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30 June 2023, 7:54am
Media Release

WA man arrested as part of international illegal marketplace takedown

A WA man is expected to face Perth Magistrates Court today (30 June, 2023) for cybercrime offences after the takedown of an illegal online marketplace that allowed users to purchase stolen personal information for alleged criminal offending.

Operation Zinger is the Australian arm of a multi-agency international investigation led by the FBI and assisted by the AFP, New South Wales Police Force, Victoria Police, Queensland Police Service and Western Australia Police Force into the users of a well-known criminal marketplace.

The marketplace, Genesis Market, offered access to stolen account credentials and compromised device information. The site was shut down in April 2023 and 10 people across Australia were arrested as part of the coordinated international effort.

At the time of takedown, Genesis Market offered access to more than 1.5 million compromised computers – each containing information for dozens of accounts.

The WA man, 35, was identified after AFP cybercrime investigators reviewed information provided by the FBI in 2020. Further enquiries linked the man to an outstanding arrest warrant and he was alleged to have evaded police detection for more than a year.

A review of the man’s seized electronic devices, previously seized and held by WA Police Force, identified alleged use of Genesis Market to commit ID fraud and other offences.

The man was arrested by Western Australia Police Force officers on 20 April for unrelated alleged state offences. He was then charged by the AFP for the alleged cybercrime offences on 12 May 2023.

AFP Sergeant Peter Gelme said Operation Zinger remained an ongoing investigation and investigators would continue to analyse information from the seized marketplace.

“Genesis Market was only used to facilitate cybercrime and fraud. There was no legitimate reason to purchase stolen information from this marketplace,” Sgt Gelme said.

“The charges against this man should serve as a warning to any Australian users of Genesis Market. Just because we didn’t arrest you during the initial resolution doesn’t mean we are not compiling evidence of criminal offences and won’t be paying you a visit.”

The man is scheduled to appear in Perth Magistrates Court today charged with:

  • Two counts of possessing or controlling data with intent to commit a computer offence, contrary to section 478.3 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), and
  • Two counts of gaining a benefit by fraud, contrary to section 409 of the Criminal Code 1913 (WA).

The maximum penalty for these offences are three and seven years’ imprisonment, respectively.

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