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AFP arrests alleged cyber criminals for laundering $1.7m in stolen funds

An alleged cyber criminal syndicate responsible for laundering $1.7 million it had stolen in various cyber attacks has seen four of its members charged.

user icon Daniel Croft
Fri, 24 Mar 2023
AFP arrests alleged cyber criminals for laundering $1.7m in stolen funds
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Investigators from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) identified two Brisbane women, an Adelaide man and a Melbourne man as responsible for laundering the funds and as individuals whose operations were tied to a cyber crime syndicate linked with South Africa.

The investigation into the cyber crime syndicate was launched in October 2021 following an Indonesian business suffering from a business email compromise (BEC) attack, which saw losses exceeding $100,000.

According to an AFP press release, the group had launched a number of cyber attacks, including Facebook Marketplace scams, superannuation scams and BEC attacks, with individual losses ranging from $2,500 and $500,000.


The group runs approximately 180 bank accounts to scam victims, and then launder the stolen funds.

Chris Goldsmid, AFP Commander of Cybercrime Operations, said that the techniques being used by cyber criminals were getting more sophisticated, and attacks were getting more frequent.

“Business email compromise has become a particularly prominent cyber threat, which is why the AFP, through Operation Dolos, remains focussed on protecting Australians who are being targeted in these attacks,” he said.

“Australians reported losses of more than $98 million to business email compromise attacks in the past year alone, with an average loss of $64,000 per reported incident.

“As a result of this investigation, and with the assistance of several financial institutions, the AFP was able to identify nearly 80 fraudulent accounts being used by the syndicate and begin to shut them down.

“Now, more than ever, we need individuals and business to remain hyper vigilant when conducting online transactions.

“Educate yourself on the latest scams and take the time to triple-check the details of your transactions — not doing so could cost you your life savings.”

For the arrest of the four syndicate members, five search warrants were executed across Queensland, Victoria and South Australia yesterday (23 March).

In Queensland, a 35-year-old woman was arrested in Durack, while a 27-year-old woman was arrested in Sherwood.

In Melbourne, a 26-year-old man was arrested in Wyndham Vale, while in Adelaide, the AFP arrested a 30-year-old man in Croydon Park.

Maximum charges for individuals range from 10 to 20 years of imprisonment.

The full list of charges and court dates can be found on the AFP website.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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