Two arrested in counterfeiting investigation

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An Australian Federal Police investigation into the production of large amounts of counterfeit currency has today resulted in the arrest of two men in Sydney.

Search warrants were executed at two premises in the CBD and another in the western Sydney suburb of Tregear as part of the investigation, which was also assisted by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

The RBA identified 16,465 counterfeit notes during the course of the 17-month investigation.

A 32-year-old Tregear man and a 27-year-old man residing in the Sydney CBD are both expected to be charged with various offences under the Crimes (Currency) Act 1981.

In March 2015, the RBA referred to the AFP an investigation regarding a number of high-quality counterfeit $50 banknotes.

Subsequent enquiries led investigators to target the two men arrested today. It will be alleged in court that one of the men acquired commercial printers and used them to produce counterfeit notes on a number of separate occasions.

It will also be alleged that these notes were circulated by individuals using them to make low-value purchases, obtaining legitimate currency as change. The majority of these notes were $50 notes, but some $20 and $100 counterfeit notes have also been identified.

Today’s search warrants also resulted in the seizure of computers, mobiles phones, cash and the dismantling of a cannabis hydroponic set-up at Tregear.

AFP Superintendent Crime Operations, Paul Hopkins, said this operation was an example of the AFP’s commitment to target those engaged in organised crime activities.

“Today’s arrests have dismantled an organised crime activity that was causing a great deal of direct and indirect damage to the economy and would leave members of the community out of pocket,” Superintendent Hopkins said.

“Our investigation will continue as we gain a clearer picture of the criminality involved in this matter and work to protect against further exploitation of the community.”

If a member of the public suspects a banknote to be counterfeit, please report this to your local police station as soon as possible. Information on banknote security features and detecting counterfeit notes can be found on the Reserve Bank of Australia website at: http://banknotes.rba.gov.au/counterfeit-detection/

 

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