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 17 June 2022

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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-10/religious-fraudster-jailed-for-defrauding-fellow-worshipper/101142876


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.

https://www.afp.gov.au/news-media/media-releases/western-sydney-man-and-woman-charged-over-covid-19-payment-fraud


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.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-09/prosecuting-uk-corporate-fraud-may-be-about-to-get-much-easier


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.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/isolation-strip-searches-rape-inside-a-tasmanian-youth-detention-centre-20220609-p5asjm.html


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.

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/mans-651k-horror-after-googling-partners-name/news-story/ebb32a85b1be8dc97a06def8b0afef8b


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.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/14/queensland-launches-inquiry-into-stars-suitability-to-hold-a-casino-licence


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.

https://www.miragenews.com/melbourne-company-convicted-after-abf-800303/


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.

https://www.nationaltribune.com.au/asic-escalates-investigation-into-sweetman-renewables/


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”.

https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/kmart/kmart-bunnings-and-the-good-guys-under-investigation-over-use-of-facial-recognition-cameras–c-7167778


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.

https://www.mondaq.com/australia/white-collar-crime-anticorruption-fraud/1201862/creating-a-federal-anticorruption-commission-what-does-it-mean-for-australian-business


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.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/15/israeli-court-finds-gaza-aid-worker-guilty-of-financing-terrorism


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-16/peter-foster-faces-court-gold-coast-fraud-charges/101157792


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-17/guy-sebastian-had-barrow-to-push-against-ex-manager-court-told/101160696

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 10 June 2022

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.

https://www.moneymag.com.au/how-telstra-gave-my-details-to-crypto-scammers


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/sundayextra/ai-facial-recognition,-the-new-detention/13911830


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-06/flood-recovery-grant-applications-rejected-fraud-prevention/101127356


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.

https://www.channelnews.com.au/aussies-scammed-over-200m-so-far-this-year/


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.

https://theconversation.com/why-are-so-many-big-tech-whistleblowers-women-here-is-what-the-research-shows-184033


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-08/peter-ravenscroft-resume-fraud-frankston-council-ombudsman/101135066


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’.

https://www.holdingredlich.com/guilty-plea-to-market-manipulation-following-asic-investigation-into-online-pump-and-dump-posts


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.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/08/albanese-government-promises-national-corruption-watchdog-will-have-power-to-investigate-pork-barrelling


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.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/google-searches-for-ways-to-stop-scammers-20220608-p5as28

(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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-10/forexct-invesus-fti-consulting-compensation-losses/101130282


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-10/csiro-mark-wallis-sentenced-defrauding-government-300k/101044170

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 4 June 2022

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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-26/whistleblowers-journalist-protected-sheild-laws-queensland/101103422


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.

https://micky.com.au/elon-musk-reacts-to-deepfake-video-of-him-promoting-crypto-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.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/businessman-under-asic-investigation-distributed-intimate-photo-of-ex-wife-20220528-p5ap8k.html


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-30/cryptocurrency-four-corners-investigation/101092486

https://www.smh.com.au/business/entrepreneurship/parasitic-why-the-founder-of-dogecoin-thinks-crypto-is-a-scam-20220601-p5aq66.html


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.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/crown-hit-with-80m-fine-over-clandestine-deliberate-bank-card-scam-20220530-p5apqw.html

Access to digital version of SMH required to read article


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-31/star-not-suitable-to-hold-licence-casino-inquiry-hears/101113224


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.

https://www.aap.com.au/news/call-to-protect-aussies-from-crypto-scams/

https://www.9news.com.au/technology/buying-crypto-australia-bitcoin-ethereum-scams-warning-choice-cryptocurrency-news-latest-prices/71d47a9c-19f0-4d74-8642-5cb6203efaec


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-02/man-charged-over-alleged-property-investment-scam/101119816


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-03/michael-avenatti-lawyer-jailed-for-stormy-daniels-fraud/101123008


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.

https://www.macarthuradvertiser.com.au/story/7765704/wa-mans-assets-seized-over-laundering/?cs=12

https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/perth-businessman-hands-over-4m-after-being-unable-to-tell-police-where-his-wealth-came-from-20220602-p5aqn8.html

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 27 May 2022

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.

https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/news?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGZWJpenByZC5wb2xpY2UubnN3Lmdvdi5hdSUyRm1lZGlhJTJGMTAxNTEzLmh0bWwmYWxsPTE%3D


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).

https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/au/news/astrophotographer-faces-charges-for-stealing-dollar23k-from-photo-association


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.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/nsw-teacher-loses-500k-to-elaborate-scam-two-months-in-the-making/news-story/acc7ec62e1d7492c3c29f2361b34b7c9


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.

https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/consumer/2022/05/21/the-four-stages-of-a-scam-call/


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.

https://www.ifa.com.au/news/31220-advisers-urged-to-treat-unsolicited-green-bond-investment-opportunities-with-caution


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.

https://securitybrief.com.au/story/the-most-common-online-scams-in-australia


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-24/south-coast-nsw-convicted-dealing-proceeds-of-online-scam/101095122


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.

https://www.mondaq.com/australia/white-collar-crime-anticorruption-fraud/1195804/employee-fraud-recent-developments-in-australia


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-26/aboriginal-community-benefit-fund-youpla-and-missing-millions/101003884


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.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/fraudster-jailed-after-losing-millions-from-his-south-taranaki-iwi/UXH2WJCP26BA7UWAPRZIKUFXVI/

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 20 May 2022

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.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/organised-crime-thrives-because-nsw-cannot-follow-the-money-20220513-p5al86.html

(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.

https://www.amlintelligence.com/2022/05/austracs-chief-executive-defends-financial-crime-regulator/

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.

https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australias-treatment-of-whistleblowers-will-be-its-damnation,16351

https://thewest.com.au/politics/judge-rules-spying-lawfulness-not-relevant-c-6815732


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.

https://www.mpamag.com/au/news/general/papas-girlfriend-denies-knowledge-of-alleged-scam/405792


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.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/bitcoin-runaway-peter-foster-gets-bail-despite-six-month-disappearance-20220513-p5al10.html

(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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-16/canberra-man-jeremiah-deakin-sentenced-for-elaborate-scam/101065022


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.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/fsc-calls-for-ban-on-scam-ads-on-facebook-google-20220516-p5aln0


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.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/scams-australia-nsw-couple-loses-500000-to-highly-sophisticated-aussie-scam/95ec5a60-a34e-48ec-ab86-3248f614e343


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.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/prominent-sydney-corporate-lawyer-set-to-be-grilled-by-ponzi-scheme-investigators-20220516-p5alqu.html

(Access to digital version of SMH required to read full article.)


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-19/melissa-caddick-husband-leaves-mansion-to-recievers/101080638


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.

https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/employment-law/court-slaps-manager-with-six-figure-penalty-for-compensation-fraud/406540


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.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-19/melbourne-woman-sentenced-to-time-served-over-brazen-bank-scam/101080754

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 13 May 2022

12 stories this week:

 

 

Tax Office To Investigate 40,000 Australians Over Fake Business Scam – 6 May 2022
The Australian Taxation Office is cracking down on an $850 million fraud being spruiked on social media that involves people inventing fake businesses to claim GST refunds. It involves offenders setting up sham businesses and ABN applications, then submitting fictional Business Activity Statements to get a false GST refund.

https://10play.com.au/theproject/articles/tax-office-to-investigate-40000-australians-over-fake-business-scam/tpa220506xgmqb


Screen-sharing scams on the rise, watchdog warns – 6 May 2022
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is warning people to beware of people posing as investment advisers and offering to help them set up new schemes via online meeting platforms. They ask their victim to share the screen and enable remote access – which hands over control of their device and, potentially their bank account.

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https://au.news.yahoo.com/screen-sharing-scams-rise-watchdog-135327422.html&ct=ga&cd=CAEYACoTMjYzMzk4MTM5NTY3MzUwMDkwOTIfMDRhODUzMjNkY2QwYjhhNDpjb20uYXU6ZW46QVU6Ug&usg=AOvVaw2FfIHiPYUWyXYmr9RuHJeD


Employee monitoring software became the new normal during COVID-19. It seems workers are stuck with it – 6 May 2022
During the pandemic employee monitoring software, became the new normal, logging keystrokes and mouse movement, capturing screenshots, tracking location, and even activating webcams and microphones. Now the software is here to stay, even in the office. Furthermore, there’s no consistent set of laws operating across jurisdictions in Australia that regulate surveillance of the workplace.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2022-05-06/workers-returning-to-offices-covid-surveillance-software/101019128


Whistleblowers claim Facebook’s chaotic Australia news ban was a negotiating tactic – 6 May 2022
Former employees, backed by the Whistleblower Aid charity, claim Facebook purposefully “over-blocked” Australian pages during a critical ‘fire” period in order to gain leverage over the Australian government. Complaints filed with Australia’s Competition & Consumer Commission and the US Department of Justice, allege that the company engaged in “a criminal conspiracy to obtain a thing of value, namely favorable regulatory treatment”.

https://www.theverge.com/2022/5/6/23059684/facebook-australia-news-ban-internally-praised-overbroad-nonprofits-government-organizations

https://theubj.com/technology/42342/facebooks-australia-news-ban-was-intentionally-overblocked-whistleblowers-claims/


Hotel scams: What travellers need to look out for when booking online – 7 May 2022
There is a rise in scammers sending emails pretending to come from hoteliers and travel companies, directing holiday makers to fake COVID verification sites, that are there to steal their information and infect their computer. Scams often seek to get personal information such as birthdays, bank details, or other valuable confidential data. Unfortunately, many of these details are required when booking flights and hotels, making the travel industry a prime target for data breaches.

https://www.traveller.com.au/the-common-hotel-scams-on-the-rise-your-rights-if-youve-been-ripped-off-h23kb1


Public Interest Disclosures: Compensation for whistleblowers – 7 May 2022
Article outlines what a public interest disclosure is, who can make a public interest disclosures and what compensation there is for detrimental action taken against whistleblowers.

https://www.mondaq.com/australia/whistleblowing/1190986/public-interest-disclosures-compensation-for-whistleblowers


Corporate chicanery unveiled, Ice Hockey Australia supremo gets iced – 8 May 2022
Grove Bennet, a bankrupt and failed pyramid schemer’s management of Australian ice hockey has come to a fast finish because of an investigation in Michael West Media. Amongst other allegations it has been recorded that monetary data offered by Bennett was ‘misleading’, ‘false’ and ‘negligently misrepresented’.

https://michaelwest.com.au/corporate-chicanery-unveiled-ice-hockey-australia-supremo-gets-iced/


‘PC insanity’: How to handle misconduct investigations in the workplace – 10 May 2022
Article discusses some of the common mistakes made by employers when dealing with workplace misconduct. It states that allegations needs to demonstrate that the conclusions were properly reached, have regard to all of the evidence, and that there’s an explanation as to why decisions were made.

https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/corporate-wellness/pc-insanity-how-to-handle-misconduct-investigations-in-the-workplace/405336


Australian ‘Casanova Conman’ sentenced in visa fraud case – 11 May 2022
An Australian national (Paul Cristallo known as Paul Carter) has been repeatedly accused of swindling women, including allegedly defrauding his mother, was sentenced to eight months after pleading guilty to visa fraud. Carter allegedly posed as a multimillionaire developer and would woo women into turning over to him control of their financial assets.

https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Australian-Casanova-Conman-sentenced-in-visa-17165286.php


‘It pays to do your homework’: ASIC urges Australians to seek out licensed advisers – 12 May 2022
The corporate regulator has urged Australians who are seeking financial advice, to only connect with licenced professionals ensuring the adviser is both qualified and licensed, or authorised, to do the job.

https://www.ifa.com.au/news/31175-it-pays-to-do-your-homework-asic-urges-australians-to-seek-out-licensed-advisers


Portland doctor Abraham Stephanson admits to defrauding $792k from patients – 11 May 2022
Abraham Stephanson who was a Portland doctor has pleaded guilty to deception charges after defrauding 19 people out of almost $800,000 to support his gambling addiction and pay of his own mortgage. Stephanson used the guise of his father’s diagnosis of terminal cancer to defraud his victims.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-11/portland-doctor-pleads-guilty-to-defrauding-patients-/101053006


Organised crime rampant across Australia, secret briefings reveal – 13 May 2022
Organised crime is running rampant across Australia and agencies are struggling to fight it, according to secret briefings given to cabinet ministers and senior public servants, by the highest-ranking organised crime fighter in NSW. Police Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith says the fight against organised crime was hampered by the lacklustre approach of the nation’s financial crime agency Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)

https://www.smh.com.au/national/organised-crime-rampant-across-australia-secret-briefings-reveal-20220512-p5akpa.html

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 6 May 2022

13 stories this week:

 

 

Melbourne widow loses husband’s $760k life insurance payout to scammers – 29 April 2022
A widow lost her insurance payout to a scam. The scammers used Amazon Cloud Frontage which bypassed security measures, allowing them to appear on the first page of a Google web search for “Macquarie Bank term deposit”. The fraudsters were offering a 2.5 per cent rate under the guise of Macquarie Bank which was better than every other bank.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/melbourne-widow-loses-husbands-760k-life-insurance-payout-to-scammers/news-story/4f4f4b033955ecee391207c677a03a21


Is it legal for employers to monitor employees using surveillance devices? – 29 April 2022
Article outlines that there’s no general ‘Right to privacy in Australia’ and it is legal for your boss to monitor and track your work-related tasks and performance while at work; whether working from home or on site. However, there’s a complicated web of federal, state and territory laws. Employee monitoring is also subject to these laws and the various rules that regulate surveillance of employees can be very complicated.

https://www.mondaq.com/australia/employee-rights-labour-relations/1188248/is-it-legal-for-employers-to-monitor-employees-using-surveillance-devices


Alpaca scammers target would-be buyers online – 29 April 2022
Scammers are now targeting people who are looking to buy alpacas. One victim lost $500 to a scam after putting a deposit down. Serious buyers needed to look out for a reputable breeder to avoid such problems.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-29/scammers-target-would-be-alpaca-owners-online/101026350


9 people nabbed for offering non-existent jobs in Australia – 29 April 2022
The federal commercial crime investigation department director said a crime syndicate used social media to advertise job offers in Australia, and a website to guide the victims to apply for a work visa abroad. Victims were charged A$420 for processing (visa applications) and the syndicate would send them a screenshot showing the application document, as well as a copy of the fake document, using the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs letterhead.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/04/29/9-people-nabbed-for-offering-non-existent-jobs-in-australia/


How does identity theft protection work? Stop would-be scammers fast – 2 May 2022
Online scamming has led to a significant increase in identity theft. So reputable companies have stepped forward to offer identity theft protection services. Article looks at the eight types of identity theft and pros and cons of these protection services.

https://www.techradar.com/au/how-to/how-does-identity-theft-protection-work-stop-would-be-scammers-fast


Aspen Medical was given more than $1 billion in government PPE contracts despite no experience in large-scale procurement – 2 May 2022
Aspen Medical had no prior experience in large-scale procurement of medical products before it was picked for a $1 billion PPE contract by the government. A Four Corners investigation, in collaboration with Colombo’s Sunday Times, claims that Aspen Medical has been embroiled in an international criminal probe into corruption and money laundering.?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-02/aspen-medical-greg-hunt-four-corners/101022086


Former tennis champion Boris Becker jailed in UK bankruptcy case – 30 April 2022
A London court has sentenced German tennis great Boris Becker to jail for two years and six months for hiding hundreds of thousands of pounds of assets, after he was declared bankrupt. He was found guilty of transferring money to his ex-wife, Barbara, and estranged wife, Sharlely “Lilly” Kerssenberg, after his 2017 bankruptcy.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-30/former-tennis-champion-becker-jailed-in-uk-bankruptcy-case/101027752


Secret phone taps of ATO deputy commissioner’s son – discussing alleged multi-million-dollar tax fraud – 1 May 2022
Five people have pleaded not guilty over an alleged $105 million tax fraud. The alleged scheme involved the accused parties, ripping off the government, by keeping more than $100 million in GST and Pay As You Go (PAYG) tax, that was meant for the ATO. The jury was played a series of secretly recorded phone calls. The trial is expected to run for six months.

https://www.nationaltribune.com.au/secret-phone-taps-of-ato-deputy-commissioner-s-son-discussing-alleged-multi-million-dollar-tax-fraud/


On World Press Freedom Day, will Australia’s major parties pledge to fix our whistleblowing law? – 4 May 2022
Despite the accountability and change their whistleblowing has helped achieve, Richard Boyle, David McBride and Bernard Collaery all face potential jail time for speaking up about serious wrongdoing. Article reflects on their plight – and the government’s responsibility.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/02/on-world-press-freedom-day-will-australias-major-parties-pledge-to-fix-our-whistleblowing-law


Qantas loses appeal on ‘illegally’ outsourcing jobs, with compensation and penalties awaiting – 4 May 2022
Qantas has lost its appeal against a Federal Court decision that found the outsourcing of about 2,000 ground crew workers was illegal and in in breach of the Fair Work Act. Qantas argues the move to outsource staff was always in response to the pandemic and will appeal in the High Court.

Qantas loses appeal on ‘illegally’ outsourcing jobs, with compensation and penalties awaiting – ABC News


Dr Roger Munro sentenced to four and half years jail for fraud following ASIC investigation – 4 May 2022
ASIC’s investigation found Dr Munro received $299,600 from three investors after he had invited them to invest in his trading scheme, TradeStation Futures Trading Fund (TradeStation). Rather than investing those funds in TradeStation, Dr Munro dishonestly applied the funds to pay for personal expenses, make cash withdrawals, make payments to other investors and transferring funds into a trading account held in the name of Dr Munro’s wife.

https://www.miragenews.com/dr-roger-munro-sentenced-to-four-and-half-years-775265/


Crackdown sees more than half a billion scam calls blocked – 4 May 2022
Initiatives by Telcos and the ACMA have led to a 95 per cent reduction in reports of mobile porting fraud and more than 549 million scam phone calls being blocked.

https://www.nestegg.com.au/save-money/scams/crackdown-sees-more-than-half-a-billion-scam-calls-blocked


Senior police officer under investigation following allegations of aiding and abetting criminals – 5 May 2022
IBAC is holding public hearings into allegations Detective Sergeant Wayne Dean took cash payments from a debt collector for pressuring debtors to pay up. The Melbourne Police officer also struggled to explain how he came to have $18,000 in cash stashed in a safe at his home.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/senior-police-officer-under-investigation-following-allegations-of-aiding-and-abetting-criminals/ar-AAWRE1A?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=23f059dff09b49138bcc7c186b6a3821


Federal judge quits after investigation – 5 May 2022
A federal judge will leave the bench next week after only a year’s service following an investigation into his conduct.

https://www.afr.com/companies/professional-services/federal-judge-quits-after-investigation-20220505-p5aio0

(Accesss to digital version of AFR required to read article.)

