Police charge six over $6 million online scam and money laundering investigation

Detectives have charged six men with a total of 49 offences as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged sophisticated cyber scams and money laundering of over $6 million.

In March 2020, detectives from Nepean Police Area Command, assisted by the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad, established Strike Force Cocci to investigate a criminal syndicate involved in fraudulent activities across the country, including business email compromises, romance scams and laundering of funds obtained.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives, with assistance of local officers from Northern Beaches, Blacktown and Liverpool, executed five search warrants at homes across Sydney this week.

During the searches, detectives seized clothing, mobile phones, computers, electronic storage devices, documentation, a replica pistol and prohibited drugs.

All items will undergo forensic examination.

Just after 7.30am on Monday (6 July 2020), a 35-year-old man was arrested at a unit on Renwick Street, Leichhardt. He was taken to Newtown Police Station and charged with 14 counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime and participate in criminal group to criminal activity.

The man was refused bail and appeared at Newtown Local Court, where he was formally refused bail to reappear before the same court on Monday 20 July 2020.

Two 26-year-old men were arrested at Caddens about 7am yesterday (Tuesday 7 July 2020), and taken to Penrith Police Station.

One of the men was charged with seven counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime, not keep firearm safely, possess unregistered firearm, possess unauthorised pistol and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

He was refused bail to appear before Penrith Local Court today (Wednesday 8 July 2020).

The other man was charged with participate criminal group contribute criminal activity and seven counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime.

He was granted conditional bail to appear before Penrith Local Court on Monday 17 August 2020.

Later that day, a further two men – aged 27 and 28 – were arrested at a home at Dee Why about 7.20am and taken to Manly Police Station.

The younger man was charged with three counts of deal with proceeds of crime and participate in a criminal group.

The older man was charged with participate in criminal group and two counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime.

Both men were refused bail and appeared before Manly Local Court yesterday, where they were formally refused bail to reappear before the same court on Tuesday 21 July 2020.

About 7.30am today (Wednesday 8 July 2020), a 34-year-old man was arrested at a unit at Liverpool and taken to Liverpool Police Station.

He was charged with seven counts of recklessly deal with proceeds of crime and participate criminal group contribute criminal activity.

The man was granted conditional bail to appear before Liverpool Local Court on Wednesday 5 August 2020.

Police will allege in court that the syndicate dealt with over $6 million, obtained unlawfully from Australian busineses through business email compromise scams and online romance scams between April 2019 to February 2020.

It will be alleged that altered invoices were sent to legitimate businesses for payment through an email scam, before the funds were transferred into personal accounts.

Further funds were allegedly obtained online through fake dating profiles and accounts, where the alleged scammer posed as a romantic prospect.

Investigations under Strike Force Cocci are continuing.

Anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Cocci 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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