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Card skimming syndicate laundered criminal proceeds through casinos

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Suspect A was arrested by law enforcement upon arrival in Australia, where he was found to be in possession of card skimming technology. This included computer disks, a laptop, a card encoder, an ATM feeder ‘face unit’ and 31 blank ATM cards. The suspect was an international student residing in Australia.

Upon his arrest, law enforcement commenced an investigation into his activity and discovered a card skimming syndicate operating in Australia which laundered the proceeds of its crimes through casinos. Analysis of AUSTRAC financial transaction data associated with suspect A identified three additional members of the syndicate and their activities.

Members of the syndicate regularly visited casinos. Over a five-month period, AUSTRAC received threshold transaction reports (TTRs) indicating that suspect A had cashed in more than AUD180,000 worth of gaming chips at an Australian casino. However, transaction records showed that the suspect had not previously purchased a corresponding amount of gaming chips at the casino. This suggested that the suspect may have purchased the chips directly from another player before cashing them out, while claiming they were actually his ‘winnings’.

AUSTRAC information was also used to identify the irregular gaming activity of suspect B. Information on AUSTRAC’s database indicated that, over a 12-month period, suspect B had purchased AUD50,000 worth of gaming chips at a casino. However, records indicated that the suspect had cashed out more than AUD610,000 worth of gaming chips at the casino. Suspect B also made regular cash deposits and withdrawals, often in amounts over the reporting threshold of AUD10,000, into bank accounts in Australia in the days following the casino transactions.

A suspect transaction report (SUSTR) was submitted by an Australian casino, noting that:

  • suspect B presented AUD28,000 worth of casino chips to a cashier to be cashed out, before handing the cash proceeds to another person, believed to be suspect A
  • the value of gaming chips cashed out by suspect B did not correspond with the suspect’s observed game play at the casino due to the high volumes of winnings compared to funds withdrawn for gambling purposes, nor did it correspond with the expected financial activity of a young university student.

A second SUSTR was also submitted by an Australian financial institution detailing suspicious transactions conducted by suspect B. Over a three-month period suspect B deposited more than AUD155,000 in cash into an account, indicating to bank staff that these funds were casino winnings. The majority of these funds were then withdrawn in cash at the bank and via ATMs at the casino.

Suspect A was charged under section 480.6 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 for the importation of a thing to dishonestly obtain or deal in personal information.

Case 18 - Card skimming syndicate laundered criminal proceeds through casinos

Case 18 - Card skimming syndicate laundered criminal proceeds through casinos


  • Fraud (identity) (card skimming)
  • Money laundering


  • Individual


  • Banking (ADIs)
  • Gambling services


  • Electronic
  • Physical

Report type

  • TTR


  • Domestic

Designated service

  • Gambling services
  • Account and deposit-taking services


  • Casino chip cash outs do not correspond with observed game play
  • Customer undertakes consistent high-volume gaming chip ‘cash outs’ which are claimed to be winnings, an activity that appears unlikely with the comparatively low amounts of funds withdrawn by the customer for gaming purposes
  • Funds from casino chip cash outs given to third parties
  • Regular cash deposits into a bank account, followed by cash withdrawals
  • High-volume cash deposits over a short period of time that does not match customer’s established financial activity profile
  • Account activity inconsistent with customer profile
Last modified: 20/08/2015 16:03