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Melbourne woman sentenced for central role in a major international criminal syndicate

Australian Federal Police
Date published
December 2022

Relevant impacts: Human impact, reputational impact and business impact.

A Melbourne woman, 24, was sentenced to 5 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 4 years for her role in a major international criminal syndicate. It’s estimated the syndicate stole in excess of $3.3million from victims’ superannuation and share trading accounts using fraud and identity theft.

The investigation – codenamed Operation Birks – showed the woman worked as part of an international criminal syndicate which used fraudulently-obtained identities to commit large-scale and sophisticated cybercrimes. 

False identities were created to mimic real individuals using identity information purchased from darknet marketplaces, single-use telephone SIM cards and fake email addresses. These false identities were subsequently used to open bank accounts at various Australian Institutions. 

A cloned website that mimicked the legitimate website of a superannuation fund, was created to harvest member’s usernames and passwords. The stolen member information was used to gain unauthorised access to member accounts where the syndicate withdrew funds and deposited them in fraudulent bank accounts. The funds were then sent overseas to purchase untraceable assets which were sold and the money remitted to the offender in Australia through cryptocurrencies.

Related countermeasures

Fraud detection software programs automatically analyse data to detect what is different from what is standard, normal or expected and may indicate fraud or corruption.

Collaborate with strategic partners such as other government entities, committees, working groups and taskforces. This allows you to share capability, information and intelligence and to prevent and disrupt fraud.

Verify any requests or claim information you receive with an independent and credible source.

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