A couple who had just received a $60,000 loan from their bank in a “cadillac deal” have become the latest to become victims of a “laundering scam” that allows criminals to hide cash from authorities, police and credit agencies.
The couple, who did not want to be named, were contacted by a fraudster who was attempting to arrange a $5,000 overdraft on their home and asked to send the money back to them, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The man, who was identified only as “Caleb” and told the Herald he was an accountant from New South Wales, was allegedly attempting to use a credit card belonging to the couple to make cash withdrawals, but the money was later returned to him.
The bank’s chief executive, Brian Nettle, said the bank had alerted police and other agencies and urged the couple not to panic.
“We’ve got an alert that someone has sent a cash request to the bank, and it’s very difficult to do that in Australia, so it’s obviously a very sophisticated transaction, but we are working with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to try and get the money returned,” he said.
“If it was to be done through the bank then it would be a very complex and expensive transaction, and obviously it’s not something we would recommend for people to do.”
The bank said it was working with authorities and the credit reporting agencies to help identify the suspect and ensure the transaction had been made in Australia.
“The bank is working with law enforcement and with the credit rating agencies to try to get the funds returned and it is also working with our customers to identify the person responsible,” Mr Nettle said.
The Australian Securities Commission said it has also begun to investigate the matter.
“A fraudster is attempting to launder money by transferring it via the bank’s system to a third party, such as a credit company, where it is subsequently used to obtain cash,” it said in a statement.
“An initial investigation is underway and an investigation is ongoing.”
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