NSW Police have charged a man and woman for allegedly shifting $300,000 in ill-gotten fiat currency into cryptocurrency for offshore distribution.
The two were arrested early Thursday in a raid on a home in Wiley Park in Sydney’s south-west.
The raid was part of an ongoing investigation by NSW cybercrime detectives into alleged “identity fraud and cryptocurrency laundering.”
The investigation, codenamed Strike Force Breabank, was formed in March “to investigate purchases being made online using stolen and fraudulently obtained credit card information”, NSW Police said.
“Further inquiries revealed 45 companies had been opened, as well as numerous bank accounts, which were receiving cash deposits, which investigators will allege were proceeds of crime,” the force said in a statement.
“Police will further allege in court more than $300,000 was transferred to digital currency and distributed into cryptocurrency accounts offshore.”
During the raid, police seized computers, laptops, electronic storage devices, mobile phones, and documentation.
A 32-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman were arrested and charged.
The man was refused bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Friday September 28.
The woman was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at the same court in October.
Police said they were conducting inquiries with Australian Border Force “in relation to the couple’s immigration status.”
Cybercrime squad commander, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, said cryptocurrencies posed “a significant challenge for law enforcement both here and abroad.”
“The semi-anonymous and decentralised nature of many cryptocurrencies make it desirable for criminal activity, particularly for those groups who are operating offshore,” Katsoginannis said.
“While there are various levels of regulation across the globe, cryptocurrency exchanges in Australia come under the scrutiny of AUSTRAC, which strengthens our capability to monitor and investigate illicit transactions.
“The sharing of financial intelligence and information of all currencies can only help to minimise the risk of criminal groups conducting ‘business’ without detection.”