Case studies - account and deposit-taking services

Case 1 - $10 million cannabis operation dismantled

A law enforcement investigation into a suspected illegal drug operation led to the restraint of a number of properties, and the seizure of 1,550 cannabis plants and a substantial amount of money and other assets. In total, the items and money seized were estimated to be worth AUD10 million.

The investigation began after AUSTRAC disseminated information to a law enforcement agency which identified a series of local and overseas funds transfers worth AUD3.2 million over a two-year period. The activities consisted mainly of large cash deposits made by ten suspects connected to 13 common addresses in Victoria.

These same suspects also sent numerous high-value international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) to common beneficiaries in New Zealand. The large amounts of money involved in the transfers were inconsistent with the stated occupation of the suspects, who claimed to be working in the retail industry, studying, or unemployed.

The investigation revealed the suspects had purchased properties in Australia and used them to grow and cultivate cannabis plants. The funds generated by this activity were used to purchase additional properties in Australia and New Zealand.

The suspects were charged with cultivating, trafficking and possessing commercial quantities of drugs, conspiracy to cultivate, traffic and possess a large quantity of drugs, and knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime and theft.

Offence Drug trafficking
Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs); real estate
Report type IFTI
Channel Agent/third party; electronic; physical
Jurisdiction International - New Zealand
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

Common addresses provided for funds transfers conducted by different people

Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their profile and/or transaction history:

  • large cash deposits
  • large international funds transfers

Purchase of high-value assets (real estate)

Flow diagram for Case Study 1. $10 million cannabis operation dismantled.


Case 2 - International fraud syndicate stole identities of wealthy victims

AUSTRAC information assisted Australian and Hong Kong law enforcement officers investigating a suspected international fraud syndicate.

The investigation concerned an Asian crime syndicate suspected of stealing the identities of high net worth banking clients and conducting transactions using their accounts while the victims were overseas. The same syndicate was also suspected of having produced, distributed and used false documentation (usually drivers licences) to commit other frauds.

AUSTRAC assisted authorities to trace substantial transfers between accounts linked to the suspects. One account frozen by Hong Kong authorities received funds directly from an account in Australia linked to the suspects. Before the account was frozen, syndicate members in Hong Kong visited a branch of the bank and withdrew funds worth AUD3.6 million dollars from the account using a bank cheque.

The investigation led to the arrest of two Australian members of the syndicate who were subsequently imprisoned for two years. Law enforcement officers also restrained funds worth approximately AUD2 million.

Offence Fraud
Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Report type IFTI
Channel Electronic; physical
Jurisdiction International - Hong Kong
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

International funds transfers to a country of interest to authorities

Large withdrawal using a bank cheque

Use of false identification documentation


Case 3 - Suspect faked multiple passports to launder funds

A law enforcement investigation uncovered a suspect who was creating false passports in his family home, and using them to launder money overseas.

Law enforcement officers conducted a search of suspect A's home, where he lived with his wife and child. The search revealed AUD152,000 cash in a box in a cupboard, and a CD-ROM containing software for producing false Korean and Chinese passports. They also found two drivers licences bearing different names but featuring photographs of the same person. The search also found several passport-sized photographs of different individuals.

Suspect A told authorities that the cash was being stored on behalf of another individual, suspect B, who was subsequently charged with offences relating to the use of false accounts.

Further investigations revealed a false bank account was opened under one of the names used by suspect A, using one of the false passports discovered in his house. Over a three-month period, AUD97,000 had been deposited into this account. During the same period, suspect A had conducted nine funds transfers, worth a total of AUD89,100, from this account to an Indonesian account.

In addition to the arrest of suspect B, suspect A was arrested and ultimately sentenced to four years jail for offences against the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and the Criminal Code Act 1995.

Offence Money laundering
Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Report type IFTI
Channel Electronic
Jurisdiction International - Indonesia
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their profile and/or transaction history:

  • multiple international funds transfers

Use of false identification documentation


Case 4 - Thousands of dollars in drug money laundered through timber yard

Law enforcement officers began investigating a significant drug selling operation, as well as the money laundering methods used by the suspects to launder the proceeds of their drug sales.

