News and Analysis

The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator.   Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.

 


 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 7 May 2021

15 stories this week:

 

Anatomy of a hedge fund hack – 28 April 2021
The complexity of scams, and the time and money fraudsters are prepared to invest, highlights a growing threat to smaller financial services firms. Hedge funds and family offices do not spend anywhere near enough on cyber security, which is why they are targets.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/anatomy-of-a-hedge-fund-hack-20210428-p57n0s

(Access to AFR required to read this article.)


Criminality of Australia’s banking sector going unchecked – 30 April 2021
Dr Evan Jones, a retired political economist shares his opinion on how the financial sector is a natural haven for criminality and that most systematic white-collar crime of Australian banks against borrowers is still ignored by those in authority and by the media.

https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/criminality-of-australias-banking-sector-going-unchecked,15036


Whistleblowers are being scared into silence, hampering efforts to expose corruption in Australia, research finds – 30 April 2021
Major flaws with Australia’s whistleblowing protections are scaring whistleblowers into silence and hindering journalists’ efforts to expose corruption, according to jailed journalist Peter Greste and constitutional law scholar Rebecca Ananian-Welsh.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/apr/30/australias-whistleblowers-are-being-scared-into-silence-by-significant-gaps-in-protections-research-finds


Shifting the focus on CCTV and women’s safety – 30 April 2021
Closed-circuit television cameras on trains and city streets are meant to reassure women that there not in danger – but women don’t always see them that way. Women and girls prefer the presence of security officers and guards to cameras. Until this changes, women will feel vulnerable when moving through public spaces, particularly at night.

https://lens.monash.edu/@design-architecture/2021/04/30/1383160/shifting-the-focus-on-cctv-and-womens-safety


Deepfake nudes change the face of cyber threats, revenge porn and scams – 30 April 2021
The rise of deepfake nude technology poses radical new threats to anyone who posts images and videos of themselves on the world’s most popular social media sites. As these tools became more accessible and improved, scammers would inevitably seize on the opportunity to extort bitcoin or money from a victim, by creating a deepfake nude of a victim and threatening to share it online.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/deepfake-nude-how-rise-of-bots-and-ai-could-make-you-a-victim/5d834b26-db9e-4cfe-8541-298dd3f64d01


Commission welcomes sentencing of children’s cancer charity founder for fraud and theft – 1 May 2021
Mr Nesbitt, the founder and director of a former children’s cancer charity, Little Heroes Cancer Trust, was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment after he was found guilty in March 2021. He stole £87,000 from the charity and transferred £181,000 into a bank account in his name between July 2014 and May 2015.

https://www.miragenews.com/commission-welcomes-sentencing-of-childrens-552715/


‘Heartbreaking’: Elderly couple loses $50k in 24 hour scams – 1 May 2021
The Australian Federal Police issued a search warrant in Wollongong, as part of a cybercrime investigation into an alleged fraudulent technical support business. Police allege the business – with a professional website, an Australian 1800 business number and used Microsoft logos – linked Australian victims to offshore scammers, who would request remote access to their computers.

https://www.qt.com.au/news/heartbreaking-elderly-couple-loses-50k-in-24-hour-/4249634/


In Indonesia, lab workers arrested, accused of reusing swabs in coronavirus tests – 2 May 2021
Five laboratory workers were arrested in the Indonesian city of Medan and accused of reusing nasal swabs in administering as many as 20,000 tests. They face up to six years in prison for violating consumer protection, medical waste and contagious disease laws.

https://indianexpress.com/article/world/in-indonesia-lab-workers-arrested-accused-of-reusing-swabs-in-coronavirus-tests-7298820/


Whistleblower Richard Boyle’s prosecution continues after he exposed the ATO’s unethical debt collection practices against small businesses – 3 May 2021
Boyle is facing life in prison for his role in exposing unethical debt collection practices inside the ATO. Boyle is relying on the public interest disclosure regime in his response to the alleged offences. 42 of the 66 charges have been dropped to date.

https://www.smartcompany.com.au/finance/tax/whistleblower-richard-boyle-prosecution-ato-unethical-debt-collection/


