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Sixth person charged over alleged $US100m investment scam

Regulation

AFP claims international crime syndicate is using fraudulent bank accounts and crypto-currency.

By Philip King 9 minute read

The AFP has arrested and charged a sixth Chinese national living in Sydney believed to be part of a criminal syndicate involved in a US$100 million cyber-enabled investment scam.

Police said they had already arrested five Sydney-based Chinese nationals as part of Operation Wickham, following a tip-off by US investigators about the scam.

Investigators would allege the highly-sophisticated operation involved the unlawful manipulation of legitimate electronic trading platforms, normally licensed to foreign exchange brokers, who then provided the software to their clients.

The AFP would allege that its investigation uncovered that a 34-year-old Chinese national living in the Sydney suburb of Burwood was using bank and cryptocurrency accounts to facilitate cash deposits and transfers offshore, and that these funds would help launder money believed to be the proceeds of crime.

The accounts were created by the criminal syndicate using the details of Samoan nationals on temporary working visas. The temporary workers received a nominal fee for access to the account and the AFP said current evidence indicated they might have been unaware of the criminal activity.

The Chinese national was identified by police when CCTV captured him making cash deposits into one of the compromised accounts and taking out money from two others.

The man is scheduled to appear in court on 7 September charged with dealing in the proceeds of indictable crime, money or property worth $100,000 or more and receiving a designated service using a false name or customer anonymity.

Detective Superintendent Tim Stainton said cyber criminals were using social engineering techniques to manipulate victims into thinking their investments are legitimate when their funds were going straight to the criminals.

“The number of people falling victim to these types of cyber-enabled scams continues to grow on a daily basis and it is essential that the Australian community exercises the utmost caution if approached online, in person, or on the phone by anyone trying to use any component of their identity to assist the activities of organised crime syndicates,” he said.

“I encourage all members of the public to exercise a high degree of caution when approached or engaged by unknown entities on the internet or over online communication platforms in relation to investment opportunities or any other type of opportunity. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”

 

 

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Philip King

Philip King

AUTHOR

Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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