To launder the illicit cash from the sale of the drugs, suspect A and his brother, suspect B, entered into an agreement with an associate who owned a timber yard. The timber yard owner received the cash from the proceeds of the drug sales and then provided the suspects with legitimate cheques which were placed into personal accounts or a property development account in the name of suspect A. In this way, the suspects attempted to 'co-mingle' the illicit funds with the legitimate funds from the timber yard. The timber yard owner retained a profit of 13 per cent of the amount laundered.

Over a nine-month period, approximately AUD509,000 was deposited into accounts held by suspect A. This amount includes AUD319,000 laundered through the timber yard, as well as cash from drug sales which was directly deposited into various bank accounts held by suspect A.

Both suspects A and B were arrested and charged with various offences including money laundering under the Confiscation of Proceeds of Crimes Act 1989 (NSW).

Offence Money laundering
Customer Business, individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Channel Physical
Jurisdiction Domestic
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services; chequebook access facilities
Indicators

Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their profile and/or transaction history:

  • significant deposits into personal account from an apparently unrelated company

Co-mingling of illicit funds with legitimate sources of income†

† While this particular customer behaviour may not be directly observable by reporting entities, it is an activity commonly used to facilitate or hide money laundering and other offences.

Flow diagram for Case Study 4. Thousands of dollars in drug money laundered through timber yard.


Case 5 - Suspects laundered millions for illegal abalone operation

AUSTRAC information assisted in a law enforcement investigation into money laundering undertaken by two suspects, who were trusted employees acting on behalf of an abalone fishing business that was also involved in illegal activity.

Over a nine-month period, suspect A made 335 cash deposits at two different banks. Each transaction was structured into amounts of less than AUD10,000 in order to avoid the cash transaction reporting threshold. The money was then sent overseas via international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs). In total, the suspect transferred more than AUD3 million to Hong Kong and China, for which he received fees worth approximately AUD30,000 from the abalone business owner. The suspect was a problem gambler, which in part motivated his involvement in the money laundering scheme.

Over a two-month period, suspect B made 59 structured cash deposits, depositing amounts of just less than AUD10,000 into bank accounts. These transactions were conducted at various branches of two different banks in and around Sydney. In total, suspect B transferred AUD556,000 to bank accounts in Hong Kong. The suspect received AUD3,000 in fees for conducting the transfers.

Following their arrests, both suspects pleaded guilty to conducting transactions to avoid reporting requirements under the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 and money laundering under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cwlth).

Offence Money laundering; structuring
Customer Business; individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Report type IFTI
Channel Electronic; physical
Jurisdiction International - China; Hong Kong
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

Business undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with its profile and/or transaction history:

  • multiple cash deposits at different banks rapidly followed by outgoing international funds transfers
  • multiple international funds transfers

Structuring of cash deposits


Case 6 - AUSTRAC information helped unravel international drug syndicate

AUSTRAC information assisted a law enforcement investigation which ultimately led to the dismantling of an international drug syndicate. AUSTRAC provided financial intelligence including details of bank accounts, family members and money trails related to those suspected of importing drugs.

The main suspect allegedly arranged the importation of a large amount of drugs from overseas. AUSTRAC transaction reports identified money being sent to the suspect and his associates while they were overseas, in particular South America where the drugs originated. AUSTRAC information also raised suspicions among authorities that members of the suspect's family were laundering the proceeds of crime on his behalf.

AUSTRAC identified accounts linked to the suspect and a family member from which large amounts of cash had been withdrawn. AUSTRAC information also indicated large cash deposits had been made by the de facto partner of the suspect's mother. Soon after, these funds were transferred to another account and withdrawn via cheque by the main suspect, with which he purchased property.

A number of the suspects were charged with supplying prohibited drugs and drug importation offences. In addition, confiscation proceedings were initiated against the suspect and his family members and over AUD100,000 was forfeited to the Commonwealth under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Offence Drug trafficking
Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs); real estate
Channel Agent/third party; electronic
Jurisdiction International - South America
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services; chequebook access facilities
Indicators

Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their profile and/or transaction history:

  • large cash deposits
  • large cash/cheque withdrawals

International funds transfers to a jurisdiction of interest to authorities

Purchase of high-value assets (real estate)

Use of third party account


Case 7 - Drug trafficker intercepted with 1.5 kilograms of cocaine

A money laundering and drug importation syndicate was dismantled as a result of a joint operation between Australian law enforcement agencies.