Criminals have already stolen over $100 million from blockchain projects in 2021 – 3 May 2021
Cryptocurrency wallets and exchange accounts have brought criminals around $108.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 – that’s 46% more than in Q1 2020. There were also nine blockchain wallet breaches reported, as well as one scam event and two blackmail cases, which saw victims lose roughly $19.3 million. Due to their nature, blockchain projects remain profitable targets to cybercriminals because fraudulent transactions cannot be reversed, as they may be in the traditional financial system.

https://www.techradar.com/au/news/criminals-have-already-stolen-over-dollar100-million-from-blockchain-projects-in-2021


New research reveals customer behaviour around fraud risks – 3 May 2021
The majority of efforts organisations make to educate customers about potential fraud risks are not working, according to new research from Callsign, the Fraud Protection and Authorisation company. The research suggests consumers want to make their own decisions around the risks they take, choosing to opt in or out of receiving fraud alerts, even ignoring them when they are delivered.

https://securitybrief.com.au/story/new-research-reveals-customer-behaviour-around-fraud-risks


Coaches must be held accountable: gymnastics whistleblowers speak out – 4 May 2021
A former gymnast hopes individual coaches are held accountable for their role in the abuse that has been rife in Australian gymnastics for decades, detailed in a troubling Australian Human Rights Commission report that was released on 3 May.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/sport/ways-we-were-treated-were-not-ok-gymnasts-now-safe-to-speak-up-says-whistleblower-20210503-p57oku.html


Australian Military Bank hit with a direct order – 4 May 2021
The financial intelligence regulator issued the Australian Military Bank, with an enforcement action designed to ensure the bank is compliant with anti-money laundering laws and stop it from being compromised by criminals.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/austrac-slugs-australian-military-bank-with-a-direct-order-20210503-p57ojx

(Access to AFR required to read this article.)


Corporate whistleblower policies falling short: ASIC – 4 May 2021
The corporate watchdog is urging companies to update their whistleblower protection policies, after finding many firms had not kept up with laws aimed at supporting staff who raise the alarm.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/corporate-whistleblower-policies-falling-short-asic-20210505-p57p5j.html


Scammers prey on Victorians amid scramble for rental properties – 5 May 2021
Victorians desperate to secure rental properties are being preyed upon by scammers posing as landlords on Facebook. Consumer Affairs Victoria recorded 31 reports of rental scams last financial year and said some scammers were showing renters properties they had no right to rent out. In other instances, people are asked to hand over rent and bonds for properties they have never inspected.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/scammers-prey-on-victorians-amid-scramble-for-rental-properties-20210505-p57oys.html

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 30 April 2021

12 stories this week:

 

Bank protections against cryptocurrency scams in Australia ‘ a very shaky area’ – 22 April 2021
Australians are losing tens of millions of dollars a year in crypto currency scams. A Sydney woman Sylvia Chau, who lost $2.6 million after investing via an unlicensed unregulated cryptocurrency broker in 2019, took her case to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority which found that, while the bank did make some procedural errors, ultimately the disputed transactions were authorised so the bank was not liable.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-22/cryptocurrency-scams-in-australia-warning-banks-/100087800


90-year-old woman loses $41 million to alleged phone scam con – 23 April 2021
A wealthy 90-year-old woman was conned out of $A41 million in the region’s biggest recorded phone scam. Criminals posed as Chinese authorities and told her that her identity was used in a serious criminal case in mainland China. She was then instructed to transfer her money to designated bank accounts to investigate whether the cash was the proceeds of crime.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/wealth/90yearold-woman-loses-41-million-to-alleged-phone-scam-con/news-story/6bdd1f16f6f6218a3f513fb03fea45ec


Trader flees Turkey with $2b in crypto scam – 23 April 2021
One of Turkey’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges said it lacked the financial strength to continue operations, leaving hundreds of thousands of investors fearing their savings have evaporated as authorities sought to locate the company’s 27-year-old founder, who fled the country.

https://www.afr.com/markets/currencies/trader-flees-turkey-with-2b-in-crypto-scam-20210423-p57lx5

(Access to digital AFR required to read article.)


