As part of an investigation into criminal networks laundering money in Western Australia, AUSTRAC and WA Police identified two offenders who were depositing and receiving large amounts of cash into their bank accounts. Further investigation showed that the funds came from the proceeds of illegal cannabis-growing, and the offenders were arrested and charged.
What to look out for
- Frequent ATM deposits from other people into a customer’s bank accounts.
- The customer depositing significant amounts of cash.
- Structuring of multiple cash deposits below A$10,000 to avoid reporting obligations.
- Transactions that are inconsistent with a customer’s profile.
AUSTRAC and Western Australia Police were investigating the use of intelligent deposit machines by criminal networks to launder money from the sale of methamphetamine in Western Australia. Intelligent deposit machines are a type of ATM that accepts cash and cheque deposits and credits them to the recipient’s account. The funds are then available for immediate transfer to other accounts both domestically and internationally.
During the investigation, AUSTRAC identified two people who were making significant cash deposits and receiving large structured ATM deposits into their bank accounts in Perth. Financial investigators and police analysed the bank accounts and found that more than A$1.2 million had been deposited over nine months. The investigation linked the funds to cannabis production across Western Australia.
The bank accounts were frozen and police executed search warrants at the offenders’ homes, finding and seizing more than A$10,000 in cash. The two offenders were charged with dealing with property reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime valued at A$100,000 or more.
AUSTRAC referred the two offenders to the police, who were able to link the transferred funds to criminal activities and resulted in their arrest on Commonwealth money laundering offences. Western Australia Police also restrained bank accounts held by the individuals containing over A$1 million.