An investigation into a suspected money laundering syndicate led law enforcement officers to stop and question a Canadian man at an Australian airport upon his arrival from Hong Kong. The man was searched and allegedly found to be carrying approximately 1.5 kilograms of cocaine strapped to his legs. The law enforcement investigation continued and officers searched two properties and uncovered a significant amount of cash. Two other men were also arrested as a result of the investigation.

Authorities had previously been monitoring the syndicate for suspected money laundering. AUSTRAC's database was used to monitor the syndicate's financial activities, which included numerous international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) into and out of Australia. The details of these international transfers assisted law enforcement agencies to identify overseas associates of the syndicate.

AUSTRAC information was also used to trace the activities of the syndicate members within Australia and to assist law enforcement officers investigating the syndicate under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Information contained in financial transaction reports linked members of the syndicate to each other through their activities, addresses and mobile phone numbers.

Following their arrests, the three men faced charges including importing a prohibited substance and attempting to possess a prohibited import. All three were also charged with dealing with proceeds of crime relating to money or property worth AUD50,000 and were remanded in custody.

The syndicate member who attempted to smuggle the cocaine into Australia pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years with a non-parole period of four years. Another member of the syndicate received a six-month suspended sentence with a two-year good behaviour bond for possession of cash which was reasonably expected to be the proceeds of crime.

As a result of the investigation, authorities also restrained assets worth AUD1.3 million under the Proceeds of Crime Act, including three houses, two vehicles and AUD67,000 cash.

Offence Drug trafficking; money laundering
Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Report type IFTI
Channel Electronic
Jurisdiction International - Canada, Hong Kong
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

International funds transfers to a country of interest to authorities

Multiple high-value international funds transfers

Purchase of high-value assets (real estate, motor vehicles)


Case 8 - Fraudster used false names for 20 years

An unlawful non-citizen used false identities to conceal his true identity for more than 20 years. The suspect used a variety of false documents, including health care cards and drivers licences, to establish and maintain these false identities.

Investigations revealed the suspect was also operating two bank accounts, both under false names, and was moving large sums of money between the accounts using structured transactions.

AUSTRAC received several suspect transactions reports (SUSTRs) about the suspect submitted by bank employees. The reports came from different bank branches throughout the one state, and detailed various suspicious aspects of the suspect's activities, including his possible involvement in tax-related offences:

  • The suspect conducted transactions using two accounts in two different names (both of which were later found to be false). However, the suspect had used one of the names for a considerable time, and it was only later in the investigation that his real identity was discovered.
  • When questioned by bank staff about some of his transactions, the suspect indicated they were for house renovations. The suspect openly told bank tellers he deliberately structured cash transactions for 'tax purposes', so the money could not be traced. He also told the tellers he was structuring transactions at several other bank branches in the area.
  • The suspect made large cash deposits into his accounts, and then subsequently withdrew the cash with structured withdrawals either through a bank branch or an automatic teller machine (ATM). This cash was subsequently deposited into another of his accounts.
  • The suspect also used cheques to transfer funds between his accounts.

The suspect was subsequently arrested and several hundred thousand dollars was seized by law enforcement. He was convicted and fined on seven charges of opening an account in a false name under the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 and convicted and fined on eight charges of fraud under the Queensland Criminal Code Act 1899.

Offence

Fraud; opening an account in a false name; structuring

Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Report type SUSTR
Channel Physical
Jurisdiction Domestic
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their profile and/or transaction history:

  • cash withdrawals conducted at various bank branches on the same day
  • consecutive cash withdrawals below AUD10,000
  • large cash deposits
  • multiple ATM withdrawals

Case 9 - Laundered funds linked to multiple ATM thefts

Over a one-month period, approximately AUD714,000 was stolen in separate thefts from five Sydney automatic teller machines (ATMs). AUSTRAC information helped law enforcement officers track the various transactions undertaken by two individuals suspected to be involved in the theft.