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 29 April 2022

12 stories this week:

 

 

Trump wall funder pleads guilty to fraud – 22 April 2022
A US Air Force veteran who helped lead a fundraising campaign to build former president Donald Trump’s promised wall, along the US-Mexican border, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud donors of more than $US350,000. He spent the money on a boat, a luxury SUV, a golf cart, jewellery and cosmetic surgery.

https://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/7708559/trump-wall-funder-pleads-guilty-to-fraud/?cs=7484


The Butchers from Brazil: The corporate colossus devouring Australia’s food business – 22 April 2022
Australia’s biggest meat company JBS is repeatedly failing to protect its workers from horrific injuries
JBS is the corporate food giant that controls huge amounts of the meat we eat, owning brands from Coles and Woolworths to Aldi. Four Corners investigates this company who is accused for bribery and corruption in Brazil, corruption and sourcing meat from illegally deforested land in the Amazon rainforest. In Australia, they seem to be encouraged and supported and remain untouched.

Warwick Ranclaud suffered burns to 90 per cent of his body during a fire at a JBS facility in NSW. JBS Australia has an appalling track record in the workplace, repeatedly failing to protect its workers from death or serious injuries. They pleaded guilty to exposing its workers to a risk of death or serious injury and were convicted in November 2020.

https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/the-butchers-from-brazil:-the-corporate-colossus/13853830

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-26/jbs-meat-company-worker-safety-four-corners/101012734


SA teacher loses her $43k life savings in ‘sophisticated’ phone scam – 22 April 2022
A SA Teacher fell victim to a SIM swap hack, where a cyber-criminal had remotely gained control of her phone by impersonating her to her telco provider, Optus, and asking for an eSIM card. Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will soon require telco companies to use multi-factor authentication before completing a “high-risk transaction” like a SIM swap otherwise they will face legal action.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/sa-teacher-loses-her-43k-life-savings-in-sophisticated-phone-scam/news-story/8d8cac9e440dfd10ca2dc886dcbaa5b9


Australia’s Westpac Banking Fined A$113M for Multiple Compliance Breaches – 22 April 2022
An Australian court ordered Westpac Banking Corp. to pay A$113 million ($82.92 million) in penalties for multiple compliance failures across its businesses, after hearing the last of the six cases filed against it by the country’s corporate watchdog.

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2022/04/22/664243.htm


Australian banks are repaying 6.5 million customers billions of dollars in junk insurance refunds – 24 April 2022
6.5 million Australian adults have been sold junk insurance by banks, the banking Royal Commission revealed. The Royal Commission ordered financial institutions to set aside $10 billion for refunds, with customers now coming to collect.

https://7news.com.au/business/finance/australian-banks-are-repaying-australians-billions-of-dollars-in-junk-insurance-c-6528041


Australia’s overheated property market has become a target for hackers – and they’re scamming millions – 24 April 2022
Property settlement scams are becoming more common, as scammers turn their focus to the large and often lightly protected sums of money, that prospective buyers are transferring to the trust accounts of real estate agents and conveyancers. Poor cybersecurity, as well as the failure of banks to verify account names, has made Australia a target, experts say.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2022-04-24/scammers-hackers-real-estate-deposit-property-settlement/101000288


Cyber ecosystem nurtures Aussie security start-up – 25 April 2022
According to Crime Stoppers NSW CEO, Peter Price AM, Australia is emerging as a world leader in tackling cybercrime, thanks to more university educated cyber security professionals and a better understanding by business and government of the risks.

https://www.afr.com/technology/cyber-ecosystem-nurtures-aussie-security-start-up-20220404-p5aaq6


AUSTRAC issue financial crime guide – 26 April 2022
In line with AUSTRAC issuing a “financial crime guide” last week, the government’s financial intelligence agency wants banks to adopt more rigorous processes to monitor customers, who may be using cryptocurrencies to facilitate serious crime and to report any suspicious activity.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/austrac-wants-banks-to-identify-report-suspicious-crypto-activity-20220425-p5afvm

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


Former employee pleads guilty to defrauding Darwin construction business of nearly $90,000 – 26 April 2022
Kristy Gall unlawfully obtained a total of $88,273 from her former employer over four years. The fraud was discovered after unauthorised expenses were identified on a credit card issued to her.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-26/nt-court-woman-pleads-guilty-to-defrauding-darwin-company/101016152


Fee-free Plutus Payroll services ‘too good to be true’, jury told – 27 April 2022
A court has heard that the alleged co-conspirators behind a multimillion-dollar tax fraud scheme, offered fee-free payroll services that were too good to be true and voluntarily liquidated bottom-tier companies to put the Tax Office off the scent.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/fee-free-payroll-services-in-alleged-105m-tax-fraud-too-good-to-be-true-jury-told-20220427-p5ageq.html

(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)


Federal government receives open letter from 125 organisations, urging help for Youpla funeral insurance victims – 27 April 2022
125 organisations have written an open letter to the federal government, urging compensation for victims of the Youpla (ACBF) funeral insurance scheme collapse. Youpla first came under the microscope during the Banking Royal Commission, where it was revealed it had falsely marketed itself as Indigenous-owned.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-27/youpla-acbf-open-letter-2022-funeral-insurance/101019370


Serious Fraud Office visits Whyalla steelworkers owner GFG Alliance offices in UK in fraud, money laundering investigation – 28 April 2022
Properties linked to British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance – the owner of Whyalla’s steelworks – have been searched overnight by officers from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office. The Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into fraud, fraudulent trading and money laundering at the company last year.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-28/serious-fraud-office-visits-gfg-alliance-offices-in-uk/101021380

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 22 April 2022

15 stories this week:

 

Aussie watchdog forces major telcos to act on mobile scam – 8 April 2022
Telstra and Optus will soon be forced to crack down on a vicious scam targeting innocent mobile phone users in Australia. Under new The Australian Communications and Media Authority rules, telcos will be required to perform stronger customer identity checks when undertaking “high-risk” transactions such as new sim requests, changes to accounts or disclosure of personal information.

https://www.news.com.au/technology/aussie-watchdog-forces-major-telcos-to-act-on-mobile-scam/news-story/801b78e5db9bcbf486262695255e9c40


Schools chaplaincy provider bans cohabitation and ‘sexually intrusive’ behaviour in staff’s private life – 9 April 2022
A whistleblower has alleged Australia’s second biggest schools chaplaincy provider imposes a code that discriminates against staff based on relationship status and sexual conduct.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/09/schools-chaplaincy-provider-bans-cohabitation-and-sexually-intrusive-behaviour-in-staffs-private-life


Police seize almost $5m in cash, drugs and cryptocurrency teller machines in Sydney – 10 April 2022
Police have seized, three cryptocurrency teller machines, five kilograms of illicit drugs and 4.7 million in Sydney’s south-east, as part of a multi-agency operation involving the US Department of Homeland Security. The three charged are alleged members of an international organised crime group.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/police-seize-almost-5m-in-cash-drugs-and-cryptocurrency-teller-machines-in-sydney-20220410-p5acb3.html


Financial Fraud and Regulating Google and Facebook – 11 April 2022
Misinformation about investment products, have been costing Australians millions of dollars. The result of the ACCC v Meta inquiry could provide greater legal clarity on the duties of digital platforms absent legislation, when it comes to fraudulent advertisements published on their platforms. The inquiry is set to provide an interim report to the Treasurer by 30 September 2022.

https://www.miragenews.com/financial-fraud-and-regulating-google-and-762043/


Australians to Avoid $120 Million Loss With Automatic Anti-Scam System: Westpac Bank – 11 April 2022
A new banking system will help thousands of Australians save an estimated $120 million (US$89.3 million) annually by stopping scam transactions from fraudulent overseas sellers. Customers will have their credit and debit card transactions to overseas retailers automatically blocked if a scam is detected.

https://7news.com.au/business/banking/auto-scam-block-to-save-aussies-120m-c-6404765


Centrelink scammers target flood-hit residents in northern NSW – 12 April 2022
Scammers have obtained Centrelink customer identities and used their mailing addresses in flood-affected parts of New South Wales, to claim flood relief payments.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-12/identity-theft-nsw-flood-relief-centrelink-fraud/100969438


Accountant jailed over $390k tax fraud – 13 April 2022
A Victorian accountant, Immanuel Shmuel has been sent to jail over fraudulent BAS statements. He was convicted of attempting to obtain a financial advantage of more than $390,000 by amending his business activity statements to reduce his existing debt and receive a refund.

https://www.accountantsdaily.com.au/tax-compliance/16890-accountant-jailed-over-390-000-tax-fraud


US man jailed for breaching sanctions by advising North Korea on cryptocurrency – 13 April 2022
Virgil Griffith, a United States man has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for advising North Korea on how to use cryptocurrency trading, to evade sanctions.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-13/cryptocurrency-expert-jailed-north-korea-sanctions/100989350


A fugitive Chinese billionaire claims this cryptocurrency will overthrow Beijing. Experts say it has the ‘hallmarks of a scam’ – 18 April 2022
An ABC investigation, through analysing financial documents, private chat rooms and blockchain wallets, has unravelled a sophisticated cryptocurrency operation. The scheme has raised alarm bells for financial crime and cryptocurrency experts, who said it had the hallmarks of a scam. Guo Wengui believes HCoin, would be instrumental to their revolution and would replace the Chinese currency. The ABC asked several cryptocurrency and financial crime experts to analyse the trading platform Himalaya Exchange and HCoin. They concluded both raised red flags.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-18/guo-wengui-steve-bannon-back-hcoin-cryptocurrency/100991522


Jeremiah Deakin asks to be jailed after pleading guilty to deceiving former sex client into paying him $718,000 – 19 April 2022
Jeremiah Deakin, admitted to defrauding a man he met online for sex and pretending to be a female spy. The victim paid $718,000 over two years, which Deakin used to fund his ice and gambling addictions.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-19/former-canberra-man-asks-for-jail-over-two-year-fraud/100999680


Husband of Melissa Caddick stakes claim to a share of the millions she owned in property, luxury cars and jewellery – 19 April 2022
Melissa Caddick’s husband, Anthony Koletti is trying to claw back some of the millions in property, cars, jewellery and designer clothes owned by the Sydney fraudster. He submitted that his financial contribution to the household meant he was entitled to a share of the assets. Ms Caddick’s assets are being sold off to repay some of the $23 million, she stole from investors.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-19/husband-of-melissa-caddick-claims-share-of-her-assets/101000034


Big names (and an economist) in sacked Deloitte director’s haul – 20 April 2022
It took Deloitte less than a month to conclude its action against former director Paul Quill. He’s agreed to repay $3.1 million to the firm, hopefully from the proceeds of the artworks, furniture, fine watches and the like his old employer claims he purchased with fraudulent expense claims.

https://www.afr.com/rear-window/big-names-and-an-economist-in-sacked-deloitte-director-s-haul-20220420-p5aeth

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)


AUSTRAC works with businesses to target ransomware and criminal use of digital currencies – 22 April 2022
AUSTRAC has released two new financial crime guides to help businesses, stop ransomware attack payments and the criminal abuse of digital currencies. The guides contain practical information and indicators to help businesses identify and report if a payment could be related to ransomware attacks, or someone could be using digital currencies to commit serious crimes such as money laundering, scams, or terrorism financing

https://www.austrac.gov.au/news-and-media/media-release/austrac-works-businesses-target-ransomware-and-criminal-use-digital-currencies


‘No apparent logical reason’ why former CSIRO executive Mark Wallis defrauded government of $300,000 – 22 April 2022
The ACT Supreme Court has heard there was no obvious explanation for why Mark Wallis, a former CSIRO executive spent more than $300,000 of government money on cars, a jet ski and a gym membership. Mark Wallis has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced later in the year.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-22/act-former-csiro-executive-fraud-supreme-court/101006806


Former Gold Coast rich-list developer Craig Gore caught conducting business while in jail on fraud charges – 22 April 2022
Disgraced Gold Coast rich-lister Craig Gore, has been sprung by corrections officers, virtually meeting employees and taking a digital tour of a building connected to a business he was illegally running from jail. He pleaded guilty and was fined $1,500

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-22/craig-gore-caught-carrying-on-a-business-while-in-jail/101003128

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 1 April 2022

12 stories this week:

 

Australia’s carbon credit scheme ‘largely a sham’, says whistleblower who tried to rein it in – 22 March 2022
Professor Andrew Macintosh who is an environmental law and policy expert at The Australian National University (ANU) says the system, which gives credits for projects such as regrowing native forests after clearing, is ‘a fraud’ on the environment, taxpayers and consumers. The allegations have been referred to the Commonwealth Auditor General for investigation.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/23/australias-carbon-credit-scheme-largely-a-sham-says-whistleblower-who-tried-to-rein-it-in

https://reneweconomy.com.au/a-fraud-on-the-environment-whistleblower-slams-australias-carbon-offset-regime/


Six charged over alleged cannabis cultivation and COVID-19 rental relief payment fraud – 24 March 2022
Detectives have charged six people – including three Real Estate Agents – following an investigation into the alleged use of rental properties for the cultivation of cannabis, and fraudulent acquisition of COVID-19 rental relief payments.

https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/news?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGZWJpenByZC5wb2xpY2UubnN3Lmdvdi5hdSUyRm1lZGlhJTJGMTAwNjY4Lmh0bWwmYWxsPTE%3D


How technology is solving crimes – 24 March 2022
Thanks to advances in technology, solving crimes has come a long way. Advances range from sophisticated finger mark detection methods, to rapid in-field testing, for example, a portable forensics lab (‘lab-on-a-chip’), forensic genetic genealogy, and use of artificial intelligence in different aspects of the forensic work.

https://ia.acs.org.au/article/2022/how-technology-is-solving-crimes.html


Over 2m Aussies fall victim to scams and fraud – 24 March 2022
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimated 55 per cent of Aussies, or about 11.1 million people, had encountered a scam during the 2020-21 financial year, most commonly over the phone (38.3 per cent), via email (32.2 per cent), text message (23.4 per cent) or online (20.2 per cent).

https://www.nestegg.com.au/save-money/scams/over-2m-aussies-fall-victim-to-scams-and-fraud


The growing data privacy debate: is AI being used to undermine your privacy? – 24 March 2022
With data breaches on the rise, data privacy has become a key concern for many Australians, who are sceptical of the activities of businesses that collect, handle and share revealing information about their activities, interests and preferences. Without adequate AI regulation and data privacy laws and guidance, businesses are having to fill in the gaps.

https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/business-law/growing-data-privacy-debate-ai-being-used-undermine-your-privacy


Four-word Facebook messenger scam to ignore – 25 March 2022
Facebook Messenger users have been told to ignore four-letter messages from friends such as “Is this you in this video?” or “look what I found”. Clicking on these could lead to disastrous financial consequences or stolen personal information.

https://www.news.com.au/technology/online/hacking/fourword-facebook-messenger-scam-to-ignore/news-story/119da74ce1929598053471b95b76c1d9


Whistleblower says Microsoft spent millions on bribes abroad (yahoo.com) – 26 March 2022
Former Microsoft manager Yasser Elabd, alleged that Microsoft fired him after he alerted leadership to a workplace where employees, subcontractors and government operators regularly engaged in bribery. He also claims that attempts to escalate his concerns, resulted in retaliation within Microsoft by managers, and eventual termination from his role.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/whistleblower-says-microsoft-spent-millions-on-bribes-in-africa-and-the-middle-east-002428556.html


Cryptocurrency scammers turn to deep fakes to snare victims – 27 March 2022
Cybersecurity and consumer experts say cryptocurrency scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated with scammers creating deep fakes of ordinary people. He said these deep fakes ?- which use artificial intelligence and machine learning to create fake videos and images ?- were more convincing when they centred on regular people.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/cryptocurrency-scammers-turn-to-deep-fakes-to-snare-victims-20220318-p5a5un.html


Police close in on person who helped Papas leave the country – 27 March 2022
NSW Police are zeroing in on the person who supported alleged fraudster Bill Papas to leave the country in June 2021, as it continues its investigations into the Westpac and Forum Finance saga.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/police-close-in-on-person-who-helped-papas-leave-the-country-20220325-p5a7yh


New ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb vows to target price gougers, plays down Murdoch family links – 28 March 2022
ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb has vowed to target petrol and food retailers who exploit anxiety from recent flood disasters, the pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine to gouge prices.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-28/accc-chair-gina-cass-gottlieb/100943878


Fake SMSF scammers pounce during COVID-19 – 29 March 2022
The Australian Taxation Office has said it is witnessing an increase in Self Managed Superannuation identity fraud, where crooks use tax professionals to register phony funds to win massive windfalls.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/fake-smsf-scammers-pounce-during-covid-20220329-p5a8tx

(Access to AFR required to access article..)


