Four members of a fraud syndicate that allegedly stole $100 million from victims around the world were arrested by Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The four individuals arrested are all Chinese citizens who reside in Sydney. After receiving tips from USSS, the AFP started investigating these four individuals.
The police announced that the men were linked to an American-based fraud which the US authorities have been investigating since August 2022.
Two of the first arrests were made on October 20th, 2022 at the homes of two 19-year old men. They are being charged with violating section 193B(3) under the Crimes Act 1900.
Two other individuals were also arrested by AFP agents at Sydney and Melbourne airports on November 24, 2022 as they tried to flee Hong Kong with one-way tickets.
These two men aged 27 and 24 allegedly played a greater role in the hierarchy as they acted as the ‘controllers of the syndicate in Australia.
The criminal charges they are facing relate to section 400.2B(4) violations of the Criminal Code. This carries a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment.
The Downing Center Local Court will host all four members of the cybercrime gang in January 2023.
AFP claims that the fraud group used legitimate trading platforms to manipulate “pig butchering”
“The victims then are directed to fraudulent or legitimate investments applications dealing in cryptocurrency and foreign exchange. These have been maliciously manipulated to show false positive returns on investment.” – AFP
“Pig Butchering” is a which tricks people into spending money on , that make fake profits.
Victims fall for the trap of believing they are making a lot of money. They then get tricked into investing more and finally realize they can’t withdraw money from their virtual account.
To gain victims’ trust, the crime ring made use of dating websites, message platforms and employment sites before directing them to fake investment websites.
To create an illusion of authenticity, the scammers used legit platforms.
The men were also registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which licences foreign brokers to provide software for their clients.
The scammers were able to persuade victims that their money was being invested in trustworthy and genuine platforms.
Do not be taken advantage of
If you’re approached by someone offering an investment opportunity, keep in mind that they cannot guarantee returns.
Treat strangers or old friends who approach you via social media with suspicion. You might have to spend time building trust with them before they present an opportunity for investment.
Antivirus tools often warn you about fake investment apps because they have not been digitally signed and released by legitimate software vendors.
Finally, make sure to verify that any platform you are considering depositing funds on is legit by doing a background check online.