Australian law enforcement bodies have uncovered a criminal gang allegedly involved in laundering millions of stolen funds through untraceable assets, including cryptocurrencies.
According to an announcement published on Sept. 17, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have been conducting investigations into a major fraud and identity theft syndicate. The authorities allege that the syndicate purchased stolen data from darknet marketplaces and subsequently used it for identity theft.
Purchasing of untraceable assets
The syndicate allegedly created fraudulent bank accounts at various Australian banking establishments, with the news release adding: “The syndicate committed cybercrime offences to illegally steal money from the superannuation accounts of these victims, and from their share-trading accounts in ASX-listed companies.”
Following the theft, the syndicate laundered the stolen funds via untraceable assets such as jewelry, with the money being transferred back to Australia in the form of crypto. AFP Acting Commander Chris Goldsmid said:
“Cybersecurity threats such as data breaches and financial system attacks are a major concern for ASIC and we will continue to pursue not only cyber-related market and superannuation offending but also the need for institutions to maintain their obligations to ensure they have adequate cyber resilience.”
Other cases of identity theft
As previously reported, the United States Department of Justice charged a hacker group called “The Community” with a variety of charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison each.
In April, a U.S. federal jury convicted two Romanian cybercriminals of spreading malware to steal credit card credentials and illicitly mine cryptocurrency.