News and Analysis
The following are articles relevant to the Professional Investigator. Click on the title to make a comment or join the conversation.
A Victorian man has been arrested over financial investment scams. Police found more than 40 false business names, a large number of international passports used to open bank accounts and fake websites that were used lure in victims.
WA Labor accused of cover-up over botched Huawei contract, but reveals details of ‘closed tender’ – 16 October 2020
WA Labor has been accused of a cover-up after budget papers revealed it would go to a “closed tender” to fix a failed $206 million contract with controversial Chinese telco Huawei, to build a mobile data network for Perth’s public train system.
The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors has blasted the board of Crown Resorts and is calling on directors to consider resigning following damaging revelations about their independence and oversight of the casino giant.
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic means financial institutions need to be even more proactive in protecting fraud, Australian financial institutions are lagging behind and are slow to adopt emerging technologies.
ABC journalist Dan Oakes will not be charged over Afghan Files reporting, AFP says – 15 October 2020
Commonwealth prosecutors have declined to charge the ABC journalist Dan Oakes over his reporting of alleged war crimes, by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
Australian activists have taken aim at Woolworths over the supermarket’s decision to film customers while they use self-serve checkouts.
New powers by the Australian Cyber Security Centre now require big companies to report when they come under cyber-attack. This initiative will help protect other businesses from economically damaging events and safeguard data, according to the federal government’s top cyber intelligence operative.
Four Gold Coast men are being sentenced at Brisbane District Court on numerous counts of fraud, by dishonestly selling worthless computer betting software to vulnerable people.
Transclean, a cleaning company contracted by V/Line and Metro Trains has been raided by IBAC amid a probe into alleged corruption within the state’s transport bureaucracy.
Alleged cyber criminals Jason Lees and Emily Walker not allowed to access internet while on home detention bail – 9 October 2020
Jason Bran Lees and Emily Jane Walker are accused of committing large-scale fraud by stealing more than 7,000 identity documents to open false bank accounts. It is also alleged that they have hacked-into payroll systems of Australian businesses. They have been denied internet access whilst on bail.
Curtin University is investigating an anonymous email that has accused three staff members of corruption and bullying, and unfair preferential treatment towards select students and staff.
Australia: Bank fined $1.3 billion but no jail for executives: The law, defences & penalties for money laundering – 7 October 2020
Westpac has admitted that it breached money laundering and terrorism financing laws. Many believe the $1.3 billion fine was inadequate. Article discusses this and the laws around money laundering and the proposed new financial regulations.
John McAfee who is known as a computer programmer, eccentric businessman, antivirus software magnate, flamboyant millionaire, and cryptocurrency enthusiast, now is being labelled a ‘fraud’ for financial fraud amounting to tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns. The American national who was arrested in Spain, is awaiting extradition to the United States.
Fraudster stole over $300k from Gumtree users before blowing it all on the punt and large pizzas – 6 October 2020
John Griffiths from Wodonga stole $325,000 from 99 victims via a Gumtree scam, then he blew the cash on gambling and pizza. He was selling fake computers, cameras and DJ kits whilst he moved around Australia.
Rehana Memon, an occupational therapist has faced court on allegations she falsified reports to obtain more than half a million dollars in an alleged “sophisticated” fraud scheme against the National Disability Insurance.
(Subscription to Daily Telegraph required to read this article.)
Man arrested over ‘elaborate cyber scam’ that conned Real House Wives of Sydney star ‘out of $500,000’ – 4 October 2020
Real Housewives of Sydney star Krissy March has been conned out of $500,000 when she transferred the money for the property settlement of a $10m mansion. The Sydney man involved, allegedly used funds to buy a gold bullion and was arrested and charged.
A new phishing scam tells ANZ bank customers that their internet banking service has been suspended for security reasons, and asks users to confirm their identity as part of the bank’s “security measures”. The cybercriminals harvest this data for later use.
The ACCC says money-laundering romance scams are on the rise during the pandemic and that scam victims can still be held liable for stolen funds.
ANZ has been ordered to pay $10 million in penalties and $1 million in court costs, after the bank was found to have engaged in unconscionable conduct and acted in breach of its licence conditions, by charging customers, unfair fees.
(Access to AFR required to read article.)
Fraudulent Investment schemes around ‘land banks’ link an Australian businessman and his company ‘Aviation 3030 Pty Ltd’ to the Cambodian People’s Party.
‘Really concerning’: Facial recognition tech sparks fears as government ramps up rollout – 29 September 2020
Experts have warned that the Morrison government’s plan to ramp up the use of facial recognition technology, across services including Centrelink and Medicare, could make life even harder for Australia’s most vulnerable citizens and pose a threat to human rights.
Cleanaway Waste Management overhauled its technology systems in March to allow employees to be pushed into “negative” accrued annual leave and pressured workers to use up their entitlements. This has the potential to breach the Fair Work Act.
(Access to AFR digital version required.)
While there are some welcome advances in drones, invasive applications of the technology are also creeping into daily life. Article explores the recreational and commercial benefits of drones as well as some of their risks.
People are warned they may be liable for criminal charges or arrested by the scammer – 28 September 2020
Scammers impersonating police officers are targeting unsuspecting members of the public in Melbourne. The caller says the victim’s bank accounts have been used for fraudulent activity and if this has not been rectified, they may be liable for criminal charges or arrested.
Billions of dollars are estimated to have been lost globally to virtual kidnappings, which typically target young Chinese adults, including exchange students in Australia. Scammers prey on the vulnerabilities of individuals in the community who are not in direct physical contact with their families.
Crypto scams, fraud, and stealing have shattered approximately $1.4 billion of investors’ money. With the Covid-19 pandemic, crypto phishing and scams on the dark web, these criminals try to do all they can to scam people. Article outlines some of the trending cryptocurrency scams of 2020.
Phoenixing: How unscrupulous dealers rise debt-free from the ashes of failed companies – 25 September 2020
The Australian tax office claims it has lost hundreds of millions of dollars, under mass tax evasion schemes allegedly run by professional advisers using “phoenixing”. The art of liquidating a company and allowing the directors to rise from the ashes in a new entity, free of debts.
Regulator extends control over Flinders Ranges Aboriginal corporation under police investigation – 25 September 2020
ATLA is a registered native title corporation with about 850 members and receives millions of dollars in royalties from mining operations. The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) has placed the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) under special administration, citing governance and financial record-keeping issues. SA Police have also since confirmed it is investigating ATLA.
A nationwide crackdown by the Fair Work Ombudsman has exposed 51 hospitality businesses, who have been exploiting vulnerable migrant workers, They have recovered more than $160,000 in unpaid wages. One business in the Victorian capital underpaid 11 workers nearly $57,000.
Detectives from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group have issued a warning to Queensland residents about a scam using Queensland Police Service phone numbers to legitimise government or bank impersonation scams. While this type of scam has been doing the rounds for some time, police are concerned this version has an additional layer which may result in more members of the community falling victim.