Police bust Australian money mule in term deposit scam

Police have secured the upper hand over an alleged scammer’s bid to dupe Kiwis out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now, Police are urging victims to act quickly if they suspect they have been the victim of a scam for the best chance of having their funds recovered.

Auckland City CIB’s Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Bolton says, for one Gore victim, their swift actions have led to more than just having their funds back safe in the bank.

“In early June, Police received a report of what was believed to be a fraudulent transaction being made from a bank involved.

“The victim reported the matter on Monday 3 June after his bank contacted him with concerns about a payment he had made into another New Zealand account.”

The transaction was for $40,000.

“Following information received from this victim, Police making enquiries into the scam identified a man believed to be involved,” Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton says.

“The 30-year-old Australian citizen visiting Auckland Central was arrested earlier this month and has since been charged with four counts of engaging in money laundering.

“The man has been remanded in custody and is next due to reappear on 6 August 2024.

“These charges relate to two victims at opposite ends of the country.”

While this is a great result, unfortunately, the reality of these types of damaging scams has seen the other Auckland-based victim of the same alleged offender $150,000 out of pocket.

“It is absolutely devastating for those who are losing money in such huge quantities like this,” Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton says.

“Police will always do everything we can to try and recover the funds, including working with banks, however this does demonstrate some of the complexities we face.”

It is alleged both of these victims have been impacted by the ‘term deposit scam’, which Police recently warned has re-emerged.

Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton says prevention will always be the best way to stop an offender in their tracks.

“We are again urging the public to please consider the following advice if you are considering placing your money into a term deposit scheme.”

/NZ Police Public Release. View in full here.