ASIC sees “significant number” of cryptocurrency scam concerns – 23 April 2021
ASIC is seeing an increasing number of complaints related to cryptocurrency scams, forcing it to deepen its understanding of blockchain technology. Industry support will also play a key part in how consumers are educated on potential scams that reach beyond ASIC. https://www.itnews.com.au/news/asic-sees-significant-number-of-cryptocurrency-scam-concerns-563711

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/cryptocurrency-bitcoin-scams-201004468.html


Founder of Turkish cryptocurrency exchange Thodex flees with reported $US2 billion in investor assets – 24 April 2021
Turkish prosecutors have opened an investigation after the Istanbul-based founder of a cryptocurrency exchange shut down his site and fled the country with a reported $US2 billion ($2.6 billion) in investors’ assets.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-23/turkish-crypto-founder-flees-with-reported-2-billion/100092096


IOOF promises ‘remedial action’ after ASIC investigation of Bridges, RI Advice – 26 April 2021
IOOF has committed to taking remedial action against its Bridges Financial Services and RI Advice licensees, after an investigation by the corporate regulator revealed “deficiencies” with the groups’ supervision processes and the quality of advice provided.

https://www.professionalplanner.com.au/2021/04/ioof-promises-remedial-action-after-asic-investigation-of-bridges-ri-advice/


Mystery over 43 corruption allegations made by Sydney Water employees – 26 April 2021
Sydney Water has recently experienced 45 complaints and dozens of allegations of serious wrongdoing or corrupt conduct made by its employees. There are also a large increase in numbers of whistleblower complaints by employees of NSW Health and Fire and Rescue NSW.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/mystery-over-43-corruption-allegations-made-by-sydney-water-employees-20210425-p57m83.html


62-year-old man charged over $845,000 ATO investigation – 28 April 2021
‘Phoenixing’ refers to the deliberate act of building up debts in a business and stealing profits, before winding up the company and starting up a new one under a different name. An investigation led by the Australian Taxation Office has resulted in a 62-year-old man being charged over illegal ‘phoenix’ activity that saw the Commonwealth lose $845,066.

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/ato-investigation-015923453.html


Anatomy of a hedge fund hack – 28 April 2021
The complexity of scams, and the time and money fraudsters are prepared to invest, highlight a growing threat to smaller financial services firms.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/anatomy-of-a-hedge-fund-hack-20210428-p57n0s

(Access to digital version of AFR required.)


NAB controls ‘not adequate’ to prevent multimillion-dollar fraud – 29 April 2021
The bank detailed to a parliamentary committee how a top staff member (Rosemary Rogers) was able to get away with a multimillion-dollar fraud, conceding that its ordinary compliance controls did not at the time extend to the office of the chief executive.
NAB said following the detection of Ms Rogers’ fraud, it had undertaken an internal audit of third-party vendor selection and contract management in the CEO’s office and tightened due diligence on its supplier management processes.

https://www.ifa.com.au/news/29501-nab-controls-not-adequate-to-stop-multi-million-dollar-fraud#:~:text=A%20major%20bank%20has%20detailed,office%20of%20the%20chief%20executive.


Illegal football streaming sites are absolutely riddled with dangerous malware – 29 April 2021
According to a report from cybersecurity firm Webroot, almost all (92%) illegal football streaming websites contain some form of malicious content, from malware and phishing lures to social engineering scams

https://www.techradar.com/au/news/illegal-football-streaming-sites-are-absolutely-riddled-with-dangerous-malware


Prosecutors refuse to drop case against tax office whistleblower Richard Boyle – 29 April 2021
Director of public prosecutions was considering ending pursuit of ex-ATO employee who went public with concerns about debt recovery tactics. Prosecutors on Thursday indicated, however, that they would be proceeding with their case, which could bring a lengthy jail stint for Boyle.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/apr/29/prosecutors-refuse-to-drop-case-against-tax-office-whistleblower-richard-boyle

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 23 April 2021

19 stories this week:

 

SA CCTV trial is underway – 9 April 2021
The trial of a video and audio surveillance system in South Australian state-run aged care facilities has officially started almost two years after it was expected to kick off. Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney welcomed the trial and said the technology had potential to improve resident wellbeing.

https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/technology/sa-cctv-trial-is-underway/


The new world of ‘deep fake’: How cyber attackers impersonated senior ministers, diplomats – 1 April 2021
Numerous Australian politicians and diplomats including Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, received messages on encrypted messaging service “Telegram”. Some clicked on the link to download the Telegram app. Once they did this, they were verifying the account for the cyber attacker – uploading their contact book and giving the hacker the ability to impersonate them.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/the-new-world-of-deep-fake-how-cyber-attackers-impersonated-senior-ministers-diplomats-2021409-p57ht7.html