Manager tells inquiry of Star casino’s ‘concerning’ lies to Chinese bank – 30 March 2022
A Star casino manager has told a public inquiry about “serious” and “repeated” misrepresentations the company made to the Bank of China concerning the source of millions of dollars. Gambling is illegal in China and local banks often block transfers to foreign casinos. The inquiry, being run by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA), heard about a subsidiary company set up by Star, called EEI Services Hong Kong, to assist Chinese customers in accessing money for gaming in Australia.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-30/star-casino-inquiry-hears-evidence-on-lies-to-bank-of-china-/100951230

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 25 March 2022

15 stories this week:

 

Star senior manager ‘utterly misled’ bank over use of controversial credit cards at casino, inquiry told – 17 March 2022
An inquiry has been told that a senior manager at Star Entertainment Group “utterly misled” the National Australia Bank, about a controversial credit card used by high-rollers at the casino giant’s gambling venues. In 2019, a Chinese financial services company – became concerned that its cards were being used at Star venues to pay for large “suspicious” gambling transactions in breach of its rules, and passed on its concerns to NAB, with the bank then contacting the casino operator.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/mar/17/star-senior-manager-utterly-misled-bank-over-use-of-controversial-credit-cards-at-casino-inquiry-told

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/multimillion-dollar-transactions-at-the-star-caught-attention-of-china-s-central-bank-inquiry-20220318-p5a5rj.html


Surveillance Is a Huge Issue For Domestic Abuse Victims, So the Government Is Stepping In – 18 March 2022
Following a national survey by WESNET, which revealed that almost all women experiencing family violence suffered from technology abuse, the federal government will invest $104 million over the next five years into domestic violence funding.

https://thelatch.com.au/domestic-violence-australia-funding/

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-18/dv-survivors-spyware-hidden-camera/100919670


ATO flags cryptocurrency crackdown amid evasion concerns – 18 March 2022
Tax authorities will tighten scrutiny of cryptocurrencies in a bid to ensure users are accurately reporting gains and identify whether it is being used as an investment or for business purposes. The clampdown comes amid regulatory concerns that many taxpayers believe cryptocurrency operates in an anonymous digital world, or that gains are tax-free, or only taxable when holdings are cashed back into Australian dollars. ATO will also target investors correctly calculating costs such as brokerage fees, transfer and platform costs, borrowing expenses, interest on loans, and legal fees.

https://www.afr.com/wealth/personal-finance/ato-flags-cryptocurrency-crackdown-amid-evasion-concerns-20220315-p5a4t2


ACCC takes Facebook owner to court over fake cryptocurrency ads – 18 March 2022
The AC has launched a world-leading legal case against Facebook owner Meta, for publishing scam cryptocurrency ads featuring well-known Australians. The ACCC alleges this conduct is in breach of the Australian Consumer Law or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/accc-takes-facebook-owner-to-court-over-fake-cryptocurrency-ads-20220318-p5a5tx.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed


Fraudulent GST refunds land NSW man in jail – 18 March 2022
A New South Wales man has been sentenced after obtaining more than $171,000 in fraudulent GST refunds. In addition to his criminal conviction for tax fraud, he was also ordered to repay the full amount in reparations.

https://www.nationaltribune.com.au/fraudulent-gst-refunds-land-nsw-man-in-jail/


Stolen Bitcoin, fake personas and a trip to Ukraine: Inside the case against crypto heist couple Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein – 19 March 2022
Social influencer, writer, entrepreneur and amateur rapper Heather Morgan and her husband Ilya Lichtenstein, a Russian-American tech entrepreneur, face up to 25 years in jail if found guilty of conspiring to launder stolen Bitcoin worth billions of dollars.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-19/bitcoin-hack-who-are-ilya-lichtenstein-heather-morgan/100840506


Mining sector sexual misconduct: FIFO sexual harassment whistleblowers tell shocking allegations to 60 Minutes – 19 March 2022
A married mother of two, who made particularly disturbing allegations of persistent sexual harassment in the mining industry to a parliamentary inquiry, is continuing her whistleblower campaign, fronting cameras to tell her story.

https://www.perthnow.com.au/business/mining/mining-sector-sexual-misconduct-fifo-sexual-harassment-whistleblowers-tell-shocking-allegations-to-60-minutes-c-6135868


Former Apple employee, charged with fraud amounting to $13.47 million, has finances frozen, five properties seized – 20 March 2022
Dhirendra Prasad, a former Apple employee has been charged with defrauding the tech giant out of more than $US10 million ($13.47 million) by taking kickbacks, stealing equipment and laundering money. The federal government has seized five real estate properties and financial accounts worth about $US5 million from Mr Prasad, and will seek to keep those assets as proceeds of crime.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-20/man-charged-defraud-apple-10m-dollars/100924870


Former Kleenmaid director sentenced for fraud and insolvent trading – 21 March 2022
On 18 March 2022, a former Kleenmaid director Andrew Eric Young, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated fraud by dishonestly causing $330,000 to be withdrawn from a Kleenmaid company bank account, two days prior to administrators being appointed. Mr Young transferred the funds to a bank account held by a company, in which he held an interest and from which he and his wife would benefit.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-20/man-charged-defraud-apple-10m-dollars/100924870


Australian judge accuses UN of ‘coup d’etat’ after dismissal from case involving Chinese dissidents – 21 March 2022
Australian judge Rowan Downing, QC, has accused the United Nations of an “attack upon the independence of the judiciary” and a coup d’etat after he was removed from the case of a whistleblower (Emma Reily) who had accused the global body of passing on information to Beijing about Chinese dissidents.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/australian-judge-accuses-un-of-coup-d-etat-after-dismissal-from-case-involving-chinese-dissidents-20220318-p5a5zd.html

(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)


At the heart of all fraud lies deceit: building a profile of a corporate fraudster – 21 March 2022
Dean Mitchell from KPGM, provides some insights on white collar fraud and the people who commit it. He touches on patterns of behaviours and claims corporate fraudsters, according to forensic psychologists, go out of their way to refine their techniques, to avoid past mistakes and maximise what they can get away with.

https://newsroom.kpmg.com.au/heart-fraud-lies-deceit-building-profile-corporate-fraudster/


Alexei Navalny – jailed Russian Opposition Leader and vocal Putin critic – found guilty of fraud – 22 March 2022
A Russian court has found jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny guilty of large-scale fraud and sentenced him to nine years in a maximum-security prison, with police detaining both of his lawyers immediately after the hearing. Navalny is one of the most prominent critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has dismissed the criminal case brought against him as politically motivated.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-22/jailed-kremlin-critic-alexei-navalny-found-guilty-of-fraud/100931020


Craig Thomson, accused of AVO breach and facing fraud charges, granted bail – 23 March 2022
Former federal Labor MP Craig Thomson has been granted strict bail after spending the night in custody on the NSW Central Coast, accused of fraud offences and breaching an apprehended violence order. Police alleged he made two fake COVID-19 business grant applications, dating back two years, totalling $25,000.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-23/craig-thomson-gets-bail-after-alleged-avo-breach/100933914


Erskine resident warns others after almost losing $300,000 to investment scam – 22 March 2022
A 73-year-old Erskine resident was almost left $300,000 out of pocket after he was targeted by an investment scam. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reported people lost over $27,000 to investment scams just in February, 2022. Article reminds readers to check if a financial advisor is registered via the ASIC website and check ASIC’s list of companies you should not deal with.

https://www.busseltonmail.com.au/story/7668626/how-one-phone-call-saved-mandurah-resident-from-losing-300000-to-scam/?cs=1435


ASIC financial influencer crackdown targets unlicensed financial advice – 23 March 2022
The financial watchdog has put social media finance influencers on notice, with the ASIC financial influencer crackdown threatening up to five years’ jail and $1 million-plus fines for ‘influencers’ giving out financial advice without a licence.

https://www.gadgetguy.com.au/asic-financial-influencer-crackdown-targets-unlicensed-financial-advice/

https://www.channelnews.com.au/asic-targets-finfluencers-who-put-investors-at-risk/

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 18 March 2022

11 stories this week:

 

Unfair practices law needed to improve consumer protection, says outgoing ACCC chair Rod Sims – 4 March 2022
Ex ACCC chair, Rod Sims has said Australia needs a law banning “unfair practices”. He said such a law could help protect consumers from having their own data used against them. He mentioned practices such as false scarcity reminders such as low-stock warnings, false sales countdown timers, targeted advertising utilising consumers’ own data to exploit their individual characteristics, pre-selected add-ons and design interfaces that discourage unsubscribing.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-04/unfair-practices-law-needed-to-improve-consumer-protection-sims/100880334

NSW man arrested after 2 women lost $20k – 11 March 2022
A western Sydney man has been arrested after two women were defrauded and lost savings totalling almost $20,000. NSW Police will allege in court, the man posed as an employee of a financial institution and called the women, telling them their accounts had been hacked. He then allegedly when to their homes before taking their money.

https://7news.com.au/politics/law-and-order/nsw-man-arrested-after-2-women-lost-20k-c-6013279?msclkid=4940daf0a66711ec90bb9ee8b204eabc

Scamwatch: It can be hard to say no to a cute puppy but don’t rush in and fall for a scam – 11 March 2022
Australian Community Media has compiled a list of current scams identified on sites such as scamwatch.gov.au, cyber.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website, dedicated to informing people about fraudulent and dishonest activities. This article summarises what to look out for.

https://www.northernbeachesreview.com.au/story/7654748/buying-or-adopting-pets-online-watch-out-for-red-flags/

Crown v Shannon: bigwigs off the hook, small fish fried – 14 March 2022
Michael West reports on the world of deluxe double standards. For example, ASIC would NOT be pursuing Crown directors for breaching their duties. Yet ASIC is still pursuing the bank victims advocate, Geoff Shannon of the website Unhappy Banking, even trying to drag him off his hospital bed after spinal surgery to force him to face charges in another state.

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/crown-v-shannon-bigwigs-off-the-hook-small-fish-fried/

Former Wirecard chief executive charged with fraud – 14 March 2022
Wirecard’s former chief executive Markus Braun has been formally charged by Munich public prosecutors with fraud, breach of trust and accounting manipulation after a 21-month criminal investigation into the collapse of the German payments group.

https://www.ft.com/content/c0bcaaab-546a-4e37-861e-2a29f28e1998

Fake heiress Anna Sorokin makes new bid to fight deportation – 15 March 2022
Anna Sorokin, the convicted swindler who claimed to be a German heiress to finance a posh lifestyle in New York, is making a new bid to fight deportation. She scammed New York’s elite, hotels and banks out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-16/anna-sorokin-attempts-to-fight-deportation/100914092

Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell to face trial on theft charges after losing High Court appeal – 15 March 2022
South Australian Independent MP Troy Bell will face trial in October accused of misappropriating public funds, after he lost his High Court bid to stop the prosecution.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-15/sa-troy-bell-high-court-loses-appeal-bid/100911124

Accidentally paid a fraudulent invoice? Your legal position is murky – 15 March 2022
If you have accidentally paid a fraudulent invoice, are you liable to pay an invoice a second time, or is the supplier liable for failing to have adequate cyber security? The answers to this question will depend on the precise circumstances that occurred surrounding the fraudulent payments. Article reviews basic principles that have been considered.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=b88b8b74-ecbd-4236-93f9-0dd48d3d8883

Investigation after images of Sydney home altered to include ”expansion joints’ that were never there – 15 March 2022
NSW Fair Trading is investigating allegations that builder Metricon photo shopped images of a Sydney family’s dream home, to include expansion joints” that were, in fact, not there.

https://australiannewsonline.com.au/2022/03/14/investigation-after-images-of-sydney-home-altered-to-include-expansion-joints-that-were-never-there/?msclkid=c8da257ca65911ec86f4fc17f05b27b1

ASIC announces new whistleblower review – 16 March 2022
The corporate regulator is preparing to review whistleblower programs from a sample of companies. The upcoming review will assess how selected companies handle whistleblower disclosures, how they use the information from disclosures to address issues or change their operations, and the level of board and executive oversight of the program.

https://www.ifa.com.au/news/30901-asic-announces-new-whistleblower-review

Mastercard says real-time payments increase risk of fraud – 16 March 2022
Mastercard is developing a new service for banks that will add card-like consumer protections to transactions sent over the real-time payment system that competes with its network.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/mastercard-says-real-time-payments-increase-risk-of-fraud-20220314-p5a4h8

(Digital access to AFR required to read article.)

Melissa Caddick’s husband Anthony Koletti pens scathing letter, claiming ASIC ‘dehumanised’ his wife – 17 March 2022
Melissa Caddick’s husband says ASIC removed CCTV cameras from their Sydney home, so they will never know if his wife was murdered. He claims his wife was ‘dehumanised’ in her home by ASIC investigators.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-17/melissa-caddick-husband-claims-asic-removed-cctc-from-home/100918388

Mr Flamboyant’s fraud charge begs the question: How can suppliers ensure they’re paid? – 17 March 2022
Article looks at what can suppliers do to ensure they do not find themselves at the mercy of an alleged fraudster who does not pay for good and services rendered.

https://www.smartcompany.com.au/finance/fraud/mr-flamboyants-fraud-suppliers-ensure-theyre-paid/

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 11 March 2022

9 stories this week:

 

Mortgage broker frauds: Here’s how to avoid them – 5 March 2022
There are two primary types of mortgage broker frauds: fraud for profit and fraud for housing. Article explains how they differ and tips hon how to avoid them. Mortgage broker frauds: Here’s how to avoid them

https://www.mpamag.com/au/mortgage-industry/guides/mortgage-broker-frauds-heres-how-to-avoid-them/397416


Who Is Liable For Credit Card Fraud In Australia? – 5 March 2022
Card providers in Australia usually have a zero liability stance when it comes to credit card fraud. For those who follow the terms of their offer, there is no concern of liability whatsoever. Article also answers other questions such as “Do credit cards have frauid liability?” and “What Is The Punishment For Credit Card Fraud In Australia?”

https://www.ictsd.org/who-is-liable-for-credit-card-fraud-in-australia/


Half billion-dollar Bill: accused fraudster living the good life in Greece – 6 March 2022
Alleged fraudster Bill Papas has broken his silence as a joint investigation by The Age, Herald and 60 Minutes reveals his comfortable life in Greece. His statement included words such as …”I have been deprived of the opportunity to fund any meaningful engagement with federal proceedings commenced by a well-resourced financial institution. I do intend to address the matters raised at an appropriate time but for now, my primary focus is my health.” McGrathNicol partner and a liquidator to Bill Papas’ businesses, Jason Ireland, says it’s the biggest alleged fraud he’s ever seen.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/half-billion-dollar-bill-accused-fraudster-living-the-good-life-in-greece-20220303-p5a1d1.html


ASIC moves to shut some recourse avenues for scam victims – 7 March 2022
ASIC is backing a tightening of the voluntary code of practice regulating electronic payments. The changes would limit its usefulness as a mechanism for consumers to recover losses from scams related to ATM, eftpos, card, internet and mobile banking transactions.

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/asic-moves-to-shut-some-recourse-avenues-for-scam-victims-576996


Electronic surveillance law reform a step in the right direction – 8 March 2022
The legislative framework governing electronic surveillance by Australia’s policing and intelligence agencies is undergoing major reforms. However, developing a new, concise, ‘streamlined’ and ‘future-proofed’ framework without excessively compromising right to privacy is complicated.

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/electronic-surveillance-law-reform-a-step-in-the-right-direction/


Adelaide family loses $93,000 after bitcoin hackers empty secure offline wallet – 7 March 2022
An Adelaide dad’s plan to pay off his mortgage and retire early has backfired, after discovering his off line ”secure” cryptocurrency wallet was hacked. A report from crypto data company Chainalysis released in February found that cryptocurrency-based crime soared in 2021.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/adelaide-family-loses-93000-after-bitcoin-hackers-empty-secure-offline-wallet/news-story/4382a1bac6cf10e7c5db5daac4e1104d


Beware the “disaster chasers”: Four ways to avoid scams amid the flood crisis – 8 March 2022
Westpac’s general manager of fraud prevention and financial crime, says scams have almost tripled through the pandemic and perpetrators have been known to pose as insurers, businesses or government organisations offering ‘help’ to victims of extreme weather events such as floods. ScamWatch advises that Australians only donate to a legitimate charity after checking that is on the national register and to be weary of ‘disaster chasers’.

https://www.smartcompany.com.au/finance/fraud/four-ways-avoid-scams-amid-the-flood-crisis/

https://www.nestegg.com.au/save-money/scams/flood-disasters-give-rise-to-scams


Elizabeth Holmes’s ex may hold her ticket to less prison time – 9 March 2022
Any new information that comes out pointing to Holmes’s former partner Ramesh “Sunny’ Balwani’s as the mastermind of the Theranos ”blood testing startup fraud”, improves Holmes’s chances of getting a reduction in prison time. She accused him of emotional and sexual abuse and the force behind everything.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/elizabeth-holmes-s-ex-may-hold-her-ticket-to-less-prison-time-20220309-p5a2yw.html


Papas’ girlfriend to return to Australia to fight allegations – 10 March 2022
A lawyer for Bill Papas’ girlfriend Louise Agostino says she will return to Australia to defend allegations made by Westpac, that she was a part of a conspiracy to defraud the bank of $285 million. The bank is seeking a court order that Ms Agostino “pay damages for the tort of unlawful means conspiracy”.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/papas-girlfriend-to-return-to-australia-to-fight-allegations-20220310-p5a3dr

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 18 February 2022

13 stories this week:

 

‘Whistleblowers are suffering’: Lawyers renew calls to drop Collaery prosecution – 9 February 2022
Bernard Collaery is the whistleblower that revealed that the federal government spied on neighbour Timor-Leste during tense negotiations. The proceedings returned before the ACT Supreme Court to hear the Attorney-General’s request to add further, secret evidence. This will support its attempt to reverse an ACT Court of Appeal judgment that denied the federal government a secret trial.

https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/biglaw/33595-whistleblowers-are-suffering-lawyers-renew-calls-to-drop-collaery-prosecution


Australian cryptocurrency investors targeted in fake crypto app scam, but Google says it ‘takes action’ when ‘violations found’ – 10 February 2022
The Australian Tax Office estimates up to 600,000 Australians have invested in “crypto-assets”. The latest scam involves fake apps offered on stores like Google Play.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-10/cryptocurrency-scam-australia-targets-crypto-investors/100810352


CQUniversity pilot project to byte into cybercrime menace costing Australians billions – 11 February 2022
A CQUniversity-led tech team hopes its prototype device can help Australian businesses combat an escalating cybercrime crisis, which cost the nation a staggering $33 billion last year. The device will snip and sit in the network and whenever there is a human error – such as letting the default password onto your smart device or forgetting to encrypt customer data to your database – it will identify them and prepare a report.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-11/cquniversity-pilot-project-fights-33-billion-cybercrime-crisis/100818252


Nuix not out of the woods as yet as ASIC continues to probe – 12 February 2022
ASIC concluded an investigation into the Nuix prospectus and said it was not taking any further action.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/nuix-not-out-of-the-woods-yet-as-asic-continues-to-probe-20220211-p59vs6.html

(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article.)


Australia drops landmark criminal cartel case against Citi, Deutsche – 12 February 2022
A cartel lawsuit against Citigroup Inc, Deutsche Bank AG and four former executives over a $1.8 billion share issue has been withdrawn. The move ends a challenge to the way investment banks jointly underwrite capital raisings and removes the threat of jail for the former bank executives.

https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/australian-prosecutors-drop-cartel-charges-against-citi-deutsche-bank-2022-02-11/


The “Bonnie and Clyde” of cybercrime: a record seizure of stolen bitcoins – 14 February 2022
Heather Morgan and Ilya Lichtenstein were arrested in the United States where they are suspected of having tried to launder more than three billion dollars in stolen bitcoins. The FBI says they tried to hide their tracks using “an extensive range of cutting-edge technologies”.

https://cryptowiky.com/2022/02/14/the-bonnie-and-clyde-of-cybercrime-a-record-seizure-of-stolen-bitcoins/


Trump Organization accountants say financial statements should ‘no longer be relied upon’ – 15 February 2022
The accounting firm that prepared Donald Trump’s annual financial statements says the documents “should no longer be relied upon”, after New York’s Attorney-General said they regularly misstated the value of assets. New York’s Attorney-General is investigating “fraudulent or misleading” valuations.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-15/donald-trump-accountants-say-documents-can-not-be-used/100830682


ACCC issues warning over surge in romance scams – 15 February 2022
Scamwatch noted 3,400 filed romance scam cases that cost Australians $56 million – a 44% increase from the year prior. Keeping in mind that only 13% of victims report the incident. Luring people into handing over money and romance baiting, to lure them into investing in cryptocurrency are the most common romance scams.

https://www.brokernews.com.au/news/breaking-news/accc-issues-warning-over-surge-in-romance-scams-279584.aspx

https://psnews.com.au/2022/02/16/dating-scams-deliver-financial-heartbreak/

Fraud sentencing set for March – 15 February 2022
A former financial officer of the Mulwala Water Ski Club has been committed to the NSW District Court for sentencing on three counts of ‘dishonestly obtain financial benefit by deception’. Ms Kaye Leanne Ferguson was initially charged with 27 counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception after transferring more than $1.1 million from the club to multiple offshore bank accounts between December 2020 and January 2021.

https://www.sheppnews.com.au/news/fraud-sentencing-set-for-march/

Hollywood email scam nets $900m – 17 February 2022
Los Angeles actor Zachary Horwitz, fabricated email communications, convincing investors to hand over cash, telling them that their money would be used to acquire film distribution rights, which would then be licensed to online platforms like Netflix and HBO. Horwitz was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after admitting he operated a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

https://ia.acs.org.au/article/2022/elaborate-hollywood-email-scam-nets–900m.html

Criminal abuse’: record sums of illicit money in cryptocurrency, report says – 17 February 2022′
A report from Chainalysis, reveals record sums of illicit money are being channelled through cryptocurrencies, including theft and money laundering. The research estimates that $A12 billion was laundered in cryptocurrency in 2021, a 30 per cent increase from 2020.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/criminal-abuse-record-sums-of-illicit-money-in-cryptocurrency-report-says/news-story/da5fbf2bd4e494811c4e403b7ae30a86

Warning of fraud risks as travel resumes – 18 February 2022
A new report has warned of vaccination-related fraud risks as Australia reopens to international travellers in coming months. The U4 Anti-corruption Resource Centre told the committee organised crime networks, corrupt healthcare workers and anti-vaxxers were the main perpetrators of fraud.

