A Sydney man has been arrested and charged by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) over his apparent role in a network that recruits unwitting money mules online.
The AFP alleges the 27-year-old from the suburb of Brighton-Le-Sands is part of a money mule network that purports to be a legitimate business, but is actually recruiting people to unknowingly launder proceeds of crime in return for a commission.
On 28 January this year, investigators identified an attempt to transfer more than $16,000 from a malware victim to another Australian bank account. This was stopped after a request was made to the financial institution.
Recipient did not know origin of the funds
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 Brighton-Le-Sands man, who was taken into custody after police searched his home on 11 February.
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,” Walker stated. “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 want to minimise risk
“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 accused man was granted strict bail in the Sydney Central Local Court on Friday. He will next appear before the Downing Central Local Court on 13 April. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.
The AFP has now urged people who believe they may have been lured into being a money mule to report the incidents to Crime Stoppers or their local police.