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AUSTRAC information identified Australian victim of $2 million overseas investment scam

Image of man handing over cash

AUSTRAC information was instrumental in identifying an Australian victim who sent approximately AUD2 million to a highly organised international crime syndicate committing 'advance fee' fraud.

Using this information, authorities were able to identify the victim and discourage him from sending more money to the international crime group.

AUSTRAC analysis of international funds transfer instruction (IFTI) reports showed that over a seven-year period an Australian individual sent AUD1.2 million to multiple overseas beneficiaries in Ghana, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Spain and the United Kingdom. The IFTIs ranged in amounts between AUD200 to AUD123,000 and were sent via various remittance services and banks.

AUSTRAC also identified several relevant suspicious matter reports (SMRs) in its database and disseminated these to Australian authorities. The SMRs showed:

  • The individual used cash to fund outgoing IFTIs to multiple beneficiaries in Egypt, Lebanon, Nigeria, Spain, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom.
  • The IFTIs were for amounts ranging between AUD700 and AUD8,500.
  • The funds were transferred via remittance services.

Authorities analysed AUSTRAC financial intelligence and identified that the individual was a likely victim of fraud. They then contacted the victim to alert him that he was probably being scammed and warn him not to send any more money overseas.

Further investigation revealed that the victim communicated with the overseas fraudsters over the internet. The fraudsters invited the victim to send money to recover allegedly 'lost funds' and to establish investments in Australia.

The victim sent a total of AUD2 million to the fraudsters. The victim believed the funds were for various 'fees and taxes', which, once paid, would secure the release of GBP32 million worth of lost funds from the United Kingdom.

The victim stopped sending funds after authorities contacted him. This is an example of authorities using AUSTRAC information to investigate a highly organised scheme by international criminal groups to defraud Australian citizens.

Offence Fraud (advance fee)
Customer Individual
Industry
  • Banking (ADIs)
  • Remittance services
Channel
  • Electronic
  • Physical
Report type
  • IFTI
  • SMR
Jurisdiction International – Egypt, Ghana, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Spain, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom
Designated service
  • Account and deposit-taking services
  • Remittance services (money transfer)
Indicators
  • High volume of international funds transfers from Australia for no apparent logical reason
  • International funds transfers to a high-risk jurisdiction
Last modified: 30/07/2015 15:34