Nine deputy chair Nick Falloon cleared of legal breach, golf membership revoked – 11 April 2021
An investigation by Nine Entertainment Co’s top lawyer has found that deputy chairman Nick Falloon’s use of a corporate golf club membership was inappropriate but did not breach his duties as a director.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/nine-deputy-chair-nick-falloon-cleared-of-legal-breach-golf-membership-revoked-2021410-p57i3p.html


Scammers target desperate renters on Sunshine Coast as housing crisis continues – 12 April 2021
Scammers are taking advantage of the desperate rental situation on the Sunshine Coast, where the vacancy rate has dipped as low as 0.5 per cent in some areas. Since the start of the year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has received 32 reports of rental or accommodation scams from Queenslanders, totalling $8,000 in losses.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-12/scammers-taking-advantage-of-desperate-sunshine-coast-renters/100032390


Network Ten in sweeping company-wide review of staff culture, conduct – 12 April 2021
All employees on television programs and in the corporate divisions of Ten are being interviewed by the network’s human resources division as part of a review. The sources said people were being asked about sexual discrimination, racism and any issues of harassment or assault.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/network-ten-in-sweeping-company-wide-review-of-staff-culture-conduct-2021410-p57i3u.html


WA Crown royal commission: No more blissful ignorance of corporate ‘Frankensteins’ – 12 April 2021
The Perth Casino Royal Commission will inquire and report on the ‘suitability’ of Crown Resorts and its local subsidiaries to continue to hold a license for Crown Perth. Whilst Crown has shed many of its directors, and the corporation ‘pledges’ they have changed their ways, article asks “what makes a ‘suitable person” and how do we know when a corporation has reformed?”

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/western-australia/wa-crown-royal-commission-no-more-blissful-ignorance-of-corporate-frankensteins-2021408-p57hkl.html


Cryptocurrency crime a ‘future problem’ for intelligence agency struggling with talent drain: ACIC – 13 April 2021
The head of one of Australia’s criminal intelligence agencies has warned cryptocurrency would make investigating transnational crime groups tougher into the future, following the government’s struggles to retain specialised talent from leaving for more lucrative private sector positions.

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7205805/crypto-the-future-of-organised-crime-acic-says/


ClubsNSW set to drop legal bid to access communications between whistleblower and regulator – 13 April 2021
Former manager Troy Stolz, who raised alarm money laundering in pubs and clubs across New South Wales, said lobby group’s court action would scare other whistleblowers and prevent them from coming forward.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/apr/13/clubsnsw-set-to-drop-legal-bid-to-access-communications-between-whistleblower-and-regulator


Emergency dispatcher arrested after refusing to return $1.6m in mistakenly transferred money – 13 April 2021
A US emergency dispatcher has been arrested after refusing to return more than a million dollars mistakenly transferred into her account.

https://www.9news.com.au/world/bank-error-million-dollars-arrest-charles-schwab-kelyn-spadoni-jefferson-parish-louisiana-new-orleans-news/b19130c2-019c-43c9-b1ae-dc2d951ee202


ASIC winds up companies behind SMSF scam – 13 April 2021
The corporate regulator has taken action to wind up the companies behind an SMSF scam that obtained millions in investor funds. SA Services and Orphans Asia allegedly obtained approximately $2.4 million in Australian investor funds through cold-calling Australian consumers and operating the now-defunct website smsfadvisory.com. Neither SA Services nor Orphans Asia is licensed or authorised to deal in financial products or provide financial services.

https://www.accountantsdaily.com.au/business/15564-asic-winds-up-companies-behind-smsf-scam


Tesla urged to review its payment practices after two Australian buyers lose thousands to scammers – 15 April 2021
Two Tesla customers collectively lost more than $130,000 after receiving fraudulent Tesla invoices. Customers are calling for Tesla to offer more secure payment options and for banks to improve checks on transactions.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-15/tesla-invoice-scam-costs-two-australians-electric-car-deposit/13226126


Culture the key to tackling sexual harassment in the workplace – 16 April 2021
Unfortunately sexual harassment complaints are made only after harassment has continued for some time. When that happens, an investigation ends up with no winners and the damage to the organisation is difficult to repair. Addressing why it happened, how it continued to happen and why nothing was said are the key issues to history not repeating itself. Paper tells how it might sound simple, but is the key to success.

