Sydney couple’s alleged identity fraud and cryptocurrency web unravels

The man arrested on Thursday morning.

The man arrested on Thursday morning.

Photo: NSW Police

It is understood both were from Lebanon and living in Australia on bridging visas.

The arrests came as part of an ongoing investigation by Strike Force Breakbank, which was launched in March this year, to investigate online purchases being made using stolen and fraudulently obtained credit card information.

Police will allege a number of bank accounts and 45 companies were opened using the information, in order to receive cash deposits netted from fraudulent activity and believed to be the proceeds of crime.

More than $300,000 was also said to have been transferred to digital currency and distributed into a variety of cryptocurrency accounts offshore, including bitcoin.

The man was charged with 35 fraud-related offences, six identification fraud-related offences and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.

The woman, arrested on Thursday, has been charged with 12 fraud-related offences.

The woman, arrested on Thursday, has been charged with 12 fraud-related offences.

Photo: NSW Police

He was refused bail and is due to appear at Burwood Local Court tomorrow.

The woman was charged with 12 fraud-related offences.

She was granted strict conditional bail and is due to appear at Burwood Local Court on Tuesday October 9.

A police spokeswoman said enquiries had been made with Australian Border Force in relation to the couple’s immigration status.

The ABF has been contacted for comment.

Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, said cryptocurrencies presented a significant challenge for law enforcement both here and abroad.

“The semi-anonymous and decentralised nature of many cryptocurrencies make it desirable for criminal activity, particularly for those groups who are operating offshore.”

Lucy Cormack is a crime reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.