Fraud investigators extradite man over $5.6 million franchise scams, NSW

A man has been extradited from New Zealand to face more than 30 charges following an investigation into fraudulent investment schemes valued at more than $5.6 million, NSW Police say.

Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Fraud and Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Summercloud in 2015 to investigate a number of fraudulent investment schemes.

Following extensive investigations, strike force detectives, with the assistance of New Zealand Police, arrested a 51-year-old man in Auckland, New Zealand, on Wednesday (8 November 2017).

Detectives were granted his extradition to Australia under the New Zealand Extradition Act 1999.

The man was escorted by detectives to NSW, arriving at Sydney Airport about 12.30pm yesterday (Thursday 9 November 2017), before taking him to Mascot Police Station, where he was charged with 35 counts of fraud.

Police will allege in court the man was involved in establishing fraudulent business ventures and defrauded at least 35 people from nine countries between 2011 and 2015 to a total of more than $5.6 million.

The man refused bail to appear at Central Local Court later today (Friday 10 November 2017).

Fraud and Cybercrime Commander, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, praised the meticulous work of Strike Force Summercloud investigators thus far.

“The investigation of financial deception or fraud is never an easy task – it generally involves analysing mountains of documents and tracking multiple transactions and payments around the world,” Det Supt Katsogiannis said.

“More often than not, the investigative process is tedious and can be frustrating for victims waiting for answers or justice.

“Strike Force Summercloud has been no different, and in addition to acknowledging the dedication of detectives, I want to recognise the strength and courage of the people who reported their matters to us.

“This was an international investigation, with people impacted across Australia, and in the USA, Canada, Ireland, Lebanon, New Zealand, Qatar, Singapore, and South Africa.

“Given the scope of the investigation to date, we are continuing our inquiries to ensure we put anyone responsible for any NSW-based fraudulent franchise scams before the courts,” Det Supt Katsogiannis said.

Yesterday’s extradition follows the arrest and charge of a 48-year-old Woollahra woman in July. She remains before the courts.

Investigations under Strike Force Summercloud are continuing.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to fraudulent business schemes or other scams to call Crime Stoppers.

/Public Release.