News and Analysis
The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator. Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.
Police arrest phone hacking gang in Europe who stole millions in cryptocurrency from US celebrities – 11 February 2021
Police have arrested 10 people in the UK, Belgium and Malta for allegedly hijacking mobile phones belonging to celebrities, internet influencers, sports stars and musicians to steal personal information and millions in cryptocurrency.
Crown Resorts has been deemed unsuitable to operate a new Sydney casino after a months-long public inquiry which exposed allegations of money laundering. The findings will have major implications for Crown’s flagship casino in Melbourne.
Bank worker pleads guilty to $3.75m theft a decade after CBA failed to report crime – 9 February 2021
A former Commonwealth Bank loan officer has pleaded guilty to stealing $3.75 million via falsifying loan documentation. He blew the money on “a lot of” cocaine and a lavish lifestyle whilst the bank failed to report his crime spree to police, a decade ago.
Taxpayers have retrieved almost $16 million in assets from one of the architects of the massive Plutus Payroll tax fraud by founder Simon Anquetil. Anquetil admitted to conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth by siphoning off taxes owed from the payroll business, into a complex network of companies over three years.
A fraudster in Germany is refusing to give up the password to millions worth of bitcoin – and police can’t crack the code.
Medical cannabis company “Cann Group” is seeking to recover $3.6 million now missing after paying an overseas contractor for works being undertaken at its Mildura facility. Those payments were a result of a complex and sophisticated cyber fraud perpetrated against the company and its overseas contractor.
NAB has repaid an elderly couple $231,157 lost in a scam after it was unable to prove to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority it warned them about the risks.
(Access to AFR required to read article,)
Australian advocacy group Digital Rights Watch has released its State Of Digital Rights report for 2020, examining the new digital developments of the past year and how they affect the rights of each citizen.
Police are probing the alleged theft of narcotic pain patches peeled off sick and elderly residents of a Noosa nursing home, are at the centre of a shocking abuse scandal.
New York money management firm GPB Capital Holdings’ chief David Gentile was indicted for allegedly taking part in a Ponzi-like scheme that defrauded thousands of investors across the country and that regulators say may have put more than $US1.7 billion ($2.2 billion) at risk.
Sydney scammers allegedly stole more than $90k with texts and calls threatening arrest – 5 February 2021
Two men will face court after allegedly scamming people out of more than $90,000, including by threatening people with arrest by text.
The final report of the Banking Royal Commission was released two years ago. It exposed a culture of rapacious greed, of profits and shareholders being put before customers and the law. Of its 76 recommendations, only about one-third have come into law
The financial officer of a southern NSW sports club has allegedly diverted more than $1.1 million from the club into offshore bank accounts, prompting fraud charges.
Bank of Queensland was found to have unfairly dismissed a branch manager who fell for a business email compromise (BEC)-like scam that cost the bank $30,000.
Neva Lozzi is alleged to have transferred more than $140,000 into the bank account of her husband and into her young daughter’s bank account, disguised under another employee’s name. Her employer Con Ange, has denied he instructed her to do this to avoid paying tax. Mr Ange claims Ms Lozzi took advantage of his absence from the business while he was seeking treatment for motor neurone disease.
Identity fraud is costing Aussies billions as hackers use common tactic to take control of phone – 1 February 2021
One in four Aussies have fallen victim to identity fraud. But beyond the financial consequences, having your identity stolen can lead to refusal of credit or government benefits — and shockingly being wrongfully accused of a crime.
As businesses start to outline their security priorities for 2021, this article looks at some of the top threats businesses should be watching out for, such as ransomware, authorised push payment fraud and variations of phishing.
Rosemary Rogers, the former chief of staff to the CEO of NAB, has been sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment, after the NSW district court found her guilty of having approved huge invoices from event management company Human Group.
The corporate regulator has issued a warning to investors about imposter bond scams, revealing it has uncovered two such scammers, pretending to be associated with well-known domestic and global financial services firms and offering high-yield bond investments in Australia and the UK.
An alleged member of the ransomware group (Netwalker) behind the attacks on Toll Holdings and legal services firm ‘Law In Order’, has been charged by US authorities as the group’s dark net website was seized by police.
(Access to AFR digital required to read full article.)
Employers claiming JobKeeper on behalf of fictitious employees are being pursued by an ATO investigation. Documents obtained using a freedom of information (FOI) application show that, by the end of September, the ATO was investigating 5,974 cases of “inflated employees” in applications for the wage subsidy.
The chief executive of Australia’s biggest smash repairer, AMA, faced sacking over allegations about him pocketing expense claims and bonuses without approval.
(Access to AFR digital required to read full article.)
ASIC has warmed that imposters are offering bogus high-yield bond fund opportunities with fake prospectuses. The scammers state that the bonds are issued by “prominent financial services firms” before directing their targets to pay funds into a bank account – resulting in the funds potentially being permanently lost.
Two men extradited from Australia to United States over alleged $64 million scheme – 28 January 2021
Michael Pearse and Yongchao Liu have been extradited to the United States from Australia, to face charges over their alleged roles in a scheme to swindle hundreds of thousands of mobile phone users, out of more than 64.6 million. They allegedly used a practice called “auto-subscribing” to charge monthly fees for unsolicited messages about celebrity gossip, horoscopes, jokes, love tips and trivia, without customers’ knowledge or permission.
Government inquiry clears former Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate of wrongdoing, but reveals more corporate credit card spending – 27 January 2021
The federal government has published its previously unreleased report into former Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate’s decision to gift four luxury watches to staff members. The report found that the gifting of the $20,000 watches to employees, did not amount to corruption or fraud but was “inconsistent with public expectations”.
The Australia’s Federal Police (AFP) said that a man had been detained in The Netherlands, at the request of Interpol, pursuant to an Australian arrest warrant issued in 2019 as part of ‘Operation Volante,’ a seven-year investigation into “a global crime syndicate operating in five countries.” The organisation is allegedly responsible for funnelling multi-tonne quantities of drugs to a dozen countries.
Fraudster ex-NAB employee Rosemary Rogers jailed after multimillion dollar kickback scheme – 27 January 2021
The long list of luxury gifts a now-jailed Rosemary Rogers (former NAB CEO) received through a 5 year, multimillion-dollar kickback scheme have been detailed in court. They included cash, private jets, a luxury BMW worth $172,000, two boats, a caravan, domestic and international holidays and 1.85 million for renovations. The court heard Rogers paid the invoices knowing they were false and exceeded legitimate expenses.
An Australian grandfather has been sentenced for his part in an elaborate internet scam which robbed two Devon men of their life savings. The sophisticated money laundering operation involved a bank account in Ghana, promises of repayment through the sale of gold, internet dating, African orphanages, and shadowy conmen.
The Australian finance broker, Union Standard International Group (USG), that sponsors English Premier League team, Sheffield United, allegedly scammed up to $588 million from Chinese investors, who thought they were putting their money in a high yield product that may never have existed. The money was instead allegedly used, to bankroll its sale of high risk financial betting products to customers around the world including Australia.
(Digital access to SMH required to read article.)
Dutch ‘money mule’ arrested for links to cybercrime syndicate stealing from Australian bank accounts – 25 January 2021
The Australian Federal Police has arrested a 22-year-old Dutch national in Queensland for his alleged role in a money mule network, suspected of laundering more than $3.5m stolen from Australian bank accounts. It is believed that malware, was used to steal bank account details to extract funds from victims. The syndicate then uses the money mule network to transfer the stolen funds offshore.