This week, a UK couple was jailed for money laundering offences related to defrauding a local council; Australian authorities seized a record cash haul in a sting on a money laundering syndicate; and the UK and US governments co-launched a technology innovation initiative to fight financial crime.
Find out more on these stories below.
Married UK couple jailed for money laundering related to mother’s fake claims
A judge at the St Albans Crown court earlier this week sentenced the Hertfordshire couple, Laura Borrell, and her husband Philip Borrell, to immediate custodial sentences for their participation in a scheme which defrauded Hertfordshire Council of over £600,000.
Earlier this year Ms Borrell’s mother, Frances Noble was sentenced for defrauding the Hertfordshire County Council of nearly £625k between early 2007 and late 2018 by claiming care allowances for a fake neurological condition which left her ‘bedbound and unable to feed herself’.
The three plundered the income for over a decade to sponsor trips to the US and Canada, and the ruse was sustained by Noble who forged emails from non-existent carers to council officials confirming her ongoing treatment. The scam was rumbled when Noble’s suspicious neighbours reported her to authorities after seeing her ‘mobile’, and an investigation started in 2018.
Laura Borrell will serve three years and nine months in prison, and her husband four years and three months. Noble, who now resides in Germany, awaits extradition to hear her sentence, and a Proceeds of Crime hearing to recover the funds is pending.
In 2017 Noble’s daughter Laura Borrell and her husband both appeared on ITV’s ‘This Morning’ programme during which Mrs Borrell, then 39, lamented her early-onset frontotemporal dementia. Her mother started a GoFundMe campaign for her daughter and son-in-law to take the ‘trip of a lifetime’ before Laura’s dementia became too advanced.
Read more on this story at BBC.
Australian police seize record AUS$ 8m from money laundering gang in Sydney sting operation
NSW police arrested by four people in relation to an alleged international money laundering scheme earlier this week.
Police in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, made a record cash haul of over AUS8m as the result of a sting operation targeting an alleged international money laundering syndicate based in the suburb of Rhodes in Sydney.
AUS$3.1m was retrieved from an apartment, another AUS$3.1m from a related vehicle, and four suspects were arrested. Further raids in the suburbs of Campsie and Burwood yielded another AUS$8m in cash.
The investigation centred on an alleged member of the gang, with possible links to Hong Kong syndicates. The suspect had been barred from Sydney’s Star casino, which he allegedly frequented to launder funds through gambling.
Commenting on the operation’s success, NSW Police State Crime Commander Stuart Smith stated that “in terms of organised crime, we've obviously set a new record for a singular seizure of $7.8 million."
Read more on this story at Triple M.
UK & US governments launch innovation competition to develop technologies to fight financial crime
This week US and UK governments launched an innovation competition aimed at developing new technologies to aid the fight against financial crime.
The UK Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) and their US counterparts at the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP) launched the joint initiative on 21 July 2022. The competition offers cash prizes totalling £1.6m to innovators for developing privacy enhancing technologies (PETs), which are “any technical method that protects the privacy or confidentiality of sensitive information… [covering] a range of technologies, from relatively simple ad-blocking browser extensions to the Tor network for anonymous communication.”
The competition allows innovators to follow one of two tracks:
The first track is aimed at ‘transforming financial crime prevention’ and asks competitors to develop PETs which fight money laundering by detecting transactional anomalies without unduly violating the privacy of consumers.
The second track is aimed at ‘bolstering pandemic response capabilities’ and asks competitors to develop PETs which in future health crises will develop models which can predict individual consumers’ likely risk of infection, again without encroaching unnecessarily on their privacy.
The winning entries will be showcased at US President Joe Biden’s second Summit for Democracy, slated for early 2023. 2022 is the Year of Action stemming from the first Summit, during which the US is “[working] with partners to advance the commitments they made to one another to strengthen democracy, promote respect for human rights, and counter corruption and authoritarianism.”
Read more on this story at UK Authority.
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