Case 22 - Fijian fraud proceeds paid credit card debts in Australia
A suspect, located in Fiji, fraudulently obtained a bank loan from a bank in Federated States of Micronesia to develop a resort in Fiji. The suspect fraudulently obtained the loan for USD580,000 by representing himself as the beneficial owner of the borrowing company. The company was in fact a Fijian 'shelf company' (see information box below), of which the suspect was not actually the owner.
The bank, which had not previously lent to an entity from Fiji, requested the services of a Fijian solicitor to facilitate the loan. The suspect provided contact details for a Fijian solicitor; however, the suspect himself posed as the solicitor without the solicitor's knowledge. In the guise of the solicitor, the suspect provided a number of fraudulent documents to the bank including falsified financial statements and a forged receipt for registration of the mortgage for the proposed resort.
By the time suspicions were raised about the loan, AUD240,000 of the funds had already been transferred from Fiji to three separate entities in Australia, where they had been used to pay credit card debts and rental arrears.
The suspect was arrested on his arrival in Australia. He was charged under the Criminal Code Act 1995 with money laundering resulting from a fraud committed overseas, and was sentenced to four-and-a-half years jail.
|Offence||Fraud; money laundering|
|Report type||IFTI; SUSTR|
|Jurisdiction||International - Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji|
|Designated service||Loan services; account and deposit-taking services|
Use of false documentation
Use of international funds transfers
A shelf corporation is a company or corporation that has been legally established but has not yet traded. The company's name and documentation can be bought 'off the shelf'. This allows those wishing to start a company to bypass the registration or incorporation process normally involved in establishing a brand new company, and may also give a business the appearance of corporate longevity.