Pair charged over ‘fake trader’ websites

The State Crime Command’s Financial and Cyber Crimes Group have arrested a man and a woman after conducting protracted investigation into a number of “fake trader” websites that have claimed a significant number of Queensland victims., Queensland Police say

Operation Papa Caffeine was commenced with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) when an increased spike of fake trading websites was detected through the Australian Cyber Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

A subsequent reconciliation of ACORN reports from January 2016 to May 2017 identified over 200 complainants (Australia wide) concerning some 28 separate ‘fake trader’ websites.

It was alleged at the time that in excess of $252,000 had been defrauded.

The websites themselves appeared legitimate and advertised the heavily discounted sale of outdoor furniture, BBQs, outboard marine motors and fitness equipment.

It will be alleged that people wishing to purchase these items were asked to provide credit card details however were also offered a further discount if payment was made via direct bank to bank transfers.

Upon making payment, victims were allegedly emailed ‘invoices’ concerning their purchases and advised of a future date of delivery.

It will be further alleged that no items were delivered and customers attempting to re-contact the websites discovered either the contact numbers had been disconnected and their emails were not replied to.

A total of 45 victims to date have been identified in Queensland having been defrauded via ‘fake trader’ websites and depositing approximately $60,000.

A 27-year-old Latvian national man living in Norman Park was arrested and charged with multiple offences including over thirty counts of fraud as well as one count of money laundering.

A 25-year-old Latvian woman living in Norman Park was arrested charged with multiple offences including just under thirty counts of fraud and one count of money laundering.

They were both due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court today.

Fraud and Cyber Crime Detective Superintendent Peter Brewer praised the work of detectives and the community.

“This arrest was the result of information provided to us by members of the public through the ACORN reporting system and we continue to encourage anyone who is effected by Cyber Crime offences to report the information on the ACORN system.”

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers.

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