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7625542/warning-of-fraud-risks-as-travel-resumes/?cs=14231

Embellishing the truth in a CV is common. But here’s where you can cross the line into fraud – 18 February 2022
Article describes examples of where there’s a clear point at which an embellished CV ventures into criminal territory.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/embellishing-the-truth-in-a-cv-is-common-but-here-e2-80-99s-where-you-can-cross-the-line-into-fraud/ar-AATZYzr?ocid=BingNewsSearch

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 11 February 2022

17 stories this week:

 

ATO puts out urgent alert warning of cryptocurrency scam – posted 4 February 2022
Fake texts claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) attempt to pin the receiver for cryptocurrency tax evasion and encourage mobile phone users to provide information about their online wallets.

https://www.news.com.au/technology/online/hacking/ato-puts-out-urgent-alert-warning-of-cryptocurrency-scam/news-story/a9054186a30a312cf450af83407aefc8


Sydney man’s plan to retire at 58 backfires after epic crypto hack – posted 4 February 2022
Scammers have cleaned out a man’s cryptocurrency portfolio and now, six months later, the couple have lost any hope of getting 100k back after investigations hit a dead end.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/sydney-mans-plan-to-retire-at-58-backfires-after-epic-crypto-hack/news-story/0ebfe584d7e3c3fe20d6d8c7933a9cf7


US attorney, Michael Avenatti, convicted of stealing from Stormy Daniels over book deal detailing tryst with Donald Trump – posted 5 February 2022
US attorney Michael Avenatti, has been convicted of cheating porn actor Stormy Daniels, out of nearly $300,000 she was supposed to get for writing a book, about an alleged tryst with former president Donald Trump.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-05/michael-avenatti-convicted-of-stealing-from-stormy-daniels/100807444


Australia: NSW regulator takes Melco to Supreme Court for $2.6B in costs over Crown inquiry – posted 7 February 2022
Melco Resorts & Entertainment is being taken to court by the New South Wales gaming regulator. The operator could pay millions of dollars, over its role in the inquiry led by Commissioner Patricia Bergin into Australian gaming giant Crown Resorts. The probe found a series of failures in corporate governance, including money laundering at the company’s casinos.

https://www.yogonet.com/international//news/2022/02/07/61283-australia-nsw-regulator-takes-melco-to-supreme-court-for–26b-in-costs-over-crown-inquiry


Corporate Giant Accused of Systemic Workplace Bullying and Harassment – posted 7 February 2022
Corporate giant DP World has been publicly called out by a number of its employees who claim the company is covering up systemic bullying, assault and harassment. It’s also claimed the company actively protects perpetrators and vilifies victims.

https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/corporate-giant-accused-of-systemic-workplace-bullying-and-harassment/


Criminal charges are ‘nonsense’: Palmer – posted 8 February 2022
Clive Palmer who faces two counts of dishonestly for misusing his position as a director and two counts of dishonestly gaining a benefit or advantage, says that the criminal fraud charges against him, are a bid to “do him slowly” with no real prospect of conviction.

https://www.aap.com.au/news/criminal-charges-are-nonsense-palmer/


Woman jailed after stealing nearly $1m to play gaming app that never paid out – posted 8 February 2022
Tammy Maree Buckley has been sentenced to six and a half years in jail after swindling almost $1 million from her employer to play a gambling app on her mobile phone. The court heard that she committed 202 fraudulent transactions over a year.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-08/mackay-woman-jailed-over-1-million-dollar-gambling-fraud/100804306


Collaery charges must be dropped and whistleblowing laws overhauled – posted 8 February 2022
The Human Rights Law Centre has called on the Morrison government to drop the unjust charges against whistleblower Bernard Collaery and urgently reform Australia’s whistleblower protection laws. Kieran Pender, Senior Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said ”Whistleblowers should be protected, not punished”.

https://www.hrlc.org.au/news/2022/2/8/collaery-charges-must-be-dropped-and-whistleblowing-laws-overhauled


$2.75 million cash seized by Federal authorities in Western Australia – posted 8 February 2022
$2.75 million in illicit cash and three luxury cars have been confiscated after three separate investigations in Western Australia. The investigation began after receiving financial intelligence from AUSTRAC that identified suspicious account activity and large funds transfers between bank accounts in WA and Thailand.

https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/272275763/275-million-cash-seized-by-federal-authorities-in-western-australia


AVO to protect investigator taken out against Melissa Caddick’s husband – posted 9 February 2022
Police are seeking an apprehended violence order against the husband of Sydney fraudster Melissa Caddick, to protect Isabella Allen, who is investigating her multi-million-dollar “Ponzi scheme”.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-09/melissa-caddick-husand-anthony-koletti-faces-avo/100815418


Star Sydney Encouraged Local High Rollers to Lie in Possible Tax Dodge: Whistleblowers – posted 9 February 2022
Two former workers at The Star, said they were directly involved in a scheme that encouraged VIP gamblers based locally in the state of NSW to claim they lived elsewhere. In return, the casino would give them lucrative rewards. That’s because the Star would ultimately have to pay less in tax to the NSW government as a result.

https://www.casino.org/news/star-sydney-encouraged-local-high-rollers-to-lie-in-possible-tax-dodge/


Australia’s wealthiest man files landmark legal action against Facebook – posted 9 February 20221.
Billionaire Dr Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest AO, the wealthiest man in Australia, has initiated criminal proceedings in the WA Magistrates Court against Meta, formerly known as Facebook. He has claimed that Facebook breached federal AML laws by facilitating clickbait advertising scams.

https://www.thelawyermag.com/au/news/general/australias-wealthiest-man-files-landmark-legal-action-against-facebook/324820


Bill Papas’ business partner wants court to throw out ‘weak case’ against him – posted 9 February 2022
Westpac has accused Mr Tesoriero of being part of a conspiracy with Mr Papas to commit the fraud against the bank and knowingly assisting Mr Papas in conducting it. Mr Tesoriero has launched a bid to have the civil case brought against him thrown out because it is “very weak”.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/companies/bill-papas-business-partner-wants-court-to-throw-out-weak-case-against-him-20220203-p59tfp.html


Child safety probe ordered in north Qld – posted 9 February 2022
The Queensland government will probe claims that vulnerable children are being removed from foster care and sent back to their biological parents in unsafe homes.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/child-safety-probe-ordered-north-073628514.html


Meta files Nigeria ‘phishing scam’ lawsuit – posted 9 February 2022
Meta and banking group Chime have launched a lawsuit against alleged Nigerian ‘phishing’ scammer attacks, that deceive people and gain access to their online financial accounts.

https://7news.com.au/news/crime/meta-files-nigeria-phishing-scam-lawsuit-c-5627323


Emily Jane Walker and Jason Bran Lees sentenced in Adelaide over ‘sophisticated’ computer hacking scheme – posted 10 February 2022
An Adelaide couple involved in a “sophisticated and large-scale computer hacking scheme” that diverted more than $1.15 million from small businesses and not-for-profit organisations across Australia to fund their drug addictions have been jailed. Lees was sentenced to serve at least five years jail, while Walker was sentenced to serve at least two.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-10/couple-sentenced-over-hacking-of-businesses/100819786


Couple accused of laundering $5 billion in hacked bitcoin, which was only worth $100 million when it was stolen – posted 10 February 2022
A couple in New York faces charges of conspiring to launder approx. 5 million (AUD) dollars in cryptocurrency, stolen from a 2016 hack of a virtual currency exchange. Much of the laundering occurred through accounts on a dark web site since shut down and the laundered bitcoin was used to purchase gold, NFTS and gift cards.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-09/us-new-york-couple-arrested-bitcoin-theft/100815296

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 4 February 2022

20 stories this week:

 

‘If you don’t understand it, don’t use it’: How to protect your crypto (posted 20 January 2022)
According to national competition regulator the ACCC, more than $35 million was lost in Australia to cryptocurrency scams by mid-2021. Cryptocurrency is vulnerable because everyone wants to get in early and make a buck in the online economy. Article details how to protect your cryptocurrency but also states if you don’t understand it – don’t use it.

https://thenewdaily.com.au/finance/2022/01/20/cryptocurrency-cyber-security/


Why organizations mustn’t ignore the threat of voice fraud (posted 21 January 2022)
Phone crime has an obvious appeal over direct physical crime, as the offender is well out of harm’s way and the more skilled criminals make themselves very difficult to trace. Commonly, fraudsters bank on social engineering techniques to aid them in their goal of tricking call center agents or consumers into handing over information. Article looks at how artificial intelligence and machine learning help organizations to combat voice fraud.

https://www.techradar.com/au/features/why-organizations-mustnt-ignore-the-threat-of-voice-fraud


Addresses oversight and over-reach risks of Australian laws (posted 21 January 2022)
“Everyday Australians” have more to fear from surveillance carried out by ‘big tech’ and private companies than from government and intelligence agencies, according to Home Affairs boss Michael Pezzullo. Home Affairs is currently leading a major consultation around replacing a “patchwork” of surveillance and interception laws with a single, technology neutral Act. Pezzullo said that the government wanted to produce legislation that would set a standard for “self-restraining surveillance”.

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/home-affairs-boss-says-big-tech-is-bigger-surveillance-threat-than-government-574933


Australians lost a record $323 million to scams in 2021 (posted 21 January 2022)
Money lost to scams almost doubled in one year, with more than 286,000 Aussies reporting they were scammed last year. These figures represent a ‘significant’ increase of 84% compared to 2020, when Aussies lost $175.6 million through the year. Investment scams accounted for $177 million, followed by dating and romance scams which saw people losing $52 million.

https://www.savings.com.au/news/scamwatch-2021


The Hollywood Con Queen lured hundreds of people into a bizarre scam, but the biggest twist was yet to come (posted 23 January 2022)
The scam of luring creative artists to Indonesia from all over the world – actors, movie producers, make-up artists, photographers etc. went on for years. As the scam grew in its scale and audacity, it became clear a sophisticated fraudster was impersonating powerful women. Finally, after Nicoletta Kotsianas and the K2 investigators had gathered a critical mass of evidence, proving the magnitude of the scam and the scale of the total monetary losses – well over $1.39 million – the FBI stepped in. Hargobind Punjabi Tahilramani, a 41-year-old Indonesian man has now been charged with several counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-23/hollywood-con-queen-scam/100741998


COVID drives up scams, ethics down for Australian business (posted 23 January 2022)
Has the lucky country become the dodgy country? It’s hard to escape that conclusion from the latest Global Integrity Report from accounting and consulting group EY, which positions Australia an outlier in terms of both suffering from, and perpetrating, unethical behaviour.

https://www.afr.com/chanticleer/covid-drives-up-scams-ethics-down-for-australian-business-20220123-p59qhf

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read articlae.)


When it comes to sexual assault, safety apps aren’t the answer (posted 24 January 2022)
“Walk Me Home” and similar apps, has been rightly lamented by critics as another Band-Aid solution that (again) places the onus on women to protect themselves, and ultimately fails to tackle the root cause of male violence. A good controversial article about using technology as a solution to victims of crime before it occurs.

https://lens.monash.edu/@politics-society/2022/01/24/1384219/when-it-comes-to-sexual-assault-safety-apps-arent-the-answer


Crypto fraudster Stefan Qin reveals why he stole $123m (posted 24 January 2022)
A Canberra-born crypto crook who swindled $123 million from investors has given a tell-all interview about why he did it, before entering prison. Stefan Qin was found guilty of deliberately misleading Australian and US investors and falsifying account statements while running his crypto outfit Virgil Sigma Fund.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/investing/crypto-fraudster-stefan-qin-reveals-why-he-stole-123m/news-story/f9884d08c801512573c367fc59aafe7c


The Price of Speaking Out: Australia’s Hostile Environment for Whistleblowers (posted 27 January 2022)
Gerd Schroder-Turk was sued for millions of dollars after he spoke up about the treatment of students at Murdoch University. The article outlines that whilst the government is making moves towards bringing the public sector in line with the private, the current internal protections for private sector disclosures are “inadequate” and “largely imaginary.”

https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dg5yk/australias-hostile-environment-whistleblowers


Hewlett-Packard Enterprise wins multi-billion-dollar fraud suit against UK tech tycoon Michael Lynch (posted 29 January 2022)
Technology company Hewlett-Packard Enterprise has won a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against a British businessmen it accused of fraud after purchasing his software business, Autonomy, a decade ago. Mr Lynch and Autonomy’s former chief financial officer, Sushovan Hussain, were accused of artificially inflating the company’s revenues

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-29/hewlett-packard-fraud-suit-michael-lynch-autonomy/100789874


Death threats, ghost researchers and sock puppets: Inside the weird, wild world of dodgy academic research (posted 31 January 2022)
Former Swinburne University academic Ali Nazari has had 86 papers retracted and Ehsan Mohseni from the University of Newcastle, has also had several papers withdrawn. Unlike many other countries, Australia has no national office for research integrity.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-31/on-the-trail-of-dodgy-academic-research/100788052


Former BRADAAG CEO denies allegations of misusing funds, bullying staff at Tennant Creek rehab service (posted 31 January 2022)
Northern Territory government authorities have confirmed they are investigating allegations that the former Chief Executive a critical alcohol rehabilitation service, misused its resources and bullied an employee.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-31/former-bradaag-ceo-pauline-reynolds-lewis-investigated/100782752


Caught up in the great buy now, pay later scam (posted 31 January 2022)
Identity theft and buy now pay later schemes.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/caught-up-in-the-great-buy-now-pay-later-scam-20220131-p59sj7

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)


Financial advisor jailed for Dishonestly Obtaining Financial Advantage by Deception (posted 1 February 2022)
A former financial advisor Ahmed Saad has been sentenced to jail for dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception after unlawfully giving clients early access to their superannuation funds.

https://www.mondaq.com/australia/white-collar-crime-anti-corruption-fraud/1156362/bfinancial-advisor-jailed-for-dishonestly-obtaining-financial-advantage-by-deception


Ex-RAAF man in court over fraud of 95y (posted 2 February 2022)
Partlin, of Birkdale, Brisbane, allegedly dishonestly induced a 95 year old man to part with $680,000 over three months in 2020 and allegedly accessed the man’s bank account stealing $20,000.

https://www.northernbeachesreview.com.au/story/7604966/ex-raaf-man-in-court-over-fraud-of-95yo/


Queensland whistleblowers need better protection, Logan Mayor Darren Power says (posted 2 February 2022)
The Mayor of Logan Darren Power says Queensland needs better protections for whistleblowers. His comments come after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appointed Tony Fitzgerald to conduct an inquiry into the structure and powers of Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-02/queensland-whistleblowers-need-better-protection-logan-mayor/100796870


Former Canberra Vodafone shop owner Mohit Arora avoids jail after allowing his customers to be defrauded (posted 3 February 2022)
Mohit Arora allowed criminals to steal the personal details of his Vodafone store customers has avoided time in prison. The criminal group stole the identities to set up fake credit cards and loans in 2019 and 2020.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-03/mohit-arora-avoids-jail-over-vodafone-customer-fraud/100800948


Australian mining billionaire files lawsuit against Facebook over scam ads (posted 3 February 2022)
Iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest is launching criminal proceedings against Meta Platform (Facebook) in an Australian court, alleging that it breached anti-money laundering laws and its platform is used to scam Australians. He is alleging Facebook “failed to create controls or a corporate culture to prevent its systems being used to commit crime.

https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/legal/story/Australian_mining_billionaire_files_lawsuit_against_Facebook_over_scam_ads-TR20220203nL1N2UD2VQX1/


Meta accused by whistleblower of skimping on safety in Australia (posted 3 February 2022)
According to former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen, Meta is underinvesting in the safety and security of its social media platforms in overseas markets, meaning there is less avenues for recourse available to Australians. The whistleblower states the company’s budget “disproportionately” favoured the United States.

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/meta-accused-by-whistleblower-of-underinvesting-in-australian-safety-575536

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10470789/Facebook-whistleblower-Frances-Haugen-claims-company-doesnt-protect-Australians.html


Big banks fight push for billions of dollars in scam refunds (posted 3 February 2022)
ASIC is currently reviewing the ePayments code, a voluntary code of practice that contains consumer protections for electronic payments, in a process that has been plagued by delays. However, Australia’s major banks are fighting a push from regulators to force them to refund billions of dollars lost in online scams, arguing requirements to bear the costs of internet fraud could create complacency among consumers and lead to even more losses.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/big-banks-fight-push-for-billions-of-dollars-in-scam-refunds-20220131-p59sp3.html

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 21 January 2022

12 stories this week:

 

Kim Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather sued over alleged crypto scam – 14 January 2022
The celebrity reality TV star and boxer are facing a lawsuit alleging they misled online followers into buying crypto as part of a “pump and dump” scheme. The lawsuit claims that the celebrities made “false or misleading statements” while promoting a crypto token sold by ethereum, or EMAX.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/investing/kim-kardashian-and-floyd-mayweather-sued-over-alleged-crypto-scam/news-story/c2041688a31916936b2c9dbf2c02e84d


Santos agrees to pay $400k to Rallen over Beetaloo Basin gas wells dispute – 14 January 2022
Rallen Australia (Australia’s biggest landholding company) had taken the multinational energy company Santos to court, alleging they had misled and deceived farmers by not alerting them to revisions of the Environmental Management Plan (EMP), the company had undertaken to add two additional gas wells to the land at Tanumbirini Station.

https://ntindependent.com.au/santos-agrees-to-pay-400k-to-rallen-over-beetaloo-basin-gas-wells/


Dirty cash and crypto: how the booming cryptocurrency market is open to exploitation – 15 January 2022
Austrac, says the criminal use of cryptocurrency is no longer confined to online scammers like Evan Leslie McMahon who used faked Paypal accounts to store money. Now criminals are trying to deposit criminal proceeds through a digital currency exchange provider and send money to a counterpart offshore using cryptocurrency itself.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jan/15/dirty-cash-and-crypto-how-the-booming-cryptocurrency-market-is-open-to-exploitation


North Korean hackers stole $550m worth of cryptocurrency in 2021, report say – 15 January 2022
North Korea is described as the country “that supports cryptocurrency-enabled crime on a massive scale”. It launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms in 2021, extracting nearly $US400 million ($550 million) worth of digital assets, one of its most successful years on record. The United Nations has accused Pyongyang of using stolen funds to support its nuclear and ballistic missile programs to circumvent sanctions.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-15/north-korea-cryptocurrency-hack/100758468

https://www.news.com.au/technology/north-koreas-cryptocurrency-crimes-on-a-massive-scale/news-story/bf56c67bc656bab721e3093d9ee12784


‘Do not rely on social media ads’: ASIC warns Australians with self-managed super funds that cryptocurrency scams are on the move – 17 January 2022
The financial market watchdog has issued a clear warning about cryptocurrency scams impacting self-managed super funds, as fraudsters continue to target older Australians and their retirement savings. In December, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission declared losses of up to $109 million.

