Alleged Card Crooks Arrested in Australia Over Cryptocurrency Laundering
An immigrant couple living in Sydney has been arrested on cryptocurrency laundering charges after allegedly channeling proceeds of credit card scams into digital currency. The couple, native to Lebanon, were charged with converting $300,000 USD into cryptocurrencies, distributing the assets into multiple digital wallets.
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Allegedly Toward Obscuring Ill-Gotten Gains
This week New South Wales’s cybercrime squad arrested a Lebanese couple living in Australia over multiple fraud-related charges, including cryptocurrency laundering.
The husband was indicted with non-bailable offenses including six identity-theft offenses and 35 other illegalities. The wife was charged with 12 fraud-related crimes but was awarded conditional bail and was scheduled to make an appearance before Burwood Local Court on October 9th.
According to NSW’s cybercrime detectives, the couple opened over 45 sham enterprises and multiple bank accounts to circulate money from credit card scams.
At the time of the arrest, enforcement agents confiscated computers, laptop, phones, and critical documents and then discovered stashes of cryptocurrencies on the devices. The detectives claimed the couple had converted over $300,000 into digital currencies.
Enforcement on the Ground
NSW’s Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis stated that cryptocurrency can be difficult for enforcement agencies to track:
“The semi-anonymous and decentralized nature of many cryptocurrencies make it desirable for criminal activity, particularly for those groups who are operating offshore.”
Still, regular credit cards come with their own headaches, and credit card fraud has been on the rise in Australia.
The couple referred to above had swindled money with the so-called “card-not-present” method in order to purchase items on websites without sites being able to identify the cards’ owners. A report from Australian Payments Network indicated that credit card fraud rose by 3 percent between 2016 and 2017, while card-not-present fraud accounted for over $400 million.
Indeed, it’s worth keeping in mind that when it comes to fraud, cryptocurrency has the advantage in the arena of traditional payments cons. To that end, TravelbyBit CEO Caleb Yeoh recently noted:
“Privacy with digital currencies is a security feature; I push a fixed amount of money to the business and that merchant has no ability to pull any more money from my account. Whereas, with credit cards, whoever has my credit card number can pull money from my account again and again and make as many fraudulent transactions as they want online. That’s why there’s so much credit card fraud going on.”
Accordingly, if cryptocurrency adoption spikes over the next decade, there would presumably be a correlative decline in credit card use in kind.
Can the cryptoverse provide a viable alternative to credit cards? Share your views in the comments section.
Images via Pixabay