At the time of the thefts, suspect A was an employee of a cash transit company, working as a member of a crew responsible for emptying and replenishing ATMs. Soon after the thefts occurred, suspect B (an associate of suspect A) made a number of substantial cash deposits totalling approximately AUD70,000 into the account of one of the companies he owned. At the time, suspect B was an employee of a law enforcement agency and also the owner of several businesses.

Suspect B then purchased a AUD60,000 boat, of which AUD30,000 was paid for in cash. The balance was paid by a cheque drawn from a company bank account. A month later, suspect B deposited a further AUD10,000 cash into a company bank account. Suspect B later travelled to Melbourne and delivered AUD250,000 cash to an associate to be used to purchase real estate.

Additionally, suspect B bought a property in the name of one of his companies (company A):

  • He paid an initial deposit of AUD37,400 for the property. Most of this deposit was funded by a bank cheque drawn on the account of another of his companies, (company B).
  • He then settled the purchase of the property with another bank cheque for AUD39,000, which was also drawn on the bank account of company B.
  • Finally, suspect B made two further cash deposits into company B's bank account, worth AUD12,000 in total.

As a result of the investigation, both suspects were charged with various offences, including making or using false instruments contrary to the provisions of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), giving false testimony under the Crimes Act 1914 (Cwth), and obtaining money by false or misleading statements under the NSW Crimes Act.

Offence Money laundering; theft
Customer Individual
Industry Non-financial banking services
Channel Physical
Jurisdiction Domestic
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services; cash carrying/payroll services; chequebook access facilities
Indicators

Business undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with its profile and/or transaction history:

  • large cash deposits to company account
  • purchase of high-value assets with cash and company cheques

Co-mingling of illicit funds with legitimate sources of income†

† While this particular customer behaviour may not be directly observable by reporting entities, it is an activity commonly used to facilitate or hide money laundering and other offences.


Case 10 - False identification used to structure $400,000 in international funds transfers

AUSTRAC information assisted a law enforcement investigation into the activities of a suspect who attempted to transfer thousands of dollars overseas using structured transactions.

Over a three-month period the suspect used his name or that of a trust associated with him to conduct 20 international funds transfers in amounts of less than AUD10,000 to overseas bank accounts. The transfers were paid for with cash and undertaken through various bank branches.

During the same period, an associate of the suspect was undertaking cash transfers, also in amounts of less than AUD10,000, to overseas bank accounts on behalf of the suspect. This second person conducted the transfers using both her own name and a false name. Law enforcement investigations revealed the suspect was paying the second person a commission for carrying out the transfers. A total of AUD413,000 was transferred by both parties.

Law enforcement officers searched the suspect's premises and found bank transfer documents and a piece of paper with the false name, address and phone number used by the second person.

The suspect was charged under section 31 of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 for structuring transactions to avoid the AUD10,000 threshold reporting requirements of the Act. The suspect was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Offence Structuring
Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Channel Agent/third party; electronic
Jurisdiction International
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

Multiple funds transfers below AUD10,000

Use of a trust account to conduct international funds transfers

Use of false identification documentation

Use of overseas bank accounts

Use of third parties to conduct funds transfers


Case 11 - Drugs, firearms and explosives seized following law enforcement operation

Law enforcement officers investigated a criminal group suspected to be involved in serious offences such as drug and firearms trafficking, large-scale fraud and money laundering.

AUSTRAC information assisted the investigation, and included details of the group's financial activities, the majority of which were large cash withdrawals and international funds transfers to Lebanon. The large cash withdrawals were worth a total of AUD317,000 and the international funds transfers amounted to AUD22,000. A regulated entity also submitted a suspect transaction report (SUSTR) detailing one suspect's purchase of a bank draft with a bank cheque and cash valued at AUD35,000.

The suspects were ultimately arrested on firearms-related charges, as well as charges of drugs trafficking and possessing explosives.

Offence Drug trafficking; money laundering
Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Report type IFTI; SUSTR
Channel Electronic; physical
Jurisdiction International - Lebanon
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

International funds transfers to a country of interest to authorities

Large cash withdrawals

Multiple international funds transfers

Purchase of a bank draft with bank cheque


Case 12 - Australian caught laundering proceeds of child pornography

An Australian suspect, who was the administrator of a child pornography website hosted in Russia, received funds and provided passwords for offenders who purchased access to the material.

