NSW Court orders $600K forfeiture following backyard cash splash

Cash seized by the AFP was forfeited to the Commonwealth following a Supreme Court order

The Supreme Court of New South Wales has ordered more than half a million dollars' in cash be forfeited to the Commonwealth, following an Australian Federal Police (AFP) money laundering investigation in Western Sydney.

The cash, totaling just over $600,000, was seized in February 2019 during a search warrant executed on a property in Bankstown, NSW. The AFP was conducting the search as part of police inquiries into an alleged crime syndicate operating in the area.

During the warrant, AFP officers located the cash strewn across the ground of a neighbouring property, having been thrown over the fence in an attempt to evade police detection during the search warrant.

Two people – a 42-year-old man and a 46 year-old woman, both from Bankstown – were arrested and charged at the time with dealing with money reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime worth $100,000 or more, contrary to section 400.9(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

They were convicted and sentenced in court this year:

  • On 26 March 2020, the man was sentenced to a term of 12 months imprisonment, and released on the condition of a Recognizance Release Order.
  • On 16 July 2020, the woman received a term a prison term of one year and eight (8) months. She will be released on a Recognizance Release Order after serving 10 months in custody, due to expire in May 2021.

As part of the investigation, the AFP's Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) sought orders to restrain and forfeit the money seized during the search warrant.

On 20 August 2020, the Supreme Court of NSW made orders forfeiting the $600,000 to the Commonwealth.

AFP National Manager Criminal Assets Confiscation, Mr Stefan Jerga said the outcome results in significant funds flowing back into the Australian community.

"This money has been diverted away from criminal activity, and goes directly back to public purposes," Mr Jerga said.

"Taking the profit out of organised crime is a key strategy used by the AFP and our partners to deliver maximum impact and disruption to the criminal environment."

The seized funds will be deposited into the Confiscated Assets Account, which is managed by the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) on behalf of the Commonwealth. The funds can be used to benefit the community through crime prevention, intervention or diversion programs, or other law enforcement initiatives.

Details into the initial investigation and vision of the arrests and cash can be located from the media release published at the time.

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