https://www.hcamag.com/au/news/general/culture-the-key-to-tackling-sexual-harassment-in-the-workplace/252409


Greek Orthodox Church took tens of millions in rent from aged care home at centre of deadliest COVID outbreak – 16 April 2021
An ABC investigation has found a group of taxpayer-funded aged care homes funnelled $31 million back into the coffers of one of Australia’s largest churches. In the past eight years, St Basil’s paid more than $22 April 2021 million in rent and fees to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese while receiving federal government funding.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-16/st-basils-greek-church-taxpayer-funding/100068128


Wunderkind’s alleged $970 million fraud jolts Singapore – 16 April 2021
The police have called it one of the city-state’s largest-ever suspected investment fraud schemes. Ng Yu Zhi was charged last month with four counts of fraud for allegedly raising at least S$1 billion ($970 million) from investors for commodity trades that didn’t exist.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/wunderkind-s-alleged-970-million-fraud-jolts-singapore-2021415-p57jbe.html


Banks hit with $78m in royal commission penalties: ASIC – 16 April 2021
The corporate watchdog says its investigations following the banking royal commission have so far resulted in $77.65 million in penalties.

https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/finance-news/banking/2021/04/16/bank-royal-commission-penalties/


Magic Millions, money laundering and a $4b crypto scam – 16 April 2021
The FBI is investigating the biggest investor in Australian horseracing (Amer Abdulaziz Salman) over a scam that could have cost Australians $770 million.

https://www.afr.com/companies/sport/magic-millions-money-laundering-and-a-4b-crypto-scam-2021415-p57jeo


AFP undertook Leppington Triangle raids – 19 April 2021
Australian Federal Police conducted a dawn raid on the Canberra home of a senior public servant as part of an investigation into possible corruption, over the $30 million purchase of a block of land at the new Western Sydney Airport, later valued at just $3 million, known as the Leppington Triangle.

https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/afp-undertook-leppington-triangle-raids-2021418-p57k9u


Police probe bond scam as HSBC, Vanguard, PIMCO are hijacked – 20 April 2021
NSW police are investigating a fraud scheme that dupes investors with fake high-yield bond prospectuses, after young investors have had their hard-earned savings wiped out.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/police-probe-bond-scam-as-hsbc-vanguard-pimco-are-hijacked-2021420-p57kq6


Access to digital version of AFR required to read article – 22 April 2021
NDIS fraud nets millions in Sydney scam Six people are accused of being part of a sophisticated Sydney crime syndicate that’s defrauded millions of dollars from the National Disability Insurance Scheme. With the help of specialist financial intelligence provided by AUSTRAC, police identified a syndicate using three companies to defraud the NDIS. Once the payments from the NDIS claims were received by the syndicate, a kickback went back into the pockets of the company operators.

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/crime/sydney-syndicate-arrested-over-ndis-fraud-c-2655929

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 9 April 2021

14 stories this week:

 

What is the Internet of Things? – 13 March 2021
Article describes how IoT (Internet of things) technologies can be misused and risks include security and privacy issues, cybercrime, surveillance at work, home or in public spaces and control of mobility and expression. The Forum’s State of the Connected World report identifies a ‘governance gap’ that needs to be closed between the potential risks and society’s efforts to safeguard against them through laws, industry standards and self-governance approaches. Industry leaders will come together from April 6-7 for the World Economic Forum’s Global Technology Governance Summit, which is dedicated to ensuring the responsible design and deployment of emerging technologies through public-private collaboration.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/what-is-the-internet-of-things/


Scam alert: Livestock producers urged to check invoices – 1 April 2021
LIVESTOCK producers are being stung for hundreds of thousands of dollars by sophisticated scammers issuing bogus emails and invoices. It is understood that if money is placed in the fake bank account, it is immediately redistributed to a large number of other bank accounts making recovery of the money virtually impossible.

https://www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au/story/7191098/scam-alert-livestock-producers-urged-to-check-for-bogus-invoices/?cs=4733


Bitcoin scam app on Apple’s App Store dupes user into forking over $600,000 – 1 April 2021
A fake Bitcoin app launched on the App Store, tricked iPhone user Phillipe Christodoulou into downloading it. After logging in, he immediately lost 17.1 Bitcoin, worth over $600,000 at the time. The fake Bitcoin app raises concerns over Apple’s App Store security.