The offenders purchased access to the website using cash, money order or through a money transfer agency. The suspect collected the funds and then deposited them into his domestic bank account, before later transferring them to overseas accounts. The suspect withheld a commission fee of 2-3 per cent for this service. The overseas beneficiaries of the funds were front companies located in Estonia and the United States which then transferred the funds back to Russia, where the offending material originated.

The suspect was involved in transactions worth more than AUD600,000, most of which were international funds transfers instructions (IFTIs) transferring funds from his domestic bank account to accounts overseas, including in the United States, Estonia, Germany, France and the Netherlands.

The Australian suspect was arrested by law enforcement and pleaded guilty to his involvement in the matter.

Offence Child pornography
Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Report type IFTI
Channel Electronic
Jurisdiction International - Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United States
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their profile and/or transaction history:

  • multiple low-value international funds transfers
  • multiple overseas customers transferring funds into the same Australian account

Flow diagram for Case Study 12. Australian caught laundering proceeds of child pornography.


Case 13 - Neighbourhood pharmacy linked to motorcycle drug gang

A joint law enforcement investigation began scrutinising the activities of a pharmacy that was receiving regular bank deposits of AUD20,000 to AUD30,000 per week. This was a higher than normal turnover compared with other pharmacies in the area. Further adding to the suspicions of the investigating officers was the fact that the owner of the pharmacy was linked to members of an outlaw motorcycle gang.

In total, AUD1.1 million in cash was deposited into the pharmacy's accounts over a 15-month period. The funds were deposited through a bank branch near the pharmacy.

Law enforcement investigations also established that the pharmacy purchased significantly more pseudoephedrine-based products than other pharmacies in the area. This led authorities to suspect the owners or someone involved in the pharmacy had been diverting legal pseudoephedrine-based products from the legitimate market and selling them to be used in the manufacture of illegal drugs.

Offence Drug manufacturing
Customer Business; individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Channel Physical
Jurisdiction Domestic
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

Business undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with its profile and/or transaction history (i.e. higher than normal turnover)

Multiple cash deposits


Case 14 - Suspicious transfers revealed structured transactions worth $1 million

A law enforcement investigation resulted in two people being arrested and charged with two counts each of structuring transactions under the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (FTR Act).

The investigations revealed that in a one-month period the suspects had conducted 19 separate cash withdrawals from a joint bank account, with each withdrawal structured to fall beneath the AUD10,000 cash transaction reporting threshold. Within the next eight days, the suspects made a further 125 separate cash deposits - each worth less than AUD10,000 - into a joint account at a different bank.

Bank staff at two branches documented their suspicions about the pair's actions in suspect transaction reports (SUSTRs) submitted to AUSTRAC. The SUSTRs detailed obvious structuring of cash transactions to fall below the AUD10,000 reporting threshold, and the reports prompted law enforcement officers to initiate an investigation into the suspects, and ultimately charge them under the FTR Act.

The investigating officers executed search warrants on the homes of the suspects and worked with the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to restrain approximately AUD1.18 million under section 17 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cwlth). The funds were restrained on the grounds that they were used by the suspects to commit the structuring offences.

Both suspects pleaded guilty to structuring and appeared in court two months later for sentencing. The pair was ordered to forfeit approximately AUD1.18 million and each was released on a AUD5,000 good behaviour bond for three years.

Offence

Structuring

Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs)
Report type SUSTR
Channel Physical
Jurisdiction Domestic
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services
Indicators

Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their profile and/or transaction history:

  • multiple cash deposits and withdrawals below AUD10,000
  • multiple cash withdrawals from accounts

Case 15 - Structured transactions used to launder thousands of damaged $2 coins

AUSTRAC information assisted an investigation into individual suspected of carrying more than AUD150,000 cash from China to Australia. A large proportion of the cash was made up of damaged (or 'mutilated') AUD2 coins†.

As required by law, the suspect declared the currency at the airport when he was carrying AUD10,000 or more. However, authorities suspect the individual may have carried even more cash into Australia, but he was not required to report these amounts when they were less than the AUD10,000 reporting threshold for international currency transfers.

