A major sting over a crypto-currency scam has led to the seizure of six luxury and classic cars, as well as 11 motorcycles, seven luxury watches and nun chucks from a home and warehouse on the Northern Beaches.
Financial Crimes Squad detectives confirmed they have charged two men after an investigation into the cryptocurrency scam which allegedly defrauded two companies of more than $5.5 million.
In March 2023, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Financial Crimes Squad established Strike Force Scotland to investigate allegations two companies had been defrauded of more than $5.5 million via a cryptocurrency scam dating back to 2021.
NSW Police released a statement yesterday stating that “Following extensive inquiries, about 7.45pm on Friday (16 June 2023), strike force detectives – with assistance from Raptor Squad – stopped a car on Orlando Road in Cromer where they arrested the driver and sole occupant – a 39-year-old man. A short time later, investigators executed three search warrants at a home and warehouse in Cromer, where they seized six luxury and classic cars, as well as 11 motorcycles, seven luxury watches, nun chucks, cryptocurrency wallets and documentation relevant to their investigation.”
The man was taken to Manly Police Station where he was charged with three counts each of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime intent to conceal.
He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court the next day (Saturday 17 June 2023), where he was formally refused bail to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday 24 August 2023.
Following further ongoing inquiries, about 2pm on Saturday, strike force detectives located and seized a red Ferrari – believed to be worth $600,000 – at a car dealership in Marrickville.
The total combined value of all the vehicles seized is estimated to be approximately $2.7 million.
About 2pm Wednesday 21 June, strike force detectives arrested a 67-year-old man at Manly Police Station.
The man was charged with ‘deal with property proceeds of crime =>$100,000’ and was granted conditional bail to appear at Manly Local Court on Wednesday 6 September 2023.
Police will allege in court the younger man allegedly defrauded the companies using a cryptocurrency scam, whilst the older man authorised the funds and arranged the disposal of the Ferrari on behalf of the younger man to avoid police detection.
State Crime Command’s Financial Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Gordon Arbinja, said the investigation is a timely reminder for people to exercise due diligence when buying or selling cryptocurrency.
“Cryptocurrency isn’t illegal, but it is imperative that it’s handled responsibly to avoid being scammed,” Det Supt Arbinja said.
“When buying or selling crypto, make sure you use a digital currency exchange that is approved by AUSTRAC and always scrutinise all the details.
“If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, contact ScamWatch and your local police immediately,” Det Supt Arbinja said.
Manly Observer is aware that several Manly residents have discovered “crypto wallets” in their letterboxes in the past month that entices those who receive it to access the information provided in the QR code. We advise that anyone who receives such a document contact Manly Police station with the information as well report to Scam Watch and Crime Stoppers. It is not known if this recent scam is in any way connected to the last week’s arrests.
Anyone with information in relation to fraud or scams is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.