Victorian Major Money Laundering Syndicate Arrested
Victorian police arrested a major money-laundering syndicate in Melbourne. The authorities detained 5 suspects involved in the crime. The investigations uncovered one of the largest money laundering operations in Australia. Keep reading to find out more about the story.
The operation allegedly involved almost $62 million. The group used dormant bank accounts to move millions of dollars into offshore accounts. Accordingly, the syndicate controlled more than 250 bank accounts. Interestingly, the accounts belonged to international students. Moreover, the criminals used the accounts to transfer millions over the past year.
So, Who Are the Members of The Money Laundering Syndicate?
The five suspects arrested came from different locations. Three of them were from Blackburn, Burwood, and Box Hill. These three suspects faced Melbourne Magistrates' Court on October 15. Accordingly, they got charged with Commonwealth money laundering and structuring. Furthermore, they are facing charges on state proceeds of crime.
Additionally, the remaining two suspects are from Endeavour Hills and Caulfield North. These two got released and will face charges on summons.
Boliang Liu and Wei Wang are among the male suspects brought to court. Boliang Liu is the alleged head of the syndicate. Also in the crew was Tao Zhou, one of Liu's workers.
What Accounts Are Involved in The Money Laundering Process?
The police claim that the syndicate bought some of the accounts from their holders. These accounts aided in the money laundering process.
According to Age reports, the group bought identities and bank details on the dark web. The details belonged to hundreds of Chinese students. The students returned to China after completing studies in Australia. Additionally, some former students offered the accounts for free.
The syndicate used money mules to move the money physically. They began with a single account to make multiple transactions. After that, they would move to the next account until all funds got funneled. The operations also involved a variety of ATMs across Melbourne.
Police said, "This makes it the largest ever money laundering operation using this methodology in Australia."
Furthermore, the police said that Wang used cryptocurrency to clean the money.
The Items Confiscated for Evidence
The arrest took place on October 14, 2021. The Criminal Proceeds Squad detectives led the operation. The team raided nine residential and commercial properties owned by the syndicate.
The raid took place across all five locations. The authorities confiscated millions of dollars in cash. Moreover, they seized a cash counter, boxes of illegal tobacco, and electrical devices. They also confiscated sporting mementos, expensive clothing, and jewelry.
Furthermore, the authorities seized luxury cars belonging to the syndicate. These included a Toyota Landcruiser, Porsche, Mercedes Coupe C200, and a BMW X5.
How Long Did the Investigation Take?
Victoria police began the investigations in October 2020. This was after receiving a tip-off from AUSTRAC. The AUSTRAC informed them of suspicious third-party deposits. These deposits involve an individual depositing cash into another person's account.
The police took 12 months to investigate the issue. The investigation involved 3 Victoria police units. The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and AUSTRAC also run investigations.
The Police's Comment on The Case
Bob Hill, Crime Command Assistant Commissioner, commented on the issue. He said the group conducted a highly flexible and quick operation.
Furthermore, Hill said, "These were people living a quiet and unremarkable life in the Melbourne suburbs while operating a sophisticated criminal enterprise."
The police are continuing with investigations on the issue.
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