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/cryuptocurrency-scam-self-managed-super-fund-asic

https://www.channelnews.com.au/asic-warns-of-crypto-superannuation-scams/


Market expected to expand with a CAGR of 8.3% over the forecast period from 2017 to 2025 – 17 January 2022
One of the popular methods of crime detection is the use of forensics technology. The rising influence of forensic technologies in various crime investigation scenarios will present an array of opportunities for the forensic technologies market during the forecast period of 2017-2025. Transparency Market Research’s (TMR’s) report on the forensic technologies market has every component that will assist the stakeholder in understanding the current scenario. The link is in the article.

https://industrialit.com.au/forensic-technologies-market-expected-to-expand-with-a-cagr-of-8-3-over-the-forecast-period-from-2017-to-2025/


European Union: Exposing The Truth: What The EU Whistleblower Directive Means For Global Business – 18 January 2022
The global pandemic has heightened issues around whistleblowing like never before. On December 17, there was the implementation of the EU’s new whistleblowing directive that was due to be adopted into national laws by different EU states, but as a consequence further issues and challenges have come about.

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/whistleblowing/1151510/exposing-the-truth-what-the-eu-whistleblower-directive-means-for-global-business


How to avoid ATO crackdown on SMSF early withdrawal scam – 19 January 2022
The ATO will be looking out for self-managed super funds (SMSFs) that lodge late returns in its crackdown on unlawful early withdrawal of savings, according to scheme specialists. Paul Rafton, superannuation national leader for BDO Australia, an accounting, tax and consulting group, says late lodgement is one of the ATO’s triggers for launching an investigation.

https://www.afr.com/wealth/personal-finance/how-to-avoid-ato-crackdown-on-smsf-early-withdrawal-scam-20220114-p59o9d

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)


Australia, UK to jointly target state-based actors and ransomware groups – 20 January 2022
Australia and the United Kingdom have signed a pact to crack down on state-based actors, ransomware groups and other “malign actors” that use cyber attacks to “undermine freedom and democracy”. The two countries also intend to “strengthen the resilience and response capabilities of countries in the Indo-Pacific region to malicious cyber activity via joint capacity building activity”.

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/australia-uk-to-jointly-target-state-based-actors-and-ransomware-groups-574924


New York attorney-general says Donald Trump’s company misled banks, tax officials – 20 January 2022
Former US president Donald Trump’s company has misrepresented the value of its assets by millions of dollars to get loans, insurance and tax breaks, according to documents filed by the New York attorney-general.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-20/new-york-ag-says-trump-company-misled-banks-tax-officials/100768508


Financial crime in 2021: Year in review – 20 January 2022
The past 12 months have been eventful in the world of financial crime. From policy reforms to the Pandora Papers to pandemic fraud, compliance professionals, law enforcement and legislators have had plenty to chew on. This article summarises ten of the most important events of 2021, with a view to what we can expect in the coming year.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/financial-crime-2021-year-review-aperio-intelligence/


Investment and romance scams soar as Australians lose record $323 million in 2021 – 20 January 2022
Australians unwittingly handed over a record $323.7 million to scammers in 2021, leaping 84 per cent compared to 2020, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch. There were 286,608 reports made to Scamwatch in 2021, up 32 per cent on the year before. cammers continued to leverage the global pandemic, state-wide lockdowns and remote working.

https://www.gadgetguy.com.au/investment-and-romance-scams-soar-as-australians-lose-record-323-million-in-2021/

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 14 January 2022

11 stories this week:

 

Aussie crypto ‘fraud’ diverted ICO funds to African gold miners – 7 January 2022
Australian cryptocurrency entrepreneur Craig Sproule has been charged by the US corporate watchdog for defrauding investors by diverting millions from a digital coin offering to South African gold mining investments. Mr Sproule and two companies he founded – Crowd Machine Inc and Metavine Inc – have been charged with making materially false and misleading statements when selling digital asset securities

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/aussie-crypto-fraud-diverted-ico-funds-to-african-gold-miners-20220107-p59ml4


Record Amount Stolen By Crypto Scams in 2021 – 7 January 2022
Crypto-correlated crime reached a distressing new record in 2021. With an increase of around 80% from the previous year, scammers managed to abscond with a record $14 billion in cryptocurrency last year. Record Amount Stolen By Crypto Scams in 2021 (ibtimes.com.au)

https://www.ibtimes.com.au/record-amount-stolen-crypto-scams-2021-1782039

https://www.techradar.com/au/news/cryptocurrency-crime-hit-an-all-time-high-in-2021


Bill Papas’ cousin defends $720,000 in payments from alleged fraudster – 7 January 2022
The cousin of alleged fraudster Bill Papas has defended receiving $720,000 from the colourful soccer identity’s share trading account in breach of freezing orders, saying the transfers were to pay legal fees and loan repayments.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/bill-papas-cousin-defends-720-000-in-payments-from-alleged-fraudster-20220107-p59mml.html

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)


Know How Identity Theft Protection Services Industry May Double Its Market Size in Years to Come – 8 January 2022
The global Identity Theft Protection Services market report is a comprehensive study that encompasses top manufacturers, prospective market share, revenue, purchaser volume with respect to explaining the volume and global segmentation of the Identity Theft Protection Services industry. Access the report and find out more via this link.

https://industrialit.com.au/know-how-identity-theft-protection-services-industry-may-double-its-market-size-in-years-to-come-companies-including-life-lock-inc-experian-plc-equifax/


Ousted James Hardie boss ‘blindsided’ by sacking – 10 January 2022
Ousted James Hardie chief executive Jack Truong states he was “blindsided” by his sacking last week following an investigation into claims of bullying, allegations he says he “unequivocally” rejects.

https://www.afr.com/companies/manufacturing/ousted-james-hardie-boss-rejects-bullying-accusations-20220110-p59n26?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nc&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0QNJPrm9zG5qodCa3iQ0ZiKIaOCvtpeQ5n_XYMLmFkZzQiMBb1BrwkuMg#Echobox=1641778199

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)


The ‘rug pull’: crypto investors lose $4b in new scam – 11 January 2022
Cryptocurrency investors lost almost $US3 billion ($4.2 billion) last year in an emerging scam known as the “rug pull”, where fraudsters lure investors into dodgy digital coins and run off with the proceeds.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/the-rug-pull-crypto-investors-lose-4b-in-a-new-scam-20220111-p59nan

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)


After being convicted of fraud and conspiracy, Paul Manafort signs a deal for a book called “political prisoner.” – 10 January 2022
Paul Manafort the former chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign, was convicted of tax fraud and conspiracy charges and sentenced to seven years in prison. He is now writing a new memoir in which he calls himself a “political prisoner”.

https://www.nokiamobilephonenews.co.uk/uk/after-being-convicted-of-fraud-and-conspiracy-paul-manafort-signs-a-deal-for-a-book-called-political-prisoner/


Fresh development in alleged bitcoin conman Peter Foster’s case – 11 January 2022
Mr Foster is charged with multiple counts of fraud relating to an alleged multimillion dollar bitcoin scam. It is alleged he induced a man known as Konstantinos Stylianopolous to deliver digital currency and US currency bank credits, to a company known as Sports Predictions Trading. He has been charged with five counts of fraud, two counts of obtaining and dealing with identification information and one count of using a false record.

https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/peter-clarence-foster-alleged-conman-quarantining-in-prison-on-remand-while-awaiting-next-court-date-c-5260688


Australian Woman’s Fight to Prove Singapore Fraud – 12 January 2022
For six years, an Australian woman named Julie O’Connor has made many efforts to raise claims of fraud and what she calls a cover-up by powerful people over the acquisition of the Singapore and Vietnam assets of an Australia-based firm, Strategic Marine Pty Ltd. O’Connor says she has been vilified on social media and that her photographs have been doctored into news articles, which falsely showed her family members as being convicted paedophiles.

https://www.asiasentinel.com/p/australian-woman-fight-prove-singapore-fraud


Telstra Teams up With Aussie Banks To Block SIM Swaps and Porting Fraud – 13 January 2022
SIM swaps and porting fraud are on the rise, so, to counter this trend, Telstra is teaming up with Australian banks to try and block this precursor to identity theft and serious financial crime.

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2022/01/telstra-sim-swap-porting-fraud/


John Hempton vows to target Australian frauds – 13 January 2022
John Hempton (co-owner and CIO of Bronte Capital Management Pty Ltd) believes Australia’s defamation laws – paired with an increase in investing activity by retail punters cashed-up with superannuation, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s new habit of intimidating “completely honest short-sellers” – has resulted in an easy environment for “scammers” to sell “garbage” to mum and dad investors.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/john-hempton-vows-to-target-australian-frauds-20220113-p59nyx

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 7 January 2022

9 stories this week:

 

South Australian family ‘devastated’ by terrifying phone hack – 31 December 2021
A South Australian couple has issued a stark warning after nearly losing their entire life savings in a terrifying phone “SIM swap” hack. A scammer had remotely gained control of their SIM cards by applying for an eSIM card and was able to steal their phone numbers. The hacker had impersonated them, accessed identifying documents, started a new bank account and increased the maximum spend on their buy now pay later services.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/south-australian-family-devastated-by-terrifying-phone-hack/news-story/d2884d85253b01aea6a0a071124d605f


‘Quite disempowering’: Crypto’s curious case of stolen identity – 31 December 2021
A former JP Morgan executive has fake Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts set up in her name. Hackers will contact her staff posing as her in an attempt to authorise the transfer of vast sums of money. Friends and family have been duped into sharing personal information with people that claim to be her.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/quite-disempowering-crypto-s-curious-case-of-stolen-identity-20211215-p59hqi.html

(Access to digital version of SMH required to read article)


ACT Policing’s new forensic imaging technology prevents hours of traffic disruption after road crashes – 2 January 2022
Using a forensic imaging system, police can create a three-dimensional model of a crash scene in incredible detail. Investigators can then analyse this digital reconstruction – examining factors like speed or road conditions – to work out what caused the crash and prroduce a 30-second video clip of what the collision looked like from any angle.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-02/act-forensic-crash-reconstruction-technology/100734460


How to use WHOIS to analyse scams – 3 January 2022
Fake versions of real websites, phishing sites are one of the key tactics scammers use to get you to hand over real details. However a little bit of research and education can save you. Most web domain registration companies offer access to a tool called “WHOIS”, which checks on the registration details of a website name. WHOIS can tell you who has registered the site you’re looking up, and then you can compare it to the actual site.

https://www.pickr.com.au/how-to/2022/how-to-use-whois-to-analyse-scams/


PwC targeted ‘unambitious’ migrant staff for grunt work: whistleblower – 3 January 2022
A whistleblower from global auditing giant PwC has told a Senate inquiry into job security that the firm targeted “unambitious” migrant workers to work 80 to 120 hour weeks from an unbranded Sydney office with lower salaries.

https://www.afr.com/companies/professional-services/pwc-targeted-unambitious-migrant-staff-for-grunt-work-whistleblower-20220103-p59lio


How Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes went from the cover of Forbes to being found guilty on charges of fraud – 4 January 2022
Elizabeth Holmes apparently invented a way to run 30 lab tests on only one drop of blood using the Theranos Minilab. However it didn’t work. Her company tried to fake it until they made it but then criminal charges were filed say they defrauded investors by making false claims. It is also alleged the company knew about the problems and lied repeatedly to cover them up. The jury found Holmes guilty of four counts of fraud.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-04/elizabeth-holmes-theranos-trial-verdict-guilty/100645818


Product fraud could be costing Australia $3bn a year – 4 January 2022
Fibre fraudulence involving the ‘high risk’ commodities of veal, wine, fish and mollusks fell between $700 million to $1.3 billion. According to reports the cost of fraud in the sheep meat, wool, wheat, horticulture and dairy products sectors is believed to cost the industry up to another $700 million annually.

https://www.retailnews.asia/product-fraud-could-be-costing-australia-3bn-a-year/


AUSTRAC battles crypto crime ‘blind spots’ – 4 January 2022
The head of the financial intelligence agency says it is battling regulatory “blind spots” to police the $US2 trillion ($2.7 trillion) crypto asset sector, as criminals anonymously use digital currencies to conduct their affairs on the dark web. Also 400 local digital currency exchanges – registered for anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing obligations – had not been endorsed by AUSTRAC as safe for retail investors.

https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/austrac-battles-crypto-crime-blind-spots-20211209-p59gaq


Family sues CBA over money-laundering scam – 5 January 2022
A makeup artist studying in Australia and her family are suing Commonwealth Bank after losing millions of dollars in an international money-laundering scam and are victims of “cuckoo smurfing”. AUSTRAC had accused CBA of systemic failures to report suspicious deposits, transfers and account transactions, according to The Australian.

https://www.mpamag.com/au/news/general/family-sues-cba-over-money-laundering-scam/320970

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/students-cuckooed-into-nesting-dirty-money-20220105-p59m0x

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 31 December 2021

12 stories this week:

 

Revenue from crypto scams spike 81% to a near-record $7.7 billion in 2021, says Chainalysis – 16 December 2021
Crypto scammers raked in a near-record $US7.7 ($AU11) billion in revenue in 2021. The 81% revenue surge was paced by a relatively new type of scam called “rug pulls.” A rug pull is when developers unexpectedly abandon their cryptocurrency projects and take users’ funds with them.
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/crypto-scams-7-billion-2021-bitcoin-ethereum-defi-tokens-chainalysis-2021-12


Police raids over Parliament House ‘revenge porn’ probe – 18 December 2021
Pornographic images of a Liberal staffer masturbating at Parliament House have been seized in dramatic police raids as part of an investigation into revenge porn allegations. State police are investigating whether a former Canberra man, distributed the lewd images without consent, between November 2020 and March 2021 in contravention of Crimes Act 1900 (ACT) s 72C.
https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/police-raid-over-parliament-house-revenge-porn-probe/news-story/12d6326adf606a278405363cd4857d2d


Apple faces investigation after worker safety allegations – 19 December 2021
The US Department of Labor has launched an investigation into Apple, in response to a whistleblower’s concerns about the tech giant. The cases are of alleged retaliation by employers against workers who raise concerns about issues such as employee safety.
https://www.hcamag.com/au/specialisation/corporate-wellness/apple-faces-investigation-after-worker-safety-allegations/320391


The rise and fall of the NT Legal system – 19 December 2021
There has been a decline in the Northern Territory’s legal system. Darwin barrister John Lawrence explains that the major victims are Aboriginal Australians, and women and children, who are subject to domestic violence.
https://ntindependent.com.au/opinion-the-decline-and-fall-of-the-nt-legal-system/


AFP to adopt radical new DNA technology – 19 December 2021
The Australian Federal Police announced they will be using a next-generation technology called ‘massive parallel sequencing’, which has the potential to reveal a person’s physical appearance, biological sex and ancestry. Questions have been raised about the ethical, privacy and racial implications of revealing highly sensitive information about our genetics.
https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/sundayextra/afp-to-adopt-radical-new-dna-technology/13681974


Hacker steals Sydney man’s life savings after simjacking – 20 December 2021
A hacker was permitted to use private details and activate an eSIM using just the Optus online message system, without having to verify their identity face-to-face in an Optus store, which then allowed them to steal his phone number. They then had access to bank accounts.
https://www.9news.com.au/national/optus-sim-swap-hack-robs-sydney-man-of-life-savings/4e1dcac8-a6e7-4030-a4a0-b18c87bbb019


Scamwatch: Don’t fall for a fake parcel delivery scams this Christmas – 22 December 2021
Australian Community Media has compiled a list of current scams identified on sites such as scamwatch.gov.au, www.cyber.gov.au and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s website dedicated to informing people about fraudulent and dishonest activities. Investment scams are the highest with 149 million lost.
https://www.manningrivertimes.com.au/story/7556865/dont-be-fooled-by-parcel-delivery-scam-texts/

https://www.miragenews.com/public-urged-to-protect-themselves-from-online-700767/


US Secret Service says $US100 billion stolen from COVID-19 relief funds – 23 December 2021
The US Secret Service says around $US100 billion ($139 billion) at minimum has been stolen from COVID-19 relief programs set up to help businesses and people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The agency says it has more than 900 active criminal investigations, into pandemic fraud.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-23/us-secret-service-say-100-billion-stolen-from-covid-relief-funds/100721604


Fraud syndicate accused of targeting Telstra and big banks – 24 December 2021
Telstra and some of the nation’s biggest banks have been targeted by an alleged fraud syndicate, which has been accused of conspiring to defraud almost $2 million along with hundreds of mobile phones.
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/fraud-syndicate-accused-of-targeting-telstra-and-big-banks-20211223-p59jq1.html


‘He needs to back it up’: Leaked cricket drug complaint sparks security warning – 26 December 2021
A confidential phone call between a whistleblower and Cricket Australia’s ex-integrity chief discussing a then-player’s alleged cocaine use and sexual activities has been leaked, exposing serious security flaws in the organisation’s anti-corruption unit.
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/he-needs-to-back-it-up-leaked-cricket-drug-complaint-sparks-security-warning-20211221-p59j9p.html


The hacker-for-hire industry is now too big to fail – 28 December 2021
While the scrutiny of firms that provide hackers for hire has grown, the global demand for offensive cyber capabilities has escalated too. In the 21st century, a government’s highest-value targets are online more than ever-and hacking is usually the most effective way to get to them. The result is a growing crowd of countries willing to spend large sums to develop sophisticated hacking operations.
https://techexec.com.au/?p=5936


Controversies, collapses and vindication: Corporate Australia’s hits and misses of 2021 – 28 December 2021
There was rarely a dull moment in the world of business in 2021. Not only were companies dealing with the morass of issues caused by the pandemic, there were also more “traditional” business problems – new chiefs, old chiefs, corporate collapses, serious business injuries, boardroom spats and a bit of vindication along the way. From those who scored hits to those who missed the mark, (and those in between), here are the people who helped make headlines in 2021.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/controversies-collapses-and-vindication-corporate-australia-s-hits-and-misses-of-2021-20211227-p59ka8.html

