In South-West Sydney Australia a couple will appear in a local court to answer to charges of laundering proceeds of crime through cryptocurrency.
The two aged 32 man and 29 women are in Australia illegally and were arrested after a contingent of detectives from the Riot Squad, Public Order and NSW Cybercrime units paid them a visit in their premises in Wiley Park. They were arrested on Thursday morning and were booked at Campsie Police Station. According to the police the couple used fake details to buy goods online and were able to walk away with $300,000 from their criminal activities. Moreover, police allege the couple used stolen credit cards and stolen identities to open numerous bank accounts and 15 companies to launder more than 300,000 US dollars. The cash was broken down into different types of virtual currencies including Bitcoin and sent to offshore accounts.
Although the authorities are having a hard time in tracking proceeds from criminal activities held in cryptocurrency due to its anonymous nature they are doing their best. Furthermore, the Australian government has formed special units dedicated to fighting such vices, for instance, the Cybercrime Squad and the Australian Strike Force Break bank. Like, in this case, it’s the latter force tasked with doing investigations regarding to fraudulent online purchases that lead to the arrest of the couple.
In the court, the man will be charged with 35 fraud-related offences including knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime and six identification fraud-related crimes. On the other hand, the women will face 12 counts of fraud-related offences. In addition to the fraud-related offences, the police have requested for a report from the Australian Border Force in regards to the immigration status of the couple. It is believed that the two are originally from Lebanon but are living in Australia under bridging visas. The women will appear in Burwood Local Court on Tuesday, October 9 after being granted a strict conditional bail. On the other hand, the man’s bail application was denied and is set to appear in court on Friday to answer to charges against him.
The emergence of cryptocurrencies is giving criminals a platform to launder proceeds from their activities across borders to avoid police detection. But the cybercrime unit working in conjunction with the other departments have been equipped with the necessary tools to prevent the transfer of money.