https://www.laptopmag.com/au/news/bitcoin-scam-app-on-apples-app-store-dupes-user-into-forking-over-dollar600000


Australians flagged in Shanghai security files which shed light on China’s surveillance state and monitoring of Uyghurs – 1 April 2021
The identities of 161 Australian citizens – including a former intelligence chief, government officials and business leaders – have been exposed in a hacked Shanghai security database which reveals the inner workings of China’s surveillance state. The leaked files shed light on authorities’ monitoring of thousands of Uyghurs labelled as “suspected terrorists”, some as young as five.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-01/shanghai-files-shed-light-on-china-surveillance-state/100040896


Calls for urgent integrity review of public transport amid IBAC probe – 3 April 2021
A former counsel assisting NSW’s anti-corruption watchdog has joined the Victorian opposition in calling for an urgent, wide-ranging audit of Victoria’s public transport contracts, in the wake of allegations of serious corruption on Melbourne’s railways. It is claimed that Transclean boss George Haritos and former Metro Trains manager Peter Bollas plotted to sabotage trials of a new cleaning product during COVID-19 because it would have lowered Transclean’s hours and the company’s revenue.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/victoria/calls-for-urgent-integrity-review-of-public-transport-amid-ibac-probe-20210402-p57g4j.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed


‘Very real chance’ Donald Trump will go to jail amid escalating legal woes
In addition to being the defendant in 29 lawsuits, according to The Washington Post, Donald is also the subject of multiple criminal investigations – including one in which lawyers had obtained access to his tax returns, after a four year fight on Mr Trump’s part to keep them secret. – 3 April 2021

https://www.news.com.au/world/north-america/us-politics/very-real-chance-donald-trump-will-go-to-jail-amid-escalating-legal-woes/news-story/a33a9fa9e9ecb5cbfbdb3bb174e1d10e


Sydney man jailed for cryptocurrency money laundering – 4 April 2021
A 46-year-old Sydney man who used stolen identities to launder $43,350 in proceeds of crime through cryptocurrency accounts has been sentenced to 16 months’ imprisonment by the Sydney Central Local Court. The man used the details of identity theft victims to set up multiple online transaction accounts with a cryptocurrency provider.

https://www.miragenews.com/sydney-man-jailed-for-cryptocurrency-money-539339/


Couple’s ‘lavish lifestyle’ funded by brazen Bunnings scam – Sunshine Coast Daily – 4 April 2021
A couple used proceeds ($270k) from an elaborate and brazen Bunnings scam to fund their lavish lifestyles, which included an acreage mansion in Tamborine. They purchased goods from Bunnings and using that receipt to steal identical items from dozens of stores. They also swindled friends to buy a $50,000 show horse.

https://announce.today/home/announce/cDDFFgmk3jO0dAFM6Wvu


Crypto exchange draws ASIC attention after users raise alarm – 6 April 2021
ASIC is assessing multiple complaints about the Melbourne-based MyCryptoWallet currency exchange, that went dark for more than a year, leaving users unable to access up to thousands of dollars in bitcoin. Australian cryptocurrency exchanges are largely unregulated, with companies only required to be registered with the financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC for anti-money laundering purposes.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/companies/crypto-exchange-draws-asic-attention-after-users-raise-alarm-20210401-p57ft7.html


Bitcoin scam sees man lose nearly half a million dollars, calling banks and exchanges to account. – 6 April 2021
The brother of a man scammed out of more than $400,000 has issued a warning to people to be more aware of bogus bitcoin traders.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-06/bitcoin-scam-brother-says-westpac-has-explaining-to-do/100041316


The Facebook data – including phone numbers – of over seven MILLION Australians leaked online – 6 April 2021
More than seven MILLION Australians had their residential address and phone numbers leaked by Facebook hackers over the Easter long weekend. The publication of stolen personal Facebook data is expected to lead to an increase in phishing scams and online fraud – and experts say it’s ‘extremely likely’ your phone number is included if you have an account.

https://www.nation.lk/online/the-facebook-data-including-phone-numbers-of-over-seven-million-australians-leaked-online-71358.html