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 17 December 2021

19 stories this week:

 

ANZ dragged to court after cleaners and real estate agents helped write $18.5b in home loans – 26 November 2021
ASIC is suing ANZ in relation to 74 loans that may have breached the National Credit Act. The loans were referred to the bank by “introducers” – third-parties who were paid commissions for sending customers ANZ’s way. The banking royal commission heard evidence that some large-scale introducers were tailors or gym owners. ANZ dragged to court after cleaners and real estate agents helped write $18.5b in home loans – Bing

https://www.bing.com/search?q=ANZ+dragged+to+court+after+cleaners+and+real+estate+agents+helped+write+%2418.5b+in+home+loans&cvid=d0d53c9403c947b0a9876e30d5d2fbc0&aqs=edge.0.69i59j69i60.922j0j1&pglt=43&FORM=ANNTA1&PC=U531


Federal government announces regulatory changes to combat scam text messages – 29 November 2021
Australians have lost $87 million to scams this year. Telecommunications companies will soon be able to block scam text messages from being sent in the first place, thanks to regulatory changes by the government.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-29/government-changing-regulations-to-combat-scam-text-messages/100657702


New DNA testing technology helps AFP predict criminal profiles – 5 December 2021
A new technology that opens a new world of forensic DNA testing for criminal investigation is being used by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). It is known as Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS) and can provide predictions for visual traits of criminals from the DNA they leave at a crime scene, allowing investigators to predict gender, biogeographical ancestry, eye colour and, in coming months, hair colour.

https://canberraweekly.com.au/new-dna-testing-technology-allows-afp-to-predict-criminal-profiles/


‘Stolen laptop’: Liquidators of collapsed Melbourne crypto company pursue bitcoin millions – 5 December 2021
Administrators of the failed cryptocurrency company “Blockchain Global Limited”, which is based in Melbourne are pursuing millions in missing bitcoin claimed to be sitting on a stolen laptop overseas. The case has highlighted the challenge of tracking down money tucked away in the murky financial world of cryptocurrency, particularly when companies go under and creditors want their money back.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/stolen-laptop-liquidators-of-collapsed-melbourne-crypto-company-pursue-bitcoin-millions-20211130-p59df6.html


Tax Office could be given phone bugging powers – 6 December 2021
The Australian Taxation Office and AUSTRAC could be handed sweeping new surveillance powers, including the right to bug people’s phones and online communications, as part of an overhaul of telecommunications intercept laws.

https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/tax-office-could-be-given-phone-bugging-powers-20211206-p59f83

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)


Australia moves to sanction human rights abusers and cyber criminals – 6 December 2021
Legislation to establish ‘Magnitsky-style’ laws passed through parliament on the last sitting day of the year will have the effect of blocking human rights abusers and cyber criminals from travelling to Australia, along with other sanctions powers. The reforms have been introduced to prevent Australia from becoming an ‘isolated, attractive safe haven’ for criminals and their associated businesses for illegal gains.

https://www.themandarin.com.au/177006-australia-moves-to-sanction-human-rights-abusers-and-cyber-criminals/


Serial conman Peter Foster arrested in Victoria after failing to appear at Sydney court hearing six months earlier – 7 December 2021
Serial conman Peter Foster was arrested in the Macedon Ranges six months after failing to appear before a court in Sydney on multiple fraud charges. He was given fugitive status in May this year and is now expected to be extradited to Queensland.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-07/serial-conman-peter-foster-arrested-in-victoria/100679978


Aussies charged in global laundering sting – 7 December 2021
Eighteen Australians are facing criminal charges after a global money-laundering sting, stopped $2.6 million in “dirty cash” flowing through the nation’s financial institutions. The Australian Federal Police operation identified 27 alleged money mules. More than 1800 people were arrested globally.

https://www.northernbeachesreview.com.au/story/7541273/aussies-charged-in-global-laundering-sting/


New Electronic Surveillance Framework To Govern How Data Can Be Accessed in Australia – 7 December 2021
A new ‘modernised and streamlined electronic surveillance legislative framework’ is set to be in place by 2023. The objective is to develop a new single Act that: better protects individuals’ information and data, including by reflecting what it means to communicate in the 21st century.

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2021/12/electronic-surveillance-framework-australia/


Collaery prosecution to enter fourth year – 8 December 2021
The prosecution of whistleblower Bernard Collaery has been pushed back to February 2022, ensuring the case enters its fourth year with no trial date set. Mr Collaery is accused of unlawfully sharing classified information about the alleged bugging operation of the East Timor prime minister by Australian officials in 2004. Once again case highlights the need for whistleblower reforms instead of prosecution of whistleblowers.

https://www.northernbeachesreview.com.au/story/7543068/collaery-prosecution-to-enter-fourth-year/


Cryptocurrency scams targeting Australians as scammers bank more than $100 million – 9 December 2021
Australian Federal Police say cryptocurrency scams have “exploded” during the pandemic, with new figures from the Australian consumer watchdog showing a 172 per cent increase in losses between January and November this year, totalling $109 million. The article tells the story of three victims of cryptocurrency scams. Cryptocurrency scams targeting Australians as scammers bank more than $100 million – ABC News

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-08/cryptocurrency-scams-targeting-australians-losing-millions/100678848


ACCC whistleblower vindicated, goes public – but remains persona non grata – 9 December 2021
Three years ago an anonymous Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) official was marched out of his office – and later threatened with criminal action – after internal emails became public via a television exposé on the Takata airbag scandal. Article questions what to do when we punish a whistleblower who turns out to be right?

https://www.crikey.com.au/2021/12/09/accc-whistleblower-vindicated-steps-out-of-shadows/


Woman who stole $940,000 from vet to gamble online jailed for six years – 9 December 2021
Rachel Naomi Perri stole $940,000 from her employer and used the money for online gambling. The court heard that her crimes were only discovered after a restructure led to her position as practice manager at Tasmanian Veterinary Hospital, became redundant.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-09/rachel-naomi-perri-jailed-over-vet-theft-to-gamble-online/100686998


AUSTRAC and Services Australia partner up to target emergency and disaster payments fraud – 9 December 2021
A new financial crime guide will help financial services businesses detect and report suspicious transactions, indicative of fraud and misuse of emergency and disaster payments administered through Services Australia.

https://www.miragenews.com/austrac-and-services-australia-partner-up-to-690130/


NatWest Fined $348.5M for AML Breach After Calling Out Crypto Fraud – 14 December 2021
NatWest has been fined $348.5 million over a case of fraud where a business customer deposited large sums of money without checks. This is the first time that the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority has conducted a criminal prosecution against a financial institution in the U.K.

https://beincrypto.com/natwest-fined-348-5m-for-aml-breach-after-calling-out-crypto-fraud/


Australian Deputy Prime Minister Questions Assange Extradition Ruling – 14 December 2021
Barnaby Joyce believes there are no reasons for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s extradition, since the whistleblower, an Australian national, did not breach any Australian laws and was not in the US when leaked data was published, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-14/barnaby-joyce-opposes-extradition-of-julian-assange/100697630


Fraud arrest, Brisbane – 15 December 2021
A man is being charged with four counts of fraud following investigations into alleged fraudulent activity relating to election funding. Police will allege the man, a financial administrator for a political party, submitted fraudulent documentation relating to a 2020 election funding application for $24,000.

https://beincrypto.com/natwest-fined-348-5m-for-aml-breach-after-calling-out-crypto-fraud/


NSW man accused of trying defraud COVID-19 business relief scheme of more than half a million dollars – 17 December 2021
Strike Force Sainsbery was set up in November to investigate fraudulent applications made against the micro-business grant program. A Warialda Rail man has been charged with 51 offences, including obtaining financial advantage by deception and is accused of making fraudulent applications worth $530,000.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-17/man-charged-over-covid-19-finacial-relief-fraud/100707812


Online credit card fraud on the rise leading up to holiday season – 17 December 2021
Research indicates a significant increase in credit card fraud leading up to the holidays. The new data from AusPayNet shows a 9.2% rise in fraud on payment card transactions in the 12 months to 30 June 2021 (FY21) alongside increased online spending during COVID-19 lockdowns. Overall, the total spending on cards rose 5.4% to $847.3 billion during this same period, with the fraud rate being 57.8 cents per AUD$1,000 spent.

https://securitybrief.com.au/story/online-credit-card-fraud-on-the-rise-leading-up-to-holiday-season

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 26 November 2021

15 stories this week:

 

What are the relevant statutes and which government authorities are responsible for investigating and enforcing them? – 19 November 2021
An Informative article outlining the Australian legislative framework and the Corporations Act 2001. It also outlines the role of ASIC and other regulatory bodies and what powers they have. The article also details what conduct is most commonly the subject of securities enforcement and the legal issues that commonly arise, in enforcement investigations.

https://globalinvestigationsreview.com/guide/the-guide-international-enforcement-of-the-securities-laws/first-edition/article/australia


Former WA public servant Paul Whyte sentenced to 12 years in jail for stealing taxpayer millions – 19 November 2021
Paul Whyte has been sentenced to 12 years in jail for masterminding the theft of $27 million of taxpayers’ money and using it to fund a lavish lifestyle. He committed his crimes over 11 years, while he was one of WA’s top public servants, in the state government department that looks after public housing. The funds were taken through an elaborate fake invoice scheme, which involved three shell companies.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-19/disgraced-public-servant-paul-whyte-sentencing/100630840


Court orders Melissa Caddick’s financial services company Maliver to be wound up – 22 November 2021
Dozens of investors, who were swindled out of millions of dollars by missing Sydney businesswoman Melissa Caddick, are a step closer to getting some of their money back. ASIC has been pursuing court action to recoup more than $23 million left owing to 72 clients.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-22/court-orders-melissa-caddick-company-maliver-be-liquidated/100639178


ASIC boss urges ‘great caution’ to cryptocurrency investors – 22 November 2021
Corporate regulator Joe Longo, has urged consumers to show a high degree of caution towards the cryptocurrency craze, urging people to be careful about putting their savings into an unregulated asset class that many do not fully understand.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/asic-urges-great-caution-to-cryptocurrency-investors-20211122-p59b0i.html

https://7news.com.au/business/cryptocurrency-not-a-fad-minister-warns-c-4645697


Watch out for fake online deals and avoid scammers this sales season – 22 November 2021
Australians have already lost about $12.9 million to online shopping including classifieds scams so far this year, and the ACCC is urging consumers to watch out for dodgy deals as pre-holiday sales approach.

https://www.miragenews.com/watch-out-for-fake-online-deals-and-avoid-677894/


Woman who stole $940k from employer left gambling app on auto while she slept – 23 November 2021
Rachel Naomi Perri pleaded guilty to stealing $940,000 from her employer, whilst working as an account manager at the Tasmanian Veterinary Hospital. The money was used to fund her addiction to an online gambling game that does not pay out real money.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-23/woman-pleads-guilty-to-stealing-940k-from-her-workplace/100639450


How migration fraud works and ways to avoid visa scams in Australia – 23 November 2021
Pre-pandemic data showed the Department of Home Affairs received an average of around 500 visa scam reports per year, from people who use unregistered ‘migration agents.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-23/how-to-avoid-visa-scams-and-immigration-fraud-in-australia/100635430


Former Palm Island mayor Alf Lacey’s fraud charge dropped, magistrate claims lack of evidence – 23 November 2021
Alf Lacey has been charged with fraud amounting to at least $100,000 and failure to correct a register of interests, while serving as mayor of Palm Island in 2020.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-23/former-palm-island-mayor-alf-lacey-fraud-charge-dropped/100644680


Before Richard Ludwig’s company went bust, he and his pre-insolvency advisers smuggled more than $740,000 out of the business – 24 November 2021
With the advice of two pre-insolvency advisers, Richard Ludwig arranged to illegally smuggle more than $740,000 out of his company Cap Coast Telecoms before it went into liquidation. ASIC has admitted the pre-insolvency industry is largely unregulated.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-24/richard-ludwig-preinsolvency-advisers-plead-guilty-money-launder/100629664


Scamwatch: Dodgy investment scams are doing the rounds – 24 November 2021
Scam awareness week is this week. Article outlines the most common and recent scams targeting Australians. Fake bond offers and Job offers, threats, Osko payments and investment scams are the most common.

https://www.manningrivertimes.com.au/story/7520435/all-the-online-scams-you-need-to-avoid/?cs=12


What will the ATO do if you are scammed out of your crypto? – 24 November 2021
Article discuss how the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) view crypto losses and the chances of getting your money back if your scammed. With more and more Australians holding crypto, this area is only going to become more mainstream over the next few years.

https://www.smartcompany.com.au/finance/tax/ato-scammed-out-of-your-crypto/


Former MP Barry Urban sentenced to three years in jail over fake medals, lies about qualifications – 25 November 2021
Disgraced former West Australian MP Barry Urban, has been sentenced to three years jail, for an elaborate series of lies he told over two decades about his university qualifications and military service.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-25/former-mp-barry-urban-sentenced-for-fraud-lies-over-background/100610622


Adelaide Brighton Cement employee Glenda Burgess deceived previous employer, court told – 25 November 2021
Glenda Burgess (a Senior Accounts Manager) at Adelaide Brighton Cement has been found guilty of deceiving her employer out of $12 million. She made false entries allowing a customer to only pay $20 million for $32 million worth of cement and hid ”Concrete Supply’s” debts, increased their credit limits without authorisation and had created several large manual entries benefiting ”Concrete Supply’. Concrete Supply was not complicit in the crimes.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-25/adelaide-brighton-glenda-burgess-deceived-previous-employer/100649820


Fake volunteer firefighter Sharon Tully Hill jailed over Black Summer relief payments fraud – 25 November 2021
Sharon Tully Hill who posed as a volunteer firefighter, despite never being one, fraudulently claimed disaster relief funds from the Black Summer bushfires has been sent to jail. She received $190,000 through bushfire relief payments but has never volunteered for the RFS.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-25/woman-sentenced-for-black-summer-bushfire-fraud/100649066


Leaked emails reveal how Macquarie Bank became entangled in an $80 billion scandal – 26 November 2021
Australia’s largest investment bank Macquarie is among 100 banks and financial institutions under investigation over a scheme estimated to have cost governments $80 billion. Leaked documents reveal that, inside Macquarie, their practices were thought to be a legal loophole which was tolerated – although not endorsed – by the German tax authorities.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-26/macquarie-bank-cum-ex-tax-scheme-germany/100643674

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 19 November 2021

11 stories this week:

 

Griffith University: Most Deserving Whistleblowers Get No Protection New Research Shows – 12 November 2021
New research from Griffith University’s Whistling While They Work” project has revealed more than half of all public interest whistleblowers who experience serious repercussions for reporting wrongdoing receive no remedies for detriment they suffer, despite Australia’s long history of whistleblower protection laws and public sector policies.

https://indiaeducationdiary.in/griffith-university-most-deserving-whistleblowers-get-no-protection-new-research-shows/


ACCC probes flower industry over claims customers are being scammed into buying from ‘local’ florists – 13 November 2021
A whistleblower at one of Australia’s largest online flower retailers said she was trained to deliberately mislead customers. The conglomerate ”Roses Only” appears to give the false impression the businesses were local shops. The ACCC is investigating ‘deceptive’ practices in the flower delivery industry.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-13/accc-probes-flower-industry-over-scamming-claims/100612948


Forum executive to face court for first time – 13 November 2021
A hearing in March will hear from Forum Group director Vincenzo Tesoriero (Bill Papas’s business partner) about his role in allegedly scamming Westpac and other banks of about $400 million. Tesoriero is asking the court to end a freezing order on his assets, which include a vast portfolio of property and a luxury yacht.

https://www.mpamag.com/au/news/general/forum-executive-to-face-court-for-first-time/316432


Retirees lose $2.8 million to alleged fake bond scam – 13 November 2021
A US man living in Sydney’s east faced court on Saturday after being allegedly scamming retirees of more than $2.8 million via fake bonds, mainly through self-managed super funds and then channelling the money to his personal bitcoin account.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/retirees-lose-2-8-million-to-alleged-fake-bond-scam-20211113-p598md.html


Government waits until after election to change whistleblower laws, support for protection high – 15 November 2021
New research shows that a majority of Australians want more legal protections for public servants to act as whistleblowers. Assistant attorney general Amanda Stoker told the National Whistleblowing Symposium last week, the federal government was preparing to amend the Public Interest Disclosure Act to better protect those in the public sector.

https://www.themandarin.com.au/175059-government-waits-until-after-election-to-change-whistleblower-laws-support-for-protection-high/


AFP raids Sydney EverBlu offices as part of ASIC investigation – 16 November 2021
The Sydney offices of controversial stockbroker EverBlu Capital were one of several sites in Sydney and the Gold Coast raided by federal police as part of a sweeping corporate investigation. EverBlu has come under scrutiny in the past, for its disclosure of paying influencers shares and stock options to promote listed companies in which it had advisory roles. Now its alleged they are entangled with cannabis stock ”Creso Pharma”.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/afp-raids-sydney-everblu-offices-as-part-of-asic-investigation-20211116-p599g4

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/afp-raids-everblu-as-part-of-asic-investigation


Melbourne man who allegedly stole $1.4m from victims in international diamond scam charged – 17 November 2021
A 42-year-old man from Melbourne’s south-east claimed to own a diamond mine in Sierra Leone, West Africa, when he allegedly approached his victims and offered them the opportunity to invest in the mine. Once he received initial payment, the man allegedly asked for equipment and various gifts for his employees, before on-selling the items in an offshore shop.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/melbourne-man-who-allegedly-stole-from-victims-in-diamond-scam-charged/41e1f1db-76d6-4f1d-aff3-87feffa8b44c


Whistleblower ordered to end media crusade – 17 November 2021
Troy Stolz – a former compliance auditor with ClubsNSW – last year spoke out about a widespread and “alarming” failure to comply with money laundering laws in pubs and clubs across the state. Now he is being barred from continuing a media campaign against his former employer, while he is sued for leaking documents.

https://thewest.com.au/business/whistleblower-ordered-to-end-media-crusade-c-4589299


ASIC sues MLC for multiple insurance failures – 19 November 2021
ASIC claimed that MLC’s failure to implement appropriate systems and controls resulted in unpaid insurance benefits, premiums being charged without notice and underpaid refunds. It was alleged MLC’s conduct led to over $17.5 million in financial harm to over 260,000 customers

https://superreview.moneymanagement.com.au/news/insurance/asic-sues-mlc-multiple-insurance-failures


Former Labor MP Craig Thomson granted bail after being charged over alleged visa migration fraud – 19 November 2021
Former federal Labor MP Craig Thomson will “vigorously fight” charges over his involvement in an alleged multi-million-dollar visa migration fraud. Police allege Mr Thomson was the “prime facilitator” or common thread of the scheme between migration agencies and visa applicants.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-18/craig-thomson-granted-bail-over-migration-fraud-charges/100631910


