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Drug trafficker caught after suspicious casino behaviour reported to AUSTRAC

Image of lines of cocaine

AUSTRAC alerted a law enforcement agency to a series of suspicious transactions at a casino, sparking an investigation that led to the arrest of several members of a crime syndicate and the seizure of cash and a large, commercial quantity of drugs.

One of the suspects triggered an alert in the AUSTRAC database after his gambling activities at a casino prompted the submission of a large number of significant cash transactions reports (SCTRs). Over a 12-month period, AUSTRAC also received a large number of suspicious transaction reports (SUSTRs) detailing the suspect's continual purchase of bank cheques. Other SUSTRs detailed the suspect's significant cash buy-ins at the casino.

AUSTRAC information also assisted authorities to identify the probable money laundering methods used by the crime syndicate. The syndicate's illicit funds were sent overseas and then returned to Australia through legitimate channels as 'clean' funds. The funds were returned to Australia as seemingly legitimate proceeds from the sale of property or as gifts from overseas family members.

All suspects involved in the case were charged with trafficking a commercial quantity of cocaine, and one offender faced an additional charge of possessing the proceeds of crime.

Flow diagram for Case Study 20. Drug trafficker caught after suspicious casino behaviour reported to AUSTRAC.

Offence Drug trafficking; possessing the proceeds of crime
Customer Individual
Industry Gambling
Report type SCTR, SUSTR
Channel Physical
Jurisdiction Domestic
Designated service Gambling services
  • Large cash buy-in at casinos
  • Multiple purchases of bank cheques
  • Outgoing international funds transfer with corresponding incoming funds transfer - appears to be a 'u-turn' transaction (See Glossary for explanation of a 'u-turn' transaction.)
  • Unusual customer behaviour at a casino
Last modified: 30/07/2015 15:43