Alleged bitcoin fraudster arrested in Sydney

A 45-year-old Sydney man has been charged with cryptocurrency laundering offences after allegedly creating fake online accounts using the details of identity theft victims.

Last night the Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested the man as he attempted to withdraw funds from a cryptocurrency ATM on George Street, Sydney.

A search warrant was executed at his Sydney CBD home, which resulted in the seizure of $6,500 in cash – believed to be the proceeds of crime, a small quantity of suspected methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

It will be alleged the AFP detected suspicious cryptocurrency transactions on 1 June 2020 and a subsequent investigation identified the fraudulent withdrawal of funds from up to 10 falsely opened accounts, said in the statement.

Multiple withdrawals, adding up to $43,350 in total, are alleged to have been made from these fraudulent Bitcoin wallets.

The withdrawals were made from cryptocurrency ATMs. It will be alleged the man created these false accounts using the details of victims of identity theft.

The man was refused bail and was scheduled to appear before Central Local Court today (Thursday, 4 June) charged with:

  • One count of dealing with proceeds of crime over $100,000, contrary to s400.9(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).
  • Seven counts of producing false or misleading documents contrary to s137 of the Anti-Money Laundering & Counter Terrorism Financing Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is three years and 10 years imprisonment respectively.

AFP Commander Kirsty Schofield said that the AFP remained committed to apprehending the perpetrators of these crimes.

“Cryptocurrency presents new challenges and opportunities for law enforcement, but the goal remains the same. Deter, detect and disrupt those who seek to cheat the system,” Commander Schofield said.