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People smuggling operation shut down by joint Australian–Indonesian investigation

Image or person handing another person money

A joint investigation between Australian and Indonesian authorities identified two Australian suspects (a father and son) who were facilitating a people smuggling venture. AUSTRAC analysis of financial transaction reports assisted the investigation. Authorities restrained approximately AUD60,000 as the proceeds of crime.

The main suspect was sentenced to a suspended nine-month jail sentence.

Australian authorities alleged that approximately 70 foreign nationals had paid the two suspects to facilitate their passage from Indonesia into Australia. The voyage was not undertaken due to intervention by Indonesian police. The father, suspect A, was identified as a people smuggler operating in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Suspect A originally arrived in Australia as an asylum seeker and was granted a visa. Suspect A was linked to numerous Afghan nationals who were detained in Indonesia and Christmas Island. Suspect A travelled to Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia and was approached by Afghan nationals to arrange their safe passage to Australia. The Afghan nationals were willing to pay between AUD8,000 and AUD10,000 each for the journey.

Suspect B assisted his father (suspect A) to transfer funds relating to the people smuggling operation. In Indonesia the foreign nationals paid cash up-front before being transported to Australia. Some of the funds were sent to Australia. Money was also sent from Australia to Indonesia to assist the suspects' people smuggling associates in Indonesia.

Over a two-month period, three suspicious matter reports (SMR) were submitted by reporting entities which identified the following:

  • While in Australia, suspect B received multiple incoming international funds transfer instructions (IFTIs) from suspect A in Indonesia. The transfers appeared to be deliberately structured into amountsbelow AUD10,000.
  • Suspect A provided multiple, conflicting identification details when sending separate IFTIs from Indonesia to Australia.
  • Suspect B received significant cash deposits into his personal account from multiple third parties in different Australian states.
  • Suspect B transferred approximately AUD40,000 from his personal everyday account to his debit card account via internet banking. On the same day suspect B conducted three significant cash withdrawals from the debit card account in amounts of AUD10,000, AUD20,000 and AUD10,000. These cash withdrawals were made at three different bank branches in a major metropolitan area.
  • On a separate occasion, suspect B attempted to withdraw a significant amount of cash. Upon being questioned by the branch manager regarding the purpose of the funds suspect B provided conflicting information and then became irate. Suspect B did not withdraw the funds and proceeded to close all accounts at this major bank.  

AUSTRAC staff analysed financial transaction reports submitted by reporting entities and identified the following:

  • Over a one-month period suspect B conducted one cash deposit of AUD11,000 and five cash withdrawals in amounts between AUD5,000 and AUD20,000. Suspect A also conducted one cash deposit of AUD13,000.
  • Over a six-day period suspect A used remittance services in Indonesia to transfer approximately AUD40,000 to suspect B in Australia in amounts between AUD1,900 and AUD7,600.
  • Over an eight-month period suspects A and B conducted 10 outgoing IFTIs from Australia to Indonesia. The suspects used the remittance services to transfer the funds to third-party accounts and accounts held in their names in amounts between AUD150 and AUD5,000.

Both suspects were charged with people smuggling and money laundering offences, and suspect B was charged with possessing a drug of dependence. Suspect A did not face trial. Authorities restrained as the proceeds of crime approximately AUD60,000 held in a bank account operated by suspect A's daughter. Suspect B was sentenced to a suspended nine-month jail sentence after pleading guilty to receiving and dealing with money from the proceeds of crime.

Offence
  • Money laundering
  • Fraud (identity)
  • People smuggling
Customer Individual
Industry
  • Banking (ADIs)
  • Remittance services
Channel
  • Electronic
  • Physical
Report type
  • SCTR
  • IFTI
  • SMR
Jurisdiction
  • Domestic
  • International – Indonesia
Designated service
  • Account and deposit-taking services
  • Remittance service (money transfers)
Indicators
  • Conflicting or incomplete identification details provided for different transactions
  • Customer becomes irate when questioned over financial transactions
  • Customer undertaking transactions that appear to be inconsistent with their customer profile and transactional history
  • International funds transfer from an individual account to several offshore accounts held in the names of third parties
  • International funds transfer to high-risk jurisdictions
  • Large cash withdrawals from multiple bank branches on the same day
  • Structured international funds transfers within a short period of time
  • Use of overseas bank accounts
Last modified: 21/08/2015 09:03