AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence helped to convict a drug trafficker by revealing he used bank and casino accounts to launder the proceeds of his crime. The offender was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
A bank submitted five suspicious matter reports (SMRs) to AUSTRAC about a man who made five structured cash deposits of between A$8000 and A$9000 into his personal bank account over four days, totalling A$41,500. Bank employees reported in the SMRs that the cash smelled of mothballs.
After making the deposits, the offender electronically transferred A$40,000 from his bank account into an account with an Australian casino. He also made a A$40,000 cash deposit into the casino account.
The bank’s reports also showed the offender received an electronically transferred deposit of A$131,000 into his bank account from the casino. He then withdrew A$9000 in cash.
The casino submitted an SMR indicating that the offender was known by two aliases and had acted aggressively when its employees asked for identification when cashing out gaming chips. The casino also reported the offender was known to cash out chips in amounts under the A$10,000 cash reporting threshold, presumably to avoid having to present identification.
The offender was arrested at an Australian airport carrying 4.5kg of cannabis and charged with attempting to traffic a controlled drug.
The offender was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
How business reporting helped
The SMRs submitted by the bank and casinos to AUSTRAC brought the offender’s suspicious activities to AUSTRAC’s attention.
AUSTRAC produced an intelligence assessment report for law enforcement authorities about the financial activities of the offender, which prompted the investigation. AUSTRAC’s financial intelligence and analysis was key to constructing a successful case.
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