#romancescams | Caddens men arrested as part of money laundering scam

Police speak to one of the arrested men at Caddens. Photo: NSW Police Force.

Two men have been arrested at Caddens as part of an investigation into a massive money laundering and cyber scam operation.

In total, detectives have charged six men across Sydney with a total of 49 offences as part of the ongoing investigation into the $6 million operation.

In March 2020, detectives from Nepean Police Area Command, assisted by the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad, established Strike Force Cocci to investigate a criminal syndicate involved in fraudulent activities across the country, including business email compromises, romance scams and laundering of funds obtained.

Strike force detectives, with assistance of local officers from Northern Beaches, Blacktown and Liverpool, executed five search warrants at homes across Sydney this week.

During the searches, detectives seized clothing, mobile phones, computers, electronic storage devices, documentation, a replica pistol and prohibited drugs.

Police take a man into custody at Caddens. Photo: NSW Police Force.

All items will undergo forensic examination.

Just after 7.30am on Monday, a 35-year-old man was arrested at a unit on Renwick Street, Leichhardt. He was taken to Newtown Police Station and charged with 14 counts of ‘recklessly deal with proceeds of crime’ and ‘participate in criminal group to criminal activity’.

The man was refused bail and appeared at Newtown Local Court, where he was formally refused bail to reappear before the same court on Monday, July 20.

Two 26-year-old men were arrested at Caddens about 7am yesterday, and taken to Penrith Police Station.

One of the men was charged with seven counts of ‘recklessly deal with proceeds of crime’, ‘not keep firearm safely’, ‘possess unregistered firearm’, ‘possess unauthorised pistol’ and ‘participate criminal group contribute criminal activity’.

He was refused bail to appear before Penrith Local Court today.

Police arrest a man at Caddens. Photo: NSW Police Force.

The other man was charged with ‘participate criminal group contribute criminal activity’ and seven counts of ‘recklessly deal with proceeds of crime’.

He was granted conditional bail to appear before Penrith Local Court on Monday, August 17.

Later that day, a further two men – aged 27 and 28 – were arrested at a home at Dee Why about 7.20am and taken to Manly Police Station, where they were both charged.

About 7.30am today, a 34-year-old man was arrested at a unit at Liverpool and taken to Liverpool Police Station. He was also charged.

Police will allege in court that the syndicate dealt with over $6 million, obtained unlawfully from Australian busineses through business email compromise scams and online romance scams between April 2019 to February 2020.

It will be alleged that altered invoices were sent to legitimate businesses for payment through an email scam, before the funds were transferred into personal accounts.

Further funds were allegedly obtained online through fake dating profiles and accounts, where the alleged scammer posed as a romantic prospect.

Investigations under Strike Force Cocci are continuing.

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