Cybercrime Squad detectives have laid more than 70 charges against three people as part of an ongoing investigation into a criminal syndicate allegedly involved in money laundering and identity theft across NSW.
In April this year, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Bilkurra to investigate a criminal syndicate involved in cyber-enabled fraudulent activity including identity theft and money laundering.
Investigations identified that stolen personal identification information was used to acquire fraudulent credit cards, which were then used to obtain cash, cryptocurrency, telecommunication equipment and household goods.
Following extensive inquiries, Strike Force Bilkurra investigators executed three search warrants at Eastgardens, South Coogee and Randwick from 7.30am yesterday (Wednesday 26 August 2020).
Investigators were assisted throughout the operation by the Central Metropolitan Region Operations Support Group (OSG), and officers from Eastern Beaches and South Sydney Police Area Commands.
During the searches, detectives seized more than 150 mobile phones and more than 300 sim cards, as well as computers and electronic equipment.
Officers also seized $11,580 cash, more than 300 credit cards, personal identification documentation and about 18g of a white substance believed to be methylamphetamine (ice).
Luxury handbags valued at $50,000 and two vehicles – a Land Rover and Holden Commodore – were also seized.
All items will undergo further examination.
A 42-year-old woman and 44-year-old man were arrested at the Eastgardens home and taken to Mascot Police Station.
The woman was charged with 20 offences including; knowingly direct activities of a criminal group, deal with property proceeds of crime and 18 counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.
It will be alleged that the woman directed the syndicate and obtained more than $150,000 through money laundering and identity theft.
The man was charged with 35 offences including; participate in a criminal group contribute to criminal activity, deal with identity information to commit indictable offence, deal with property proceeds of crime and 32 counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.
Police will allege in court that the man was involved in the syndicate and obtained nearly $300,000 through cyber-enabled fraudulent activities.
A 41-year-old man was arrested at the South Coogee home and taken to Mascot Police Station.
He was charged with 18 offences including; participate in a criminal group contribute to criminal activity, breach of bail and 16 counts of knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.
Police will allege in court that the man was involved in the syndicate and dealt with proceeds of crime worth more than $27,000.
All three were refused bail to appear before Central Local Court today (Thursday 27 August 2020).
Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Matthew Craft, said officers have disrupted and dismantled a criminal syndicate involved in large-scale identity theft and money laundering.
“Over the past five months, Cybercrime Squad detectives have conducted an extensive investigation into this sophisticated syndicate targeting hard working Australians across the state,” Det Supt Craft said.
“Police will allege that this syndicate fraudulently obtained nearly $500,000 with false personal identification information which was used to launder money through fake bank accounts, cryptocurrency and gift cards.
“Inquiries into the origin of the personal identification are ongoing, but investigators have confirmed that they were created without the knowledge of the legitimate persons.
“Investigations of this nature are extremely complex and involve working in close collaboration with financial institutions to uncover the full extent of the alleged crimes committed,” Det Supt Craft said.
Victims of identity theft can contact IDCARE for assistance to reduce the harm experienced from the compromise and misuse of identity information: https://www.idcare.org.
Investigations under Strike Force Bilkurra are continuing and further charges are expected to be laid.
Anyone with information in relation to technology-enabled crime is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.