Authorities believe the individual purchased the damaged AUD1 and AUD2 coins in China for less than the face value of the coins. He then brought the coins into Australia and, within a week of his arrival, deposited them with banks. When depositing the coins, the suspect attempted to conceal the fact that the coins were damaged. Unaware of the true condition of the coins, the banks then credited the suspect with the full face value of the deposited coins (whereas bearers of 'mutilated' Australian coins are only entitled to receive the scrap metal value of the coins).

After depositing an amount of damaged coins, the suspect would then withdraw the same amount of funds from his account, usually the following day. Occasionally the suspect transferred the funds to another bank account before withdrawing them. On a couple of occasions the suspect also exchanged the cash for gambling chips at a casino, and then converted the funds back into cash after undertaking minimal gambling activity.

Other details of the suspect's financial activities included:

  • Over a three-year period, the suspect was the subject of eight suspect transaction reports (SUSTRs) after regularly attending banks to deposit damaged coins in amounts below the AUD10,000 cash transaction reporting threshold.
  • In eight years, the suspect deposited approximately AUD300,000 in cash and made cash withdrawals worth the same amount - these transactions were made to or from a number of bank accounts linked to the suspect. These transactions all involved amounts of AUD10,000 or more, and consequently were reported to AUSTRAC in significant cash transaction reports (SCTRs).
  • The suspect undertook two cash buy-ins worth approximately AUD43,000 and two chip cash-outs totalling the same amount at a casino*.
  • The suspect carried a total of AUD150,000 cash on six flights into Australia from China and AUD11,685 cash on a flight from Australia to China.
  • The suspect was the ordering customer for five outgoing international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) to two beneficiary customers in China totalling AUD47,000.

The law enforcement investigation resulted in the suspect being charged with fraud and money laundering. He was also charged with offences under the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981.

* See Glossary for explanation of chip cash-outs and chip buy-ins.

Offence

Fraud; money laundering; structuring of transactions

Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs); gambling services
Report type IFTI; SCTR; SUSTR
Channel Physical
Jurisdiction International - China
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services; gambling services
Indicators

Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their profile and/or transaction history:

  • large casino chip buy-ins and cash-outs*
  • multiple deposits below AUD10,000
  • same day transactions conducted at different bank branches

* See Glossary for explanation of chip cash-outs and chip buy-ins.


Case 16 - Australian laundered suitcase of cash for Nigerian fraudsters

The suspect in this case was originally convicted of fraud offences involving motor vehicles. During the course of the motor vehicle fraud investigation, the offender revealed that he and several members of his family had fallen victim to a Nigerian fraud scam and had transferred large sums of money to the perpetrators of the scheme.

The offender told police he had become involved in an apparent money laundering scheme operated by the Nigerian fraudsters. The offender claimed he had been dealing with African solicitors based in Spain and London and that he had laundered at least one suitcase full of cash on their behalf. He had travelled to Spain twice and London four times couriering as much as AUD800,000 in total.

AUSTRAC data included many reports of international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) undertaken by the suspect, mostly in amounts of less than AUD9,000, to beneficiaries in South Africa, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Italy, Singapore and the United States. AUSTRAC identified 48 IFTI reports, detailing transfers worth AUD398,190.

In addition, AUSTRAC identified nine suspect transaction reports (SUSTRs) describing the offender's suspicious activities involving international funds transfers, cheque deposits into bank accounts and large cash withdrawals. One cross-border movement of physical currency (CBM-PC) report concerning the offender also appeared to correspond with a SUSTR submitted by a foreign exchange dealer located within an Australian international airport.

The offender pleaded guilty to fraud offences and received two years imprisonment.

Offence Fraud
Customer Individual
Industry Banking (ADIs); currency exchange
Report type CBM-PC; IFTI; SUSTR
Channel Electronic
Jurisdiction International - Italy, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States
Designated service Account and deposit-taking services; currency exchange services
Indicators

Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their profile and/or transaction history:

  • international funds transfers to a high-risk fraud jurisdiction (Nigeria)
  • large cash withdrawals
  • multiple international funds transfers below AUD10,000
Last modified: 28/11/2014 16:31