Former bank employee charged over attempted $21 million fraud

Financial Crimes Squad detectives have charged a former bank employee following an investigation into the alleged attempted fraud against a financial institution valued at more than $21 million.

In February this year, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Financial Crimes Squad established Strike Force Exton to investigate a criminal syndicate allegedly attempted to defraud a financial institution.

Inquiries revealed fraudulent bank deposit guarantees had been used to purchase properties across the state, for an inflated commission.

On Thursday 6 August 2020, officers executed a search warrant at a home at Fairfield East, where they seized electronic devices and documentation including internal NAB vouchers.

Following extensive investigations, Financial Crimes Squad detectives arrested a 47-year-old man at Fairfield Police Station on Wednesday 30 September 2020.

The man was charged with 11 offences including; dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, four counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception (attempt serious offence), participate in criminal group contribute criminal activity and five counts of deal with identity info to commit indictable offence.

It will be alleged in court that man was involved in attempting to defraud a financial institution of more than $16.8 million.

He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court today (Wednesday 21 October 2020).

As part of ongoing inquiries, Strike Force Exton investigators arrested a 38-year-old woman at Newtown Police Station on Thursday 8 October 2020.

The woman, who is a former bank employee, was charged with nine offences including; five counts of accessory before the fact to dishonestly obtain financial advantage etc by deception (attempt serious offence), two counts of conspire with other to cheat and defraud, dishonestly obtain financial advantage etc by deception and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

Police will allege in court that the woman was involved in attempting to defraud a financial institution of more than $21.6 million.

She was granted conditional bail to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on Friday 27 November 2020.

Financial Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett, said investigators have conducted a thorough and extensive investigation into the activities of this alleged criminal syndicate.

“NSW Police have worked collaboratively with the National Australia Bank (NAB) to investigate this serious and coordinated attempted fraud,” Det Supt Howlett said.

“Not only has this group attempted to steal money from hard-working Australians through fraudulent deposits – one of these individuals also preyed on international students by promising to help them obtain financial loans to fund their tuition.

“After using these students personal identification information to create new accounts, they were then allegedly used for money laundering – funnelling millions of dollars to avoid detection by law enforcement.

“Let this be a warning to anyone in the community who attempts to defraud a person or company that you will come under investigation by police and put you before the courts,” Det Supt Howlett said.

NAB’s Executive Group Investigations and Fraud, Mr Chris Sheehan, said the organisation has worked closely with police throughout the investigation.

“NAB referred the matter to the authorities as soon as our systems detected unusual activity,” Mr Sheehan said.

“NAB has zero tolerance for any criminal activity and any employee who knowingly engages in such conduct will be dismissed. Where we identify apparent criminal conduct, we immediately refer matters to the police.

“It is important to note no NAB customers were impacted and no financial loss occurred as a result of the actions alleged by police, and the former employee was dismissed by NAB.”

Investigations are continuing and further arrests are expected.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Exton investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.

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