services’ licence.
Prominent Sydney corporate lawyer set to be grilled by Ponzi scheme investigators – 18 May 2022
A leading Australian corporate lawyer John Landerer is set to be grilled in court alongside casino giants Crown and The Star, over their alleged links to one of Australia’s biggest Ponzi schemes.
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Melissa Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti hands couple’s mansion to receivers – 19 May 2022
The husband of Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick has officially vacated the couple’s luxury mansion in eastern Sydney. Despite being forced to vacate his home, Mr Koletti is fighting for a cut of the sale, along with duped investors. The property with views of the Sydney Opera House is said to be worth between $15-$17 million.
Court slaps manager with six-figure penalty for compensation fraud – 19 May 2022
A Victorian court had recently ruled that a Melbourne-based business manager must pay back $100,000 in overpayments after the court found that he defrauded the state’s workers’ compensation scheme.
Melbourne woman sentenced to time served for ‘brazen’ identity theft bank scam – 19 May 2022
Kristel Galvin-Samie from Melbourne, used wigs and sunglasses to hoodwink some of Australia’s biggest banks into giving her more than $260,000 belonging to other customers, has walked free from court. She was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and complete a community corrections order.