Detectives have charged five men in Sydney after they allegedly acted as money mules in NSW for an international crime syndicate involved in romance and business scams.
In March 2020, detectives from Nepean Police Area Command established Strike Force Cocci to investigate individuals in NSW allegedly laundering money from the scams.
The syndicate, which has links to overseas, allegedly obtained up to $7 million dollars from 50 people in NSW, by defrauding them through dating sites and false business invoices, before laundering the money.
Strike Force Cocci last year arrested and charged 20 people in NSW, allegedly connected with the syndicate.
Following further investigations, officers with assistance from OSG executed five search warrants at homes in Tallawong, Oxley Park, South Wentworthville and Villawood on Monday (31 May 2021), yesterday (1 June 2021) and today (2 June 2021).
During the searches, officers seized cash and electronic devices. The items will undergo forensic examination.
Five men were arrested – aged 51, 42, 33, 30 and 28 – and charged.
The 51-year-old man was charged on Monday (31 May 2021) with three counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime, and seven counts of deal with property proceeds of crime. He was granted bail to appear in Blacktown Local Court on 28 June 2021.
The 42-year-old man was charged yesterday (1 June 2021) with seven counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime, and two counts of deal with property proceeds of crime.
The 33-year-old was also charged yesterday with participate in a criminal group, 14 counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime, six counts of deal with property proceeds of crime, and one count of possess identity info to commit indictable offence.
Both men were refused bail to appear in Penrith Local Court yesterday (Tuesday 1 June 2021), where they were formally refused bail to appear in the same court on Tuesday 15 June 2021.
The 30-year-old was charged today (Wednesday 2 June 2021) with participate in a criminal group, two counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime, and six counts of deal with property proceeds of crime.
He was refused bail and is due to appear before Parramatta Local Court tomorrow (Thursday 3 June 2021).
The 28-year-old was charged today with participate in criminal group, 18 counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime, four counts of deal with property proceeds of crime, and participate in a criminal group.
He was granted conditional bail to appear in Fairfield Local Court on Monday 28 June 2021.
Police will allege in court that the five men acted as money mules for the syndicate, receiving funds into their personal accounts before laundering the money through cryptocurrency and other means.