The AFP has charged 70 alleged offenders with money laundering offences in 2022.
Of those charged, 15 alleged offenders were involved in laundering cash or dealing in property worth more than $1 million.
The latest money laundering charge occurred on 15 December 2022, when AFP investigators re-arrested a Sydney man, 30, in Lidcombe for allegedly continuing his money laundering activities while on bail for the same offence.
Police will allege the Sylvania man laundered $185,600 in proceeds of crime between November and December 2022. He allegedly received the money in his bank account, and deposited lots of $10,000 to $50,000 at ATMs and bank tellers across Sydney to a cryptocurrency wallet and bank accounts with multiple financial institutions.
He was charged with breaching his bail under the Bail Act 2013 (NSW) and dealing in proceeds of crime greater than $100,000, contrary to section 400.4(1B) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The maximum penalty for the proceeds of crime offence is 20 years’ imprisonment.
He is scheduled to next appear in Burwood Local Court on 21 December 2022.
The man was initially arrested on 12 October 2021 for allegedly laundering more than $1 million cash.
AFP Detective Superintendent Craig Bellis said money laundering was a serious criminal offence because it was the lifeblood of organised crime targeting Australia.
“The intelligence the AFP derived from Operation Ironside highlighted the prevalence of money laundering syndicates in Australia and their role in aiding organised criminal groups importing illicit drugs into the country,” Det-Superintendent Bellis said.
“Organised criminals rely on money laundering syndicates to hide the proceeds of their crimes from authorities and fund their next illegal ventures.”
There is no textbook description of a money launderer. The ages and occupations of the 70 alleged offenders charged with money laundering offences in 2022 is widespread.
Cash is a common theme in many of the investigations, with large amounts of currency located by police executing search warrants in homes, cars, and concealed on people’s bodies.
The AFP charged associates of Outlaw Motorcycle Gang members looking to fund their next illicit drug importation, students used by money laundering syndicates to run cash deposits, and specialists in their field, such as accountants and metals dealers, who have the means to hide dirty money through legitimate enterprises.
Many of the charges relate to money and property derived from, or used for other serious crimes, including drug importations, cybercrime and fraud.
Recent changes in legislation mean alleged money launderers can now face a lifetime in prison when they are found to be laundering $10 million or more worth of money or property.
In September 2022, the AFP charged three members of an alleged money laundering syndicate in Melbourne.
The syndicate allegedly laundered millions of dollars in illicit cash through a Springvale licensed gaming venue by buying jackpots from patrons. The jackpots were then paid out by the venue as cheques which would later be deposited into bank accounts, and promptly withdrawn as cash.
Investigations revealed that between November 2021 and June 2022 about 73% of the cheques issued at the gaming venue – valued at more than $4.7 million – were issued to patrons linked to the syndicate. Investigations are continuing in relation to the source of the funds
Vision: Footage of the arrests and images of the seized items are available via hightail.
The AFP charged a Sydney man and woman in February 2022 for allegedly laundering more than $22 million cash through gold purchases. AFP officers executed a series of search warrants and seized about $86,000 cash and $148,000 worth of gold bullion of various sizes.
The man is a registered precious metals dealer and director of a gold trading company. Police allege that he failed to adhere to stringent reporting obligations on all gold sales by concealing customer details when making significant cash purchases.
Vision: An image of the seized gold bullion is available via hightail.
AFP seizes about $5 million in alleged dirty cash
The AFP arrested an alleged cash courier and seized up to $5 million in suspected illicit cash in Perth on 14 December 2022.
The AFP will allege the man was acting as a cash courier for a criminal syndicate and was moving large amounts of money, believed to be the proceeds of crime, to ‘dead drop zones’ in parks and bushland across Perth.