Four Chinese nationals based in Australia charged in a A$150 million cyber scam

The Australian authorities have charged four Chinese men based in Sydney in a connection to an organized crime syndicate which ran forex and cryptocurrency trading scams. The fraudulent scheme stole over AU$150 (US$100 million).

The men involved in the investment scam, aged 27, 24 and two 19, had registered companies with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to appear credible and had set up bank accounts to then launder the illegal proceeds.

Most of the victims in the scam were based in the US. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) first notified by the United States Secret Service (USSS) in August 2022.

Following an investigation by the AFP, the four men were charged with criminal offences.


The Scam

The Aussie authorities found that the fraudsters employed sophisticated tactics in their operation. They used sophisticated social engineering methods to get in contact with the victims, including targeting them through dating sites, employment sites and messaging platforms before approaching them with the fraudulent investment opportunities.

The victims who fell for the scam were directed to both fraudulent, and legitimate investment applications dealing with forex trading. They were then showed manipulated market data showing false positive return on investments to encourage the victims to participate.

The AFP has now frozen AU$22.5 million held in 24 bank accounts with potential links criminal cyber scheme.

AFP’s Cybercrime Operations Eastern Command Detective Sergeant, Salam Zreika, said:

It is essential people exercise the utmost caution if cold-approached online or on the phone by people trying to sell financial or investment services. Criminals are ruthless and will stop at nothing to take your money.

Refrain from investing in foreign exchange, crypto-currency, or speculative investments with people you’ve only ever encountered in the online environment. If you are unsure, get a second opinion from a professional, in-person.

Two of the older men involved in the scheme were arrested at the airports, trying to flee Australia for Hong Kong with a one-way air ticket.

Earlier this year banned MetaQuotes from Apple Store due to concerns that fraudulent actors may be using white label trading platforms.

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