Two arrests over business email compromise scam, South Australia

Two men will face court in relation to a business email compromise scam that diverted more than a million dollars.

In October 2021, a Tasmanian victim was arranging the purchase of a house through a conveyancer.

The email correspondence from the conveyancer to the victim was compromised by a third party who altered the attached account payment information.

As a result, the victim unwittingly transferred over $1.2 million to the scammers.

This type of scam is commonly referred to as a business email compromise, or BEC.

Serious and Organised Financial Crime Investigation Section conducted a lengthy investigation and identified two main suspects.

The first suspect, a 22-year-old Pooraka man, was arrested on 11 August and charged with dishonestly dealing with property and money laundering. He will appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on 2 March 2023.

The second suspect, a 30-year-old man from Canberra, was arrested in Adelaide on 23 September and charged with theft, money laundering and operating a financial business without a licence. He will appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on 7 December 2022.

Police identified that the money had been transferred between numerous bank accounts, with $170,000 being converted into cryptocurrency. $100,000 of the cryptocurrency has been recovered, with the remaining $70,000 worth cryptocurrency being sent overseas to Ghana. Police further identified that a further $66,000 had been used by the suspects to purchase shares, and investigations are continuing.

South Australia Police would like to remind the community that if an email is received advising of a change in banking details, ring the sender on a known number to confirm the changes before paying, and don’t click on any links in an unsolicited email or text message.

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