Sydney man faces court over alleged role in money mule syndicate

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A Sydney man has been arrested and charged by the AFP over his alleged role in a money mule network that recruits unwitting money mules online.

The AFP allege the 27-year-old Brighton-Le-Sands man is part of a money mule network that allegedly purports to be ‘legitimate’ business, recruiting people to unknowingly launder proceeds of crime in return for a commission.

On 28 January 2021, AFP investigators identified an attempt to transfer of more than $16k from a malware victim to another Australian bank account. This was stopped after a request was made to the financial institution.

Further enquiries found the recipient had no knowledge of the origin of these funds and had unwittingly become a money mule after responding to a job advertisement on an online marketplace.

AFP investigators then linked the money mule to the 27-year-old Brighton-Le-Sands man, who was taken into custody after a search warrant was executed at his home on 11 February 2021.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Tom Walker said the investigation should be a warning to would-be money mules about online job advertisements that are ‘too good to be true’.

“This investigation shows the dangers of being lured in by organised criminals through the promise of quick and easy cash,” Detective Acting Superintendent Walker said.

“Our message to the community is don’t get sucked in by organised criminals. Don’t do their dirty work and become complicit in their crimes.

“Organised criminals know the risks associated with having Australian bank accounts used for their scams and will draw you into their criminal web without any care for the consequences it may have on you or the broader community.”

The Brighton-Le-Sands man was granted strict bail in the Sydney Central Local Court earlier today. He will next appear before the Downing Central Local Court on 13 April 2021 to face the following charges:

  • 1 x using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence contrary to section 474.17 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • 1 x failure to provide information and assistance that was reasonable and necessary to allow access to data held in accessible form from a computer that was on warrant premises/person contrary to section 3LA Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).

The man faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.

People who believe they have been lured into being a money mule should report it to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or their local police.

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