Australian Police Uncover Syndicate Involved in Crypto Laundering

Australian law enforcement bodies have uncovered a criminal gang allegedly involved in laundering millions of stolen funds through untraceable assets, including cryptocurrencies.

According to an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announcement published on Sept. 17, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and ASIC have been conducting investigations into a major fraud and identity theft syndicate. The authorities allege that the syndicate purchased stolen identity data from darknet marketplaces and subsequently use it to undertake identity takeovers.

Purchasing of untraceable assets

Per the allegations, the syndicate further created fraudulent bank accounts at various Australian banking establishments. “The syndicate committed cybercrime offences to illegally steal money from the superannuation accounts of these victims, and from their share-trading accounts in ASX-listed companies,” the announcement reads.

Following the theft, the syndicate laundered the stolen funds via untraceable assets like jewelry, with the money being transferred back to Australia in the form of cryptocurrencies. Chris Goldsmid, AFP Manager Cyber Crime Operations and acting Commander, commented on the issue:

“Cybersecurity threats such as data breaches and financial system attacks are a major concern for ASIC and we will continue to pursue not only cyber-related market and superannuation offending but also the need for institutions to maintain their obligations to ensure they have adequate cyber resilience.”

As part of the investigations, a 21-year-old Melbourne woman is now due to come to trial.

Other cases of identity thefts

As previously reported, the United States Department of Justice charged a hacker group called “The Community” with a variety of charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison each.

In April, a U.S. federal jury convicted two Romanian cybercriminals of spreading malware to steal credit card credentials and illicitly mine cryptocurrency.