News and Analysis
The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator. Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.
Andrew James Williamson, a Frankston council’s former infrastructure manager has admitted to defrauding ratepayers out of $460,870 by creating fake invoices.
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/former-frankston-council-manager-admits-to-460-000-fraud-20200730-p55gu3.html – :~:text=A%20former%20Frankston%20City%20Council,relationship%20with%20his%20new%20girlfriend.
Sarah Borg, a former court registrar who issued a fake intervention order against a friend’s ex-partner has had her two-year jail term wiped on appeal and is free after serving less than a fortnight in prison.
Four charged in relation to the importation of 2.3 tonnes of counterfeit Australia Post pre paid satchels – 31 July 2020
The AFP allege the Western Sydney syndicate ordered fake post packages from a Chinese company, between September 2018 and June 2019, and sold them to the public and businesses on eBay. Australia Post estimates the fraud cost the organisation approximately $2 million.
ASIC has uncovered several cryptocurrency scams using Australian celebrities, prominent news sites, and government agencies to reel in investors.
Article outlines the differences between identity theft, credit card theft, and ID fraud and how to reduce exposure to them.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) launched the next phase of its action plan to combat scams, unveiling a suite of new resources on their website. The tools are designed to help Australians protect themselves on their home and mobile phones from scams.
Police in Queensland have charged a man for ‘money muling’ and warns others against getting doing the same. Police allege network of offenders obtain millions of dollars through technology scams, the ‘mule’ receives the funds deposited and receives a commission for sending this money offshore.
Alana Hodge who managed tax obligations for seven businesses, lodged 47 false Business Activity Statements (BAS) and amendments without her clients’ knowledge. She then tried to obtain around $65,000 in GST refunds.
Often the invoice at the center of the crime during payment fraud. The article looks at the invoice’s role in supplier payment redirect scams and credential theft..
Eight ‘virtual kidnappings’ have been reported to NSW Police this year, with scammers targeting Chinese international students and successfully stealing $3.2 million in ransom payments.
Craig Gore from the Gold Coast, is accused of 12 counts of dishonestly gaining $775,000 from four self-managed funds through a series of fake investments. He used the money to pay his own bills.
‘Australia’s Jack Ryan’ under investigation for threatening to kill police, prosecutor – 26 July 2020
Simon Smith, a Melbourne cyber security specialist and forensic detective is under investigation for threatening to kill two police officers and a prosecutor, involved in reviewing his activities. Simon claims the police and prosecutors have ulterior motives because he gives evidence against them in court.
More information revealed on taped conversations relating to the alleged ‘labour hire’ tax fraud and money laundering syndicate, which reaped $17.5 million that should have gone to the Tax Office.
Contact tracing scams are now becoming very common. A consumer may receive an unsolicited text message, email or social media message informing them they have been exposed to COVID-19, instructing them to self-isolate, and providing a link to download malware to their device. Alternatively, a robocall may inform the consumer of COVID-19 exposure, and when the consumer elects to speak to a representative, the caller will ask to verify personal information — potentially leading to identity theft.
‘Justice for the Iraqi people’: Unaoil executive jailed in massive oil corruption scandal – 24 July 2020
Ziad Akle was sentenced to five years in prison for his “leading role” in the Unaoil corruption scandal. With others, he plotted to bribe senior government officials so their clients could win lucrative oil contracts.
The lead investigator (Michael Taylor) for the competition watchdog’s blockbuster criminal cartel case against ANZ and Australia’s biggest investment banks, sent several documents related to the case to his personal email address and did not take any notes in his official notebook about the investigation.
(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)
The former Novartis sales representative Oswald Bilotta, whose whistleblower lawsuit against the drugmaker led to a $678 million settlement with the federal government earlier this year will receive an award of $US109.4 million. He accused Novartis in 2011 of routinely paying illegal kickbacks to doctors.
Construction industry identity George Alex, has been extradited from Queensland to New South Wales, to face charges over a multi-million dollar tax fraud syndicate. The group allegedly defrauded the Commonwealth through labour hire and payroll companies, to the tune of $17 million.
Article outlines options for CPAs who encounter situations of potential tax fraud as part of Covid 19 economic stimulus measures and the protections afforded by the tax whistleblower laws, introduced last year.
Australian trading site Union Standard International Group (USG), has collapsed into administration, amid an investigation by the corporate watchdog into its trading platforms. ASIC alleges its representatives had acted unconscionably towards customers.
Video surveillance market to reach $44 billion, fuelled by smart cameras and AI – IDC – 21 July 2020
The video surveillance camera market will grow to $44 billion by 2025, as smart camera systems and analytic software enables new use in law enforcement and physical security.
Thousands of people have been swindled by people impersonating government officials during the coronavirus pandemic, swindling unsuspecting victims out of more than $1.2 million in just six months.
Mr Gatto launched legal action in April last year over claims an ABC story had falsely accused him of threatening to kill gangland lawyer Nicola Gobbo. However, the Supreme Court of Victoria has ruled that a defamation trial due to start next week between Mr Gatto and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will not be heard before a jury, but by a judge alone, after his lawyers bungled the paperwork.
The corporate regulator spent almost two years plotting its investigation into Regal Funds Management before it called in the Australian Federal Police to raid the high-profile hedge fund’s office in Sydney.
(Access to The Australian required to read this article.)
A woman who exploited her job as a court registrar to hack into a computer system and issue a false intervention order against a friend’s ex-partner, has been jailed for at least 13 months.
ASIC has charged businessman and former federal MP Clive Palmer with fraud, relating to two payments worth more than $12m. The fraud and corporate misconduct offences carry lengthy prison sentences and were over the alleged diversion of at least $10m to the benefit of his Palmer United party, in the weeks before the 2013 election.
A Twitter breach allowed hackers to tweet a Bitcoin spam message from high profile accounts such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates to all their followers. They posted a double-your-money bitcoin scam, alongside a bitcoin wallet code for people to drop their digital currency into. The wallet received more $172,000 within a matter of hours. Soon after, the funds started moving around wallets.The company has also revealed personal information of some of the world’s wealthiest people was leaked during the attack.
ASIC is concerned at the number of transactional criminals who can be based anywhere in the world. They are capable of switching off a particular scam quickly, if they discover law enforcement bodies across the globe have discovered it.
ASIC’s chief enforcer has promised to expedite its investigation into Westpac’s handling of alleged money laundering breaches, as a similar investigation into Commonwealth Bank, drags on three years after the scandal was first made public. The investigations focus on potential breaches of continuous disclosure obligations in relation to the money laundering breaches admitted by Commonwealth Bank in 2018 and Westpac in 2020.
The “large-scale shift” to digital banking and remote work off the back of the COVID-19 crisis, has heightened the banking sector’s exposure to cyber-attack, with wire fraud transfer remaining the most common. Cyber risk awareness programs and mitigation measures are required now, more than ever.