Millennials forking out millions to online shopping scams – 19 November 2021
The rise in online shopping scams has been fuelled by the rapid growth of online shopping, with brick-and-mortar retailers closed throughout the pandemic due to lockdowns. A report published by Reviews.org found New South Wales residents had been hit the hardest by online shopping scams, recording a loss of $1.55 million to date through 2021. Victoria closely trailed behind at $1.51 million, while Queenslanders reported a loss of more than $888,000 to date.

https://www.savings.com.au/news/millennials-forking-out-millions-to-online-scams

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 12 November 2021

11 stories this week:

 

Adelaide father-of-three Joshua Luke Matheson handed five-year jail term over $500k tax fraud – 5 November 2021
Joshua Luke Matheson received more than $29,000 after filing a fraudulent tax return. He made up false employers and income to defraud the Australian Tax Office out of half a million dollars and has been jailed for five years.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-05/adelaide-man-handed-five-year-jail-term-for-tax-fraud/100597164


Invasive surveillance: Are regulators ready to deal with Facebook’s ‘metaverse’ – 6 November 2021
As Australian lawmakers struggle to regulate social media’s misinformation, conspiracies and extremist content, they are already facing the push to make an even more invasive technology, part of everyday life. A new generation of the internet will enable the real physical world and virtual worlds to seamlessly converge. This means mass data harvesting and highly targeted advertising.

https://www.smh.com.au/technology/invasive-surveillance-are-regulators-ready-to-deal-with-facebook-s-metaverse-20211101-p594ys.html

(Access to digital verision of SMH required to read article)


Labor proposes anti-scam centre, calls for crackdown on social media companies profiting from fraud – 7 November 2021
In response to record fraud, the federal opposition is proposing a national anti-scam centre to combat what it calls a “scamdemic” of online and phone fraudsters. Scammers stole $851 million from Australians last year, a record amount according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-07/labor-proposes-anti-scam-centre-crackdown-on-social-media/100598944


NSW Governor Margaret Beazley ignores reporters’ questions over bullying claims – 8 November 2021
NSW Governor Margaret Beazley has ignored reporters’ questions about investigations of bullying allegations against her by an anonymous whistleblower. The person claimed Ms Beazley’s “unjustified criticism or complaints” and “constantly changing goal posts” have been leaving employees “in tears at their desks”.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw-governor-margaret-beazley-ignores-reporters-questions-over-bullying-claims-20211108-p596yu.html


Fake Gold Coast lawyer banned from running law firm, as police seek missing money – 8 November 2021
A fake Gold Coast lawyer, who allegedly lost more than $430,000 in clients’ money, has been banned from managing a legal practice and is being investigated by police.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-08/nerise-dawn-moore-fake-lawyer-banned/100601320


Queensland Police warn of ‘sophisticated’ email scam after grazier loses thousands of dollars – 9 November 2021
A Queensland grazier was paying what appeared to be a legitimate business invoice, when he fell victim to a ‘very sophisticated’ email scam. Business email compromise (BEC) was the number 1 scam in Australia in 2019, with losses amassing $132 million.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-11-09/queensland-grazier-scammed-by-fencing-invoice-to-dodgy-account/100606482


Crypto criminals are blackmailing Instagram users into swindling friends – 10 November 2021
The latest crypto scam forces Instagram users to make videos directing their followers to phony get-rich-quick schemes. Scammers use a combination of social engineering, cryptocurrency, and old-fashioned blackmail.

https://www.goodgearguide.com.au/article/692940/crypto-criminals-blackmailing-instagram-users-into-swindling-friends/


Bank fraudster points finger at boyfriend – 10 November 2021
A bank teller behind bars over a $2.25 million fraud says her then-boyfriend, was the one who raised the potential of accessing the victim’s millions.

https://7news.com.au/news/crime/bank-fraudster-points-finger-at-boyfriend-c-4505444


Government reveals plan to reform Australia’s whistleblowing laws – 11 November 2021
Assistant Attorney General Amanda Stoker, has outlined a government plan to bring public sector whistleblowing laws in line with the reformed corporate whistleblowing scheme. These changes are due to new research, showing the current scheme is failing to protect those who speak out about wrongdoing.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/nov/11/government-reveals-plan-to-reform-australias-whistleblowing-laws

https://7news.com.au/politics/federal-whistleblower-law-changes-outlined-c-4516926


Remote employee surveillance is dangerous territory – 11 November 2021
Electric monitoring of home workers by companies is rising rapidly and research shows how misuse of this technology can allow employers to invade staff privacy easily, due to lack of government regulation.

https://itbrief.com.au/story/remote-employee-surveillance-is-dangerous-territory

https://www.techradar.com/au/news/a-surprising-number-of-home-workers-are-subjected-to-webcam-surveillance


Refugees from Sydney’s Tamil community targetted by social media investment scam – 12 November 2021
The ‘Hope’ Business scheme promised rapid returns on investments and commissions for signing up family and friends, before it vanished without a trace. At least 100 members of Sydney’s Tamil community have been caught up the scam.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-12/hope-business-scam/100613210

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 5 November 2021

11 stories this week:

 

Why Sydney woman stole $3.5m from Commonwealth Bank – 30 October 2021
A former Commonwealth Bank employee who stole $3.5m to pay for a lavish lifestyle and appease an abusive ex has been jailed. Hsin-Yu Tsai, used her position as a customer service officer to move millions of dollars out of the accounts of unsuspecting clients.

https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/why-sydney-woman-stole-35m-from-commonwealth-bank/news-story/51667af9bfee8eccb926426498e9a986


Telcos take action as text, phone call scams hit record high – 31 October 2021
Australians have reported a record $77.8 million in losses due to text and phone call scams. This is more than double the amount reported over the same period last year. Telcos will now be forced to identify and block text message scams under new rules.

https://www.watoday.com.au/national/telcos-take-action-as-text-phone-call-scams-hit-record-high-20211029-p5947u.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed


Scammers behind $SQUID coin disappear with $4.3 million in ‘invested’ cash – 2 November 2021
Cryptocurrency scammers have made off with approximately A$4.38 million, after setting up a fake currency playing off the popularity of Netflix’s hit show, Squid Game. Billed as a “play-to-earn” cryptocurrency, $SQUID allowed people to buy tokens to play in online games and potentially grow their wealth. With zero option to cash out, the scam should have been clear as day.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/investing/scammers-behind-squid-coin-disappear-with-43-million-in-invested-cash/news-story/9bc951140a4ca3b4db585fda9151f35e?amp


ASIC sues major Gold Coast timeshare company – 2 November 2021
A timeshare company is being sued over allegations customers paid up to $25,000 to join its investment scheme, only to find a lack of availability when they went to book a getaway.

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=HSWEB_WRE170_a_GGL&dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.heraldsun.com.au%2Fnews%2Fgold-coast%2Fultiqa-lifestyle-promotions-being-sued-by-asic-amid-allegations-of-high-fees-and-poor-availability%2Fnews-story%2Fca798437a4e64ffb705c976837f48a95&memtype=anonymous&mode=premium&v21=dynamic-cold-test-noscore&V21spcbehaviour=append

(Digital access required to read article.)


Perth Racing whistleblower pushed to resign after calling out inappropriate conduct of her boss – 2 November 2021
The Perth Racing employee who blew the whistle on former managing director John Yovich’s alleged serious workplace misconduct, was allegedly pushed to resign less than three months later. The employee was allegedly given an ultimatum; either accept a damages payout and leave on good terms, or proceed with the investigation which could lead to termination. She resigned.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/western-australia/perth-racing-whistleblower-pushed-to-resign-after-calling-out-inappropriate-conduct-of-her-boss-20211029-p594bk.html


CVS director of organized retail crime explains how professional thieves are stealing $2,000 from stores in just 2 minutes – 2 November 2021
The lack of regulation surrounding online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, means that an estimated $US500 ($AU673) billion in illicit stolen and counterfeit goods are sold on third-party marketplaces, like Amazon each year.

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/cvs-retail-crime-professional-thieves-steal-2000-in-two-minutes-2021-11


How to prevent a phishing attack online – 3 November 2021
New malware threats such as crypto-ransomware and phishing scams are rising exponentially. These complex scams are designed to trick users into revealing banking details, account passwords, or other personal information, from which the attackers steal money or in the most severe cases, the user’s identity. Article outlines eight tips to cyber safety.

https://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/692760/how-prevent-phishing-attack-online/


Facebook to shut down controversial facial recognition – 3 November 2021
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to ditch face recognition technology used on the Facebook app. It follows a class action lawsuit in the US, in which a federal judge approved a settlement of $650 million against Facebook, for allegedly using face-tagging and other biometric data without users’ permission.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/facebook-to-shut-down-controversial-facial-recognition-003237140.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAGnkTpZ50uJcDrtlbyez5YYpTVow1SBWMBueycV_S7bL0Y9enAHsiGw4VZwzNoMrJNB4reF4B79fPC_TfcQleY0_iholSomp4jDnm8F-ZKujmIMjd_ZIdnu2MuK7KJkTcgeJc_moBg73d6CQ99jwKM2f-FgletAbgmmrD_fNnEfj


Geraldton financial adviser Thomas ‘Graham’ Greenaway jailed for $2.9m Aboriginal trust theft – 4 November 2021
Geraldton financial adviser Thomas ‘Graham’ Greenaway will spend at least four years in jail for stealing $2.9 million from an Aboriginal charitable trust, while he was the trustee. A District Court judge has also ordered the 70-year-old to repay $2.1 million to the Yugunga-Nya People’s Trust.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-04/thomas-graham-greenaway-jailed-geraldton-trust-theft/100595160


Qoin rejects potential class action allegations of ‘pyramid selling’, deception, citing ‘witch hunt’ – 4 November 2021
Salerno Law states it will review whether BPS financial Ltd and Gold Coast digital currency “Qoin” have been “engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct … making false or misleading representations … conducting pyramid selling of financial products” and “fraud”, and whether it has failed to “comply with financial services obligations” and “consumer guarantees”. The BPS director has dismissed the allegations, describing them as part of a “witch hunt”.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-04/qoin-potential-class-action-rejects-allegations/100590132


Former Papunya shop manager Bruce Ross pleads guilty to theft – 4 November 2021
A former shop manager in a remote Aboriginal community has escaped jail time after admitting to stealing thousands of dollars from the business. He created a fake invoice which he sent to a Commonwealth bureaucrat to try to cover his tracks and has pleaded guilty.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-04/former-remote-shop-manager-pleads-guilty-to-theft/100592300

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 29 October 2021

14 stories this week:

 

Former Renewal SA chief executive John Hanlon calls for permanent stay on corruption charges – 22 October 2021
A former senior public servant accused of making fraudulent travel claims, will argue the prosecution case against him amounts to an abuse of process.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-22/call-for-permanent-stay-on-renewal-sa-john-hanlon-charges/100559590


New whistleblower accuses Facebook of wrongdoing: report – 22 October 2021
An unnamed whistleblower has filed a complaint with US financial regulator Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging Facebook managers routinely undermined efforts to combat misinformation and other problematic content, for fear of angering then US president Donald Trump or for turning off the users who are key to profits. The information related to Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

https://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/new-whistleblower-accuses-facebook-of-wrongdoing-report/news-story/b1d9e40b3e03ff2beda75fda3dde1e16


Dodgy association may sink Australian Swimming League – 24 October 2021
The Australian Swimming League – an ambitious plan backed by Swimming Australia to stage a series of made-for-TV race meets involving Olympic athletes – is uncertain to go ahead after the project’s founder (David Brandi) and principal investor was convicted of tax fraud and banned from serving as a company director.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/sport/dodgy-association-may-sink-australian-swimming-league-20211021-p591wm.html


Australia plans to force parental consent for minors on social media – 25 October 2021
Australia plans to make social media companies obtain parental consent for users under the age of 16 and threaten fines of up to A$10 million for internet platforms which fail to comply, under draft legislation published recently. The new proposed rules would put Australia among the most stringent countries in terms of age controls for social media, and build on efforts to rein in the power of Big Tech following mandatory licencing payments for media outlets and plans to toughen laws against online misinformation and defamation.

https://www.yahoo.com/now/australia-plans-force-parental-consent-033314204.html


Melbourne’s – Top Private Investigators The Herald Sun has researched some famous criminal cases over the years and interviewed the high-profile investigators involved – 26 October 2021
Great article explaining what a Private Investigator really does in this common age and what motivates criminals. Our very own AIPI President Andrew Patterson and AIPI members Forde Nicolaides, Timothy Carrodus, Dean Newlan and Wayne Gladman were interviewed.

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=HSWEB_WRE170_a_GGL&dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.heraldsun.com.au%2Fnews%2Fvictoria%2Ffrom-chasing-missing-money-to-catfishes-and-cold-cases-these-are-melbournes-top-pis%2Fnews-story%2Fe4666db455d16036822d0b6c5d7ab5d5&memtype=anonymous&mode=premium&v21=dynamic-cold-test-noscore&V21spcbehaviour=append

(Access to digital version of herald sun required to read this article.)


Cape York man on trial for fraud after allegedly striking multi-million-dollar mining deal on native title land – 26 October 2021
Larry Joe Woosup, a Cape York man who allegedly struck a multi-million-dollar deal with a mining company behind the backs of other traditional owners and siphoned off cash for his own use has appeared in court. Mr Woosup is accused of striking a deal with a mining company, without the consent of other traditional owners.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-26/cape-york-ankamuthi-gulf-alumina-mining-lease-fraud-trial/100570416


Parliament should intervene to protect whistleblower’s communications to MP, committee says – 26 October 2021
The powerful Privileges Committee has found some of the documents to be given to ClubsNSW in the case against whistleblower Troy Stolz should be protected by parliamentary privilege.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/26/parliament-should-intervene-to-protect-whistleblowers-communications-to-mp-committee-says


‘Anyone with a laptop’: How cyber criminals are getting smarter at stealing money – 26 October 2021
Hacking has become big business. The latest data from the Australian Cyber Security Centre shows self-reported losses from cybercrime totalled more than $33 billion in the last financial year. Article details how cyber criminals change you mobile number and then research your personal information, to then gain access to bank accounts.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/cyber-hackers-criminals-getting-smarter-accessing-bank-accounts/a32121f0-5ba0-492f-b4de-3d27ddb81d7f


Crown lucky to escape the Victorian royal commission with its licence intact – 27 October 2021
According to the findings of a royal commission, Crown dodged paying hundreds of millions of dollars in state taxes, consorted with criminal gangs and facilitated money laundering on an epic scale. It also failed to prevent staff from being jailed in China and shredded responsible gambling laws. Yet despite class actions and attention from financial crime agency AUSTRAC Crown, gets to keep its prized Victorian casino licence.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-27/crown-lucky-to-survive-victorian-royal-commission-with-licence/100569696


Former lawyer Tracey-Anne Smith who ripped off elderly clients walks from court after defrauding WWII refugee – 28 October 2021
Anne Smith, a Gold Coast lawyer has ripped off the estates of eight elderly clients and was found guilty of professional misconduct for deceiving and defrauding them.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-28/qld-gold-coast-lawyer-jailed-for-defrauding-wwii-refugee-estate/100576266


Maria Carmela Pau, accused of issuing fake COVID exemptions, appears in court – 28 October 2021
A Queensland woman who allegedly posed as a doctor and issued hundreds of fake COVID-19 exemption certificates has appeared in court. Police allege she told officers she issued about 600 false documents to give people exemptions from having COVID tests, being vaccinated or needing to wear a mask.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-28/woman-who-allegedly-issued-fake-covid-exemptions-fronts-court/100573464


Disgraced Labor MP Barry Urban remanded in custody after lying to WA Parliament – 29 October 2021
Disgraced former WA politician Barry Urban has been remanded in custody while he awaits being sentenced for forging university qualifications and repeatedly lying about his supposed police and military service.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-29/disgraced-former-wa-mp-barry-urban-behind-bars/100579380


Australia’s CBA pleads guilty for fraud charges – 29 October 2021
ASIC has announced that CBA has pleaded guilty to 30 criminal charges for mis-selling consumer credit insurance between 2011 and 2015. Scrutiny of Australian lenders and financial institutions has ramped up significantly since a Royal Commission inquiry in 2018 found widespread shortcomings in the sector, forcing companies and regulators to take swift action.

https://thepaypers.com/digital-identity-security-online-fraud/australias-cba-pleads-guilty-for-fraud-charges–1252451


ASIC issues warning on Whistleblowing Policies – 29 October 2021
ASIC reviewed a sample of whistleblowing policies and found that the majority were not compliant with the requirements under the Corporations Act. In particular, ASIC is concerned that a number of the policies contained unclear, incomplete or inaccurate information about how potential whistleblowers can make a qualifying disclosure and about whistleblower protections that are available under the Corporations Act.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=c4e9a86a-dc43-4f4c-ab12-dc55400ce8c3

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 21 October 2021

12 stories this week:

 

Ex-Boeing test pilot indicted for fraud in 737 Max probe – 15 October 2021
Boeing’s former 737 MAX pilot, Mark Forkner, was indicted for fraud for allegedly misleading regulators about problems tied to the aircraft’s two fatal crashes. The ex-chief technical pilot is the first Boeing employee to be charged over the 737 Max’s failures. Three hundred and forty-six people perished in both accidents.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/boeing-pilot-indicted-fraud-737-max-probe/story?id=80561974


Court hears about complex web of companies as former Bellamy’s director Jan Cameron faces Hobart court – 19 October 2021
Ms Cameron who is the Former Bellamy’s director and Kathmandu’s founder, is facing charges of failing to disclose information in respect of a substantial holding in a company and allegedly making a false or misleading statement in a document lodged with ASIC in 2017. The prosecution told the court that Ms Cameron engaged in “share-warehousing,” or holding an interest in a company through entities or other arrangements without their name being directly linked to the holding.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-19/tas-jan-cameron-bellamy-court-case/100550264


Unauthorised electronic transaction complaints rocket – 19 October 2021
Complaints involving unauthorised financial transactions and scams are rising fast, as use of online services during the pandemic increases and fraudsters become more active. Electronic banking grievances made to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) increased by 76 per cent during the year ended June 30, compared with the same period a year earlier.

https://www.smh.com.au/money/banking/unauthorised-electronic-transaction-complaints-rocket-20211014-p58zxa.html


NSW police charge two Central Coast men over COVID grants fraud and drug supply – 20 October 2021
Cybercrime squad detectives have charged two men over alleged COVID-19-related rorts and drug supply on the New South Wales Central Coast. One of the men, was accused of lodging fake ‘Job Saver’ and business grant applications for himself and on behalf of others, obtaining about $90,000.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-20/two-men-accused-of-fraud-in-nsw-central-coast/100552714


Overwhelming support for fining dodgy finance executives – 20 October 2021
New polling shows that nine in ten Australians, want finance executives to pay a penalty when they break the law. The findings, from a quarterly survey by consumer advocacy group Choice, come just one week before the Coalition is expected to introduce its Compensation Scheme of Last Resort (CSLR) and Financial Accountability Regime (FAR) bills into the House of Representatives.
The compensation scheme, a recommendation from the Hayne royal commission, attempts to protect people who cannot seek redress because the financial services firm that did them wrong has collapsed.