Australia to end sexual harassment exemption for politicians and judges amid recent scandals – 8 April 2021
Australia’s politicians and judges will no longer be exempt from the rules against workplace sexual harassment. The upcoming changes include making sexual harassment a valid reason for dismissal in workplace laws. Complainants will be given more time to come forward with their claims, with the period being extended from the current six months to two years.

https://www.rt.com/news/520432-australia-sexual-harassment-rules/


Over $3.7 million stolen from this small business and put into the pokies, but clubs can keep the money – 7 April 2021
Vicki Clerke put millions of dollars she stole from her workplace into pokies. Mr Zeuschner has calculated that Clerke would have put a staggering $20 million through the poker machines at St Marys over the 17 years she was stealing money from his business. All Zeuschner has received in return from Clerke’s bankruptcy is $235,000. Clerke is now in prison.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-07/vicki-stole-millions-and-put-it-in-st-marys-leagues-club-pokies/100042284


Journalist on trial accused of blackmail – 8 April 2021
The court has heard that, a veteran Sydney journalist’s threat to expose the masterminds behind an alleged million-dollar tax fraud was done to actually blackmail them. The trial continues.

https://www.theislanderonline.com.au/story/7201824/journalist-on-trial-accused-of-blackmail/?cs=9676

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 30 March 2021

11 stories this week:

 

Continuous disclosure reforms block enforcement, ASIC says – 25 March 2021
As declared in February, Treasury has plans to change the Corporations Act to state companies and officers will only be liable for civil penalty proceedings where they acted with “knowledge, recklessness or negligence”. But ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour commented the reform will also make it harder for the regulator to prosecute – as the watchdog currently does not need to prove a company’s knowledge, recklessness or negligence.

https://www.investordaily.com.au/regulation/48980-continuous-disclosure-reforms-block-enforcement-asic-says


ASIC ‘making inquiries’ into coal tester – 25 March 2021
The corporate watchdog is investigating claims a coal laboratory called ALS, inflated quality results on export certificates.

https://thewest.com.au/politics/asic-making-inquiries-into-coal-tester-ng-s-2054921


Alleged Ponzi operator Veronica Macpherson poised for return to business – 25 March 2021
Ms Macpherson who was accused of running an alleged Ponzi scheme in Western Australia’s Pilbara region is starting a new business. Ms Macpherson is banned from providing financial services as investigations by ASIC continue into her Macro Group business dealings.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-28/alleged-ponzi-operator-veronica-macpherson-poised-for-business/100017886


Frenchman takes on Gold Coast cryptocurrency firm after allegedly losing $800k in failed deal – 27 March 2021
A French national is suing an Australian cryptocurrency company over an alleged scam that he claims left him close to $800,000 out of pocket after the market soared. It’s believed to be the first cryptocurrency fraud case of its kind in Australia

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-27/frenchman-takes-on-gold-coast-firm-in-cryptocurrency-scam-case/100028032


MPs call for crackdown on tech firms profiting from pensions scams – 28 March 2021
Tech firms such as Google are accepting payment to advertise scams and then take further payments from regulators to publish warnings – a practice the Work and Pensions committee describes as “immoral’

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/online-scams-fca-google-pensions-committee-report-google-105729729.html


Australia needs to regulate cryptocurrency market – 29 March 2021
Australia will need regulatory oversight of the domestic digital assets market amid a renewed surge in demand for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and follow the examples of the US, Europe, Singapore, and Hong Kong which have successfully regulated their digital financial products.

https://www.moneymanagement.com.au/news/financial-planning/australia-needs-regulate-cryptocurrency-market


Former NSW police officers claim Sydney underworld figure Abe Saffron orchestrated the Luna Park Ghost Train fire – 29 March 2021
The cause of the 1979 Ghost Train fire that killed seven people has never been determined. Former police have claimed for the first time that Sydney criminal Abe Saffron was responsible and that the lead investigator was corrupt.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-30/police-claims-abe-saffron-behind-luna-park-fire/12321044


Black market vaccine fight as COVID rollout tempts criminals – 30 March 2021
AstraZeneca is urging Australian consumers to steer clear of third-party suppliers claiming they sell the company’s COVID-19 vaccines directly to the public, amid fears counterfeit coronavirus doses are headed for local shores.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/black-market-vaccine-fight-as-covid-rollout-tempts-criminals-20210330-p57f4t.html


