Media Release: Proceeds of Crime recovery: $12m gold and silver bullion forfeited
Release Date: Thursday, August 02 2012, 04:30 PM
More than $12 million has been forfeited as proceeds of crime, as a result of an investigation involving the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) into the activities of an illegal investment scheme based in the United States.
Originating in the United States, the investigation focused on the activities of a 49-year-old US citizen, who ran a website that offered unlicensed money transmitting services that illegally obtained funds from victims around the world.
The investigation identified that operators of fraudulent Ponzi and ‘High-Yield Investment Programs’ and other illegal investment schemes used the website to collect millions of dollars from victims.
Enquiries undertaken by the AFP, in cooperation with the FBI and IRS-CI, traced funds from this scheme to a precious metals trading account in Australia connected to the 49-year-old. The account held gold and silver bullion.
As a result, in June 2010, the AFP commenced a proceeds of crime investigation. In October 2010, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions successfully applied for a restraining order over the bullion under the Commonwealth Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
The case was subsequently transferred to the AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) for litigation. After significant settlement negotiations, an agreement was finalised and on 23 July 2012 the Supreme Court of Western Australia ordered that $AUD12.746 million be forfeited to the Commonwealth.
AFP Manager Criminal Assets Ian McCartney said this was another win for the AFP-led CACT.
“The CACT is dedicated to taking the profit out of crime by targeting criminals and their assets derived from criminal activity,” Commander Ian McCartney said.
“This is an excellent example of how international cooperation between law enforcement agencies is able to remove the huge profits from the illegal activities of criminals.”
The CACT brings together resources from the AFP, Australian Crime Commission and the Australian Taxation Office with the aim of enhancing the identification and pursuit of the profits of organised crime.
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