https://www.afr.com/politics/overwhelming-support-for-fining-dodgy-finance-executives-20211019-p591ai


Australian charities need to get better at mitigating fraud risks – 20 October 2021
Cybersecurity incidents in the not-for-profit sector are increasingly common and sophisticated, with recent attacks experienced with Anglicare Sydney, UnitingCare Queensland, and Oxfam Australia, to name a few. However, recent research by PwC highlights that in-house cybersecurity skills are not being prioritised, reflecting a dire need for charities to cost-effectively invest in technology that can prevent and protect them against the latest threats.

https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2021/10/australian-charities-need-to-get-better-at-mitigating-fraud-risks/


Crypto Senate inquiry recommends laws to set Australia up as digital innovation hub – 20 October 2021
A Senate inquiry has recommended changes to taxation laws, licensing and regulatory regimes to encourage digital and crypto-asset businesses to set up in Australia. Tax discounts and a new licensing regime are among the committee’s recommendations. If passed into law, the industry believes Australia could become a digital innovation hub.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-20/australia-crypto-senate-committee-brain-drain-innovation/100552562


Sydney Commonwealth Bank clerk admits stealing $2.4 million to buy house, luxury goods – 20 October 2021
While working as a Customer Service Specialist in 2015, CBA clerk Hsin-Yu Tsai, transferred $2.25m from one customers account into a secretly Netbank savings account. She also withdrew $150,000 in cash from the same customer’s account. She paid off a home and bought luxury items with the proceeds of her fraud.

https://7news.com.au/business/commbank/sydney-commonwealth-bank-clerk-admits-stealing-24-million-to-buy-house-luxury-goods-c-4289211


Underpayments bill balloons to record $148 million last year – 20 October 2021
Australia’s wages watchdog (The Fair Work Ombudsman) recouped almost $150 million for workers in the last financial year, a record figure five times greater than the $30 million it recovered three years earlier and an indication employees are being underpaid on a grand scale.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/underpayments-bill-balloons-to-record-148-million-last-year-20211020-p591o7.html


Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen tells Australian politicians to regulate social media or be ignored – 21 October 2021
A former Facebook data scientist has told Australian politicians that Facebook fears regulation and that Australia should team up with the US in a bid to rein in its power. Frances Haugen quit Facebook earlier this year and told a congressional hearing, that Facebook’s products were harming children and fuelling polarisation.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-21/facebook-whistleblower-tells-politicians-to-partner-with-us/100556252


Court issues warrant for arrest of Forum Group’s Bill Papas – 21 October 2021
The Federal Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of Forum Group CEO Bill Papas, that is expected to eventually trigger his extradition from Greece to Australia, to face fraud allegations. The arrest warrant comes amid Papas’ alleged failure to adhere to court orders, breaching freezing orders and showing no intention to return to Australia to face fraud allegations from multiple banks.

https://www.arnnet.com.au/article/692358/court-issues-warrant-for-arrest-of-forum-groups-bill-papas/


Mark Zuckerberg Will Be Added as a Defendant in Lawsuit Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal – 21 October 2021
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, might be held personally liable for damages in a consumer protection lawsuit filed in Washington. It is alleged that the social media giant had misled consumers about its privacy policies.

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2021/10/mark-zuckerberg-will-be-added-as-a-defendant-in-lawsuit-over-cambridge-analytica-scandal/

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 15 October 2021

12 stories this week:

 

China billionaire involved in iron ore bribery: Dealings with Australia revealed – 6 October 2021
The Pandora papers have revealed that Du Shuanghua, a Chinese billionaire who confessed to paying bribes for Australian iron ore, continued to trade with major Aussie companies for years even after the scandal became public in 2010.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/business/mining/china-billionaire-involved-in-iron-ore-bribery-dealings-with-australia-revealed/news-story/8b0d4f912c17f8b9f2320ab44e990346


Bank fraud syndicate facing 200 charges – 7 October 2021
Two former bank employees and two accountants have been charged with more than 200 offences, over a scheme that allegedly netted hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent loans. Police set up a strike force to investigate the syndicate and have now arrested eight people.

https://www.mandurahmail.com.au/story/7461051/bank-fraud-syndicate-facing-200-charges/


ACCC calls for banks to name-check transactions to stop ‘rapidly rising’ scams – 8 October 2021
It has been revealed that Australian banks do not block transactions where the name listed by the sender does not match the account details of the recipient. The ACCC has asked major to update their processes to stop customers from transferring money to fraudsters, after an industry body accused the sector of ‘victim blaming’ to avoid responsibility for scam losses.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/accc-calls-for-banks-to-name-check-transactions-to-stop-rapidly-rising-scams-20211007-p58y2f.html


Australia urges US to follow its lead in regulating social media giants – 9 October 2021
Facebook has been under scrutiny this week after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked tens of thousands of documents showing it withheld research into the harms of its products.

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/australia-urges-us-to-follow-its-lead-in-regulating-social-media-giants-20211008-p58yd5.html


Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says the government is not joking over plans to regulate social media – 10 October 2021
Australia has intervened in the global push to regulate tech giants, writing to the US Senate to urge it to follow the nation’s lead to make social media companies deliver safer products.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-10/joyce-says-government-not-joking-over-plans-to-regulate-social/100526516


The fallen Star: Sydney’s cleanskin casino caught in ‘dirty’ company – 10 October 2021
‘Star Entertainment’ has been enabling suspected money laundering, organised crime, large-scale fraud and foreign interference within its Australian casinos for years, even though its board was warned its anti-money-laundering controls were failing. According to multiple casino and law-enforcement agents, between 2014 and 2021, Star cultivated high-roller gamblers who are allegedly associated with criminal or foreign-influence operations

https://www.smh.com.au/national/the-fallen-star-sydney-s-cleanskin-casino-caught-in-dirty-company-20211006-p58xqq.html


Innovation investment is key to consumer trust – 11 October 2021
The rapid digitisation of business including accelerated development of new practices and rapid on-boarding of new suppliers, has been celebrated as the silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic, but digital identity fraud and cyber attacks will remain.

https://www.afr.com/companies/media-and-marketing/innovation-investment-is-key-to-consumer-trust-20211010-p58yov


University investigates claims of research misconduct in studies on ageing – 13 October 2021
The University of NSW has launched a review of allegations of research misconduct in several taxpayer-funded studies such as the research into ageing. The review comes after a well-known scientific sleuth went public with allegations some papers showed evidence of image or data error, or manipulation.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/university-investigates-claims-of-research-misconduct-in-studies-on-ageing-20211013-p58zlx.html


Demands for Premier to face IBAC grilling don’t stack up – 13 October 2021
The calls for Daniel Andrews to be hauled before Victoria’s anti-corruption commission, to face coercive questioning in a public hearing about the alleged misuse of taxpayer funds for political purposes are misguided as IBAC tends to hold a public hearing only if it has strong evidence of alleged wrongdoing.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/demands-for-premier-to-face-ibac-grilling-don-t-stack-up-20211013-p58zoa.html


Sydney inner west man charged over $20m payroll fraud – 14 October 2021
A Sydney man has become the 14th person to face charges over an elaborate $20 million payroll tax fraud and money laundering scheme. It is alleged that the man received and possessed a total of $456,150 that was proceeds of an illegal scheme to siphon off money that should have been remitted to the ATO, and that he was reckless as to the fact that the money was the proceeds of crime.

https://www.miragenews.com/sydney-inner-west-man-charged-over-20m-payroll-648763/


Bill Papas’s companies earned $500 million from fraud, liquidators allege – 14 October 2021
Alleged fraudster Bill Papas may have committed criminal offences according to liquidators, after allegedly siphoning off more than $500 million from Westpac and other major banks since 2013. That is the key finding of a damning liquidators’ report looking into the failure of his equipment leasing company Forum Finance and its related entities. He is also being investigated by the Financial Crimes Squad (a division of NSW Police)

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-14/bill-papas-forum-fraud-liquidator/100534900


Singapore patrol robots stoke fears of surveillance state – 16 October 2021
Singapore has trialled patrol robots that blast warnings at people engaging in “undesirable social behaviour”, adding to an arsenal of surveillance technology in the tightly controlled city-state that is fuelling privacy concerns.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/singapore-patrol-robots-stoke-fears-of-surveillance-state/news-story/b1b92a5ab426eb8721933d112daf4366

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 8 October 2021

12 stories this week:

 

Tech firms asked to clarify fraud and scam prevention controls – 1 October 2021
The UK’s Treasury department is questioning tech giants such as Google (GOOGL), eBay (EBAY), Facebook (FB), and Amazon (AMZN) on what they are doing to fight economic crime, prevent fraud, and protect consumers on their platforms.

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/google-amazon-facebook-ebay-fraud-ad-scam-prevention-uk-treasury-132457739.html


FCC proposes new rules to combat SIM swapping scams – 1 October 2021
SIM swapping scams have been on the rise these past couple of years, and since most online services these days are tied to people’s phone numbers, the technique has the potential to ruin victims’ lives. The Federal Communications Commission is seeking to create new rules that would help prevent SIM swapping scams and port-out fraud, both of which are techniques designed to hijack people’s phone numbers and identities.

https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/fcc-proposes-new-rules-sim-swapping-scams-093840753.html


Business woman embezzled $1m from family company – 2 October 2021
A former North Queensland lawyer and Ingham business owner has faced court after embezzling more than a million dollars from the company, she owned with her two brothers.

https://townsvilleonlinenews.com.au/nq-businesswoman-embezzled-1m-from-family-company/

(Digital Access required to read article.)


Australian financial institutions want AML loopholes solved – 4 October 2021
Australian banks and fintechs have raised concerns to the senate over major loopholes in the country’s anti-money laundering legislation. Organisations have outlined support for ‘Tranche 2’ legislation that would have Designated Non-financial Business and Professions (DNFBPs) such as law firms, accountants, and real estate agents coming under similar laws to banks, emitters, and wagering companies in relation to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime (AML/CTF).

https://thepaypers.com/digital-identity-security-online-fraud/australian-financial-institutions-want-aml-loopholes-solved–1251895


Scamwatch issues warning over new photo text Flubot malware – 4 October 2021
The notorious Flubot scammers have rolled out a sneaky new tactic designed to catch Aussies unawares, after their two other ploys were widely reported on. Now Australians are being duped into thinking their photos have been shared online.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/costs/scamwatch-issues-warning-over-new-photo-text-flubot-malware/news-story/4b52e1b6c3eb92943200a6274e1b072c


‘Tearing our societies apart’: Facebook whistleblower’s revelations fuel concern in Australia – 4 October 2021
Facebook has been accused of “paying for its profits with our safety” and “causing ethnic violence around the world”. Former employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen said the internal documents she leaked to the Wall Street Journal, demonstrate Facebook had embraced algorithms that amplified hate speech in pursuit of profits, claims the company has strongly disputed.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/tearing-our-societies-apart-facebook-whistleblower-s-revelations-fuel-concern-in-australia/66aca71b-54ca-4bc0-bed1-db8dadc0e054


Clock is ticking: the walls are closing in on the $2.8tr crypto market – 4 October 2021
The cryptocurrency market is under a lot of regulatory and governmental pressure. In the US, Securities and Exchange Commission wants the power to regulate crypto assets as securities, arguing that the sector is rife with fraud, scams and abuses.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/clock-is-ticking-the-walls-are-closing-in-on-the-2-8tr-crypto-market-20211004-p58wzu.html

https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7451734/could-this-be-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-cryptocurrencies/?cs=14247


White House plans 30-country meeting on cybercrime and ransomware – 5 October 2021
Top US national security advisers will gather officials from 30 countries this month with plans to combat the growing threat of ransomware and other cyber crime. They are looking at improving law enforcement collaboration on issues like the illicit use of cryptocurrency.

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/white-house-plans-30-country-meeting-on-cybercrime-and-ransomware-570731


Pandora Papers show mystery foreign investors making it harder for Australians to buy property – 5 October 2021
Pandora Papers show Rio Tinto continued to trade with Chinese billionaire Du Shuanghua after bribery scandal
Almost 12 million leaked documents – known as the Pandora Papers – have shed light on how complicated, offshore business structures are being used in Australia to shroud corporate ownership in secrecy. Since around 2016, there have been calls for a register of beneficial ownership, to force details of ultimate company owners into public view. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-05/pandora-papers-show-impact-of-mystery-foreign-property-investors/100515630

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-04/rio-tinto-continued-to-trade-with-briber-du-shuanghua/100513014


Home buyer caught in $100,000 bank scam hits out at ‘dismissive’ NAB – 5 October 2021
Complying with anti-money laundering laws and protecting customers against scams are two costly and mounting tasks for the major banks. NAB is working on a mammoth internal project, called Apollo, that involves examining millions of customer accounts to ensure identification details are up-to-date.

https://www.theage.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/home-buyer-caught-in-100-000-bank-scam-hits-out-at-dismissive-nab-20210919-p58szy.html


Investment scam losses reported to ACCC set to double in 2021 – 5 October 2021
Australians lost more than $851 million to scams in 2020 – the worst year on record – and it looks like 2021 will be another banner year for scammers. People aged 65 and older were the group that had lost the most to investment scams as of August this year and people aged 18 to 24 had reported $1.7 million in losses to the ACCC as of August – a 259% jump on all of 2020.

https://www.choice.com.au/money/financial-planning-and-investing/stock-market-investing/articles/investment-scam-losses

 

 

Investigation & Fraud News – Week ending 1 October 2021

13 stories this week:

 

Aussie crypto kid gets over seven years in US jail for Ponzi scheme – 16 September 2021
Stefan Qin, a 24-year-old Brisbane man, used investor’s money on a lavish lifestyle, including a $US23,000-a-month Manhattan penthouse apartment. Federal prosecutors said Qin defrauded more than 100 people out of about AUD $123 million. Investors thought they’d found a sure thing — a hedge fund that was generating 500 per cent returns by exploiting the price gaps between cryptocurrencies on 40 exchanges throughout the world.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/aussie-crypto-kid-gets-over-seven-years-in-us-jail-for-ponzi-scheme-20210916-p58s2m.html


ANZ reports a 73% year-on-year increase in scams for the first eight months of 2021 – 23 September 2021
ANZ had seen a 73% increase in scams being detected or reported by customers, compared to the same time last year. The most prevalent and successful scam involves criminals gaining remote access to consumer customer computers and the devices. ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliot, has encouraged the Standing Committee of Economics, to prioritise the need to raise further awareness and address the rising number of scams.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/anz-reports-a-73-year-on-year-increase-in-scams-for-the-first-eight-months-of-2021/


Bitcoin trader takes banks to court over cryptocurrency ‘discrimination’ – 24 September 2021
The ACT Civil and & Administration Tribunal, will hear a case between Canberra man Allan Flynn and two of the nation’s biggest banks, over their decision to stop doing business with him, because he operated a cryptocurrency trading platform. If successful this could have enormous ramifications for the bitcoin-shy Australian banking sector.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/bitcoin-trader-takes-banks-to-court-over-cryptocurrency-discrimination-20210923-p58u38.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed


Bitcoin.org website offline after being hacked – 25 September 2021
Bitcoin.org suffered a breach Thursday that has already cost unsuspecting bitcoin users lots of money. Visitors to the site were greeted with an invitation to send bitcoin to the “Bitcoin Foundation” with hackers promising they would double funds sent to the address.

https://micky.com.au/bitcoin-org-website-offline-after-being-hacked/


Australia: An Increasingly Global Approach – 27 September 2021
This article considers the major Australian government investigative, law enforcement, and regulatory agencies involved in domestic and transnational investigations, with a particular focus on their increasing need to adopt a global approach to adequately protect Australians from criminal threats, both local and international.

https://globalinvestigationsreview.com/review/the-asia-pacific-investigations-review/2022/article/australia-increasingly-global-approach


Foreign ownership investigation of A-League soccer teams reveals human rights concerns, match-fixing links – 27 September 2021
An investigation into foreign ownership of Australian soccer clubs, has uncovered links to an Indonesian executive, jailed over a major match-fixing scandal and accusations of “sportswashing”, by one of the wealthiest Arab states.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-27/football-foreign-ownership-a-league-investigation/100476618


Papas executive accused of failing to act on 2018 whistleblower report – 27 September 2021
A senior executive at Bill Papas’ business has repeatedly claimed he only learned about the $400 million fraud in June this year, despite being warned of potential contract irregularities in 2018 by an internal “whistleblower”.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/papas-executive-accused-of-failing-to-act-on-2018-whistleblower-report-20210927-p58v1f.html


Anthony James Hill pleads guilty to fraud-related charges after stealing $28,000 from New Norfolk Golf Club – 27 September 2021
Anthony James Hill pleaded guilty to 37 fraud-related charges after stealing more than $28,000 from the New Norfolk Golf Club, while acting as Treasurer and being entrenched in a decade long romance scam.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-27/tas-man-pleads-guilty-golf-club-fraud-fund-online-relationship/100495572


Phone scams are ‘exploding’ and costing vulnerable Australians millions, new data shows – 28 September 2021
Australians have lost $63.6 million to scams involving unsolicited calls or text messages so far this year, according to the ACCC’s Scamwatch program. Indigenous Australians in particular, are seeing increasing financial losses from phone-based scams. Experts are calling for vigilance and for people to report potential fraud.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-28/phone-scams-exploding-vulnerable-australians-new-data/100496496

https://www.startupdaily.net/2021/09/if-youre-being-bombarded-with-scam-delivery-messages-heres-why-and-what-can-be-done/

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/australians-lose-211-million-to-scammers-570381


PwC opens investigation into racist misconduct at staff event – 29 September 2021
Professional services firm PwC is facing accusations of racist misconduct among its staff at a company-run event, with one diversity and inclusion leader said to have mocked Chinese accents.

https://www.consultancy.com.au/news/4046/pwc-opens-investigation-into-racist-misconduct-at-staff-event


Sydney inner west man charged over $20m payroll fraud – 29 September 2021
It is alleged that an Earlwood man received and possessed $456,150 that was proceeds of an illegal scheme to siphon off money that should have been remitted to the ATO, and that he was reckless as to the fact that the money was the proceeds of crime.

https://www.accountantsdaily.com.au/business/16216-sydney-inner-west-man-charged-over-20m-payroll-fraud


Financial firms brace for ‘pitiless’ month of new laws – 30 September 2021
Banks, fund managers and insurers will from October become subject to a raft of new regulations flowing from the Hayne royal commission, including a controversial rule forcing them to “dob in” themselves and their business partners for suspected breaches of the law.

https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/financial-firms-brace-for-pitiless-month-of-new-laws-20210930-p58w0a

(Access to digital version of AFR required to read article.)


China bans cryptocurrency transactions – 1 October 2021
China has declared the use of digital currencies illegal, saying they disrupt the financial system and are used in money-laundering and other crimes.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/china-bans-cryptocurrency-transactions/7131577a-7381-4ef1-9264-ecb07331ed93