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This article was published on November 12, 2019

Aussie ‘E-Crime Squad’ arrests crypto exchange owner, seizing his Bitcoin ATM

Aussie ‘E-Crime Squad’ arrests crypto exchange owner, seizing his Bitcoin ATM
Yessi Bello Perez
Story by

Yessi Bello Perez

Former Senior Writer, Growth Quarters

Australian detectives have arrested a 38-year-old man as part of an investigation into an unregistered cryptocurrency exchange.

The man, a resident in Cairnlea — a Melbourne suburb — was arrested at home, where police seized “a substantial amount of cash and false identification documents.”

Authorities also seized a cryptocurrency ATM from a shopping mall in nearby Braybrook, which according to Google Maps is approximately 8 kilometres away from Cairnlea.

The investigation began in June after the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), a government financial intelligence agency tasked with monitoring transactions, provided intelligence regarding reports of scam activity linked to the ATM.

It seems the man had been using the ATM to provide an unregistered cryptocurrency exchange service and continued to do so even after the AUSTRAC handed him with a cease and desist notice on November 1, 2018.

It’s likely that Australian law enforcement is well versed with cryptocurrency scams.

In fact, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in August that victims in the country lost a record  $14.76 million to cryptocurrency investment scams between January and July this year.

The same month, Australian police charged five individuals in connection with a protracted cold call cryptocurrency investment scam that tricked more than 100 victims into losing $2.7 million.

In July, an Australian couple made headlines after they reportedly lost $900,000 to an elaborate scam.

Potentially spurred on by the ongoing narrative about digital currencies and illicit behaviour, Australia is reportedly scrutinizing Facebook over its ‘cryptocurrency‘ plans.

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