ASIC drops fraud charges against Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick – 30 March 2021
The corporate watchdog has dropped all charges against Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick more than five weeks after her foot washed up on the NSW far south coast. ASIC withdrew criminal charges to enable a civil case to proceed.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-03-30/asic-drops-fraud-charges-against-melissa-caddick/100037472


IBAC phone taps reveal Transclean director discussing payments to train bosse – 30 March 2021
The co-director of a cleaning company accused of paying off senior transport public officials has been caught on tapped phone recordings, discussing payments of several thousand dollars to V/Line’s then chief executive and a Metro Trains manager. IBAC is investigating allegations that Mr Pinder and Mr Bollas pocketed regular cash bribes from Transclean in exchange for granting the company lucrative work. https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/transclean-boss-can-t-recall-signing-cheques-for-train-boss-ibac-told-20210331-p57fis.html

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/victoria/ibac-hearing-rail-cleaning-subcontractors-accused-of-being-shell-companies-20210330-p57f83.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed


How scammers are using outdated laws to rip off investor millions – 30 March 2021
Inexperienced investors are losing their life savings, home deposits and inheritances through a regulatory loop hole. The scams take advantage of an antiquated definition of “sophisticated investor” that allows scheme promoters to sidestep retail protections.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/how-scammers-are-using-outdated-laws-to-rip-off-investor-millions-20210326-p57ed7

 

Prosecutor considering dropping charges against ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle – 24 March 2021

Prosecutors are considering dropping charges against tax office whistleblower Richard Boyle. Boyle, a former employee of the Australian Taxation Office, blew the whistle to the ABC in 2018 on the agency’s use of aggressive tactics to recover debts from small business owners, which crippled the livelihoods of many.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/mar/24/prosecutor-considering-dropping-charges-against-ato-whistleblower-richard-boyle

Cryptocurrency scam – don’t become a victim, South Australia – 22 March 2021

South Australians have fallen victim to cryptocurrency investment scams through advertisements found online – losing hundreds of thousands of dollars to fraudsters. Unfortunately, the websites and advertisements look convincing by featuring modern graphics, offering in-chat support and even using fake endorsements from high-profile celebrities to promote their products.

https://www.miragenews.com/cryptocurrency-scam-dont-become-a-victim-south-531824/

Fraud risk set to rise – 22 March 2021

KPMG recent research findings found that: 92 per cent of businesses believe that the risk of cyber fraud has increased since the onset of COVID-19; 67 per cent aren’t sure if their businesses have detected fraud in that time; 51 per cent said that their ability to investigate possible fraud has been compromised; and 25 per cent have been forced to delay anti-fraud programs.

https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/biglaw/30973-fraud-risk-set-to-rise?utm_source=LawyersWeekly&utm_campaign=23_03_21&utm_medium=email&utm_content=2&utm_emailID=9c9602b40b2e67e2c938039fdfc6f6b26bc5041ae78ecc930d0d680d3ed5ae32

Financial controller admits to stealing $1.6mover more than a decade from business – 15 March 2021

The former financial controller of an electronics business in Sydney’s north has admitted to stealing more than $1.6 million over an 11-year period, using an elaborate scheme which involved manipulating its payroll system to give himself extra money.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/financial-controller-admits-stealing-1-6m-over-more-than-a-decade-from-business-20210312-p57a8x.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed

(Access to digital version to SMH may be required to read this article.)

APRA drops Westpac laundering case – 12 March 2021

The prudential regulator says Westpac Banking Corp’s anti-money laundering failings did not amount to a breach of the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) or the Banking Act and it has closed its investigation into the bank, two-and-a-half months after ASIC also shut its probe.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/apra-drops-westpac-laundering-case-20210312-p57a68

(Access to digital version to AFR may be required to read this article.)

Man charged with fraud over alleged $400 million NDIS scam – 11 March 2021

A Victorian man, Demetrios ‘James’ Charisiou, who allegedly convinced two major Korean investment houses into investing $395 million in fake NDIS-related property deals has been charged with fraud. Police will allege the finance was purported to be for the purchase of Melbourne apartment buildings and their planned lease.

https://www.theage.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/man-charged-with-fraud-over-alleged-400-million-ndis-scam-20210311-p579ww.html