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Suspect used casinos, remitters and airline pilots to launder proceeds of crime

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A law enforcement agency conducted an investigation into a suspect believed to be part of an international money laundering scheme. AUSTRAC information revealed the syndicate's financial activities and assisted authorities to identify the suspect.

The suspect was charged with dealing with property reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime and received a 12-month good behaviour bond.

Authorities alleged that the suspect was part of a scheme to launder approximately AUD2.4 million from the proceeds of crime. AUSTRAC information provided an insight into the financial activities of the syndicate and assisted in identifying the suspect.

The investigation was initiated following the identification of three Chinese airline crew who attempted to depart Australia while carrying a total of more than AUD100,000 of undeclared currency.

Under the AML/CTF Act, when a person carries currency of AUD10,000 or more (or foreign currency equivalent) into or out of Australia, a cross-border movement of physical currency (CBM-PC) report must be completed upon entry into Australia or prior to leaving Australia. It is an offence not to declare currency above the threshold of AUD10,000 (or foreign currency equivalent).

Authorities identified that two of the airline crew were found to be carrying both Australian and foreign currency equivalent to more than AUD40,000 and AUD30,000 respectively. The third crew member was in possession of foreign currency equivalent to more than AUD30,000.

Following the identification of the three crew members, law enforcement authorities obtained information that prompted them to begin investigating a number of Australian-based individuals, believed to be part of the international money laundering scheme.

Suspicious casino gambling activity

Law enforcement officers began investigating the suspect after AUSTRAC received a suspicious matter report (SMR) concerning the suspect's activities. The SMRs highlighted inconsistent gaming activity at a casino by the suspect. One SMR described how the suspect had lost more than AUD3 million in one year while gambling in the casino. The suspect's losses in other years were comparatively smaller, ranging from approximately AUD3,000 to AUD30,000.

During further investigations, authorities observed the suspect take possession of a bag. Authorities intercepted the suspect and found approximately AUD200,000 cash inside the bag. Law enforcement officers seized the cash and the suspect was arrested.

Law enforcement officers subsequently established that the suspect had previously given the three airline crew large amounts of cash for them to 'courier' from Australia to China as part of the money laundering scheme.

Suspicious transfers to China and huge cash deposits

Authorities established that the suspect was a known associate of an individual employed by a remittance service provider. On several occasions the individual received a commission for transferring a significant amount of funds to China on behalf of the suspect. Authorities suspected that the individual used false names and altered records to the international funds transfers.

An Australian bank submitted an SMR about this individual's activities after she made two unusually large cash deposits totalling AUD600,000 on the same day to the same bank account. AUSTRAC also received two significant cash transaction reports (SCTRs) for the two large deposits. Authorities also alleged that the individual deposited a further AUD800,000 on a different day.

The suspect was charged under the Criminal Code Act 1995 with dealing with property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime. The suspect received a 12-month good behaviour bond.

Offence
  • Money laundering
  • Undeclared currency
Customer
  • Individual
  • Business
Industry
  • Remittance services
  • Banking (ADIs)
  • Gambling services
Channel
  • Physical
  • Electronic
  • Agent/third party
Report type
  • SMR
  • IFTI
  • SCTR
Jurisdiction International – China
Designated service
  • Remittance services (money transfers)
  • Account and deposit-taking services
  • Gambling services
Indicators
  • Multiple cash deposits on the same day into the same bank account
  • Multiple high-value international funds transfers
  • Sudden large increase in gambling activity inconsistent with customer's established gambling profile
  • Third-party individuals making large cash deposits into accounts
  • Use of cash couriers
  • Use of third parties to deposit funds
Last modified: 30/07/2015 15:39