The Australian authorities on Thursday nabbed a 52-year-old woman who is accused of laundering over AUD$5 million (appr $3.2 million) through the exchange of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
According to a Friday report by a local news outlet, the woman was taken into custody after being apprehended by the police at a shopping center around noon yesterday.
The police had caught her with AUD$60,000 cash and an extra 3.8 Bitcoin that is worth around AUD$56,000 in her bag, which was confiscated immediately.
After conducting a search, the police also confiscated digital wallets, electronic storage devices, and additional Bitcoin worth AUD$18,200 that was stored in a unit at Hurstville.
The first of its kind
The 52-year-old woman was reportedly running an unregistered digital currency exchange in New South Wales, which the police had started investigating on around November 2018.
Speaking on the case, Matt Craft, Detective Superintendent of the Australian Cybercrime Squad acknowledged that this was the first successful cybercrime case involving unregistered digital currency exchanges in New South Wales that the squad has managed to arrest.
He also noted that criminals are turning to digital currencies in order to carry out their illegal activities, including cybercrimes, funding terrorism, and money laundering, however, he stated that “cash is still king.”
The Detective added, “It is concerning that when this kind of online exchange goes unregulated, it can allow criminals to move currency and launder funds seemingly undetected.”
Craft further revealed that the woman had split the money she laundered into very small amounts and had deposited them into several other bank accounts in a bid to avoid arousing the suspicion of regulatory agencies.
On this note, he had issued a warning to criminals. “Just because you behave in a certain way does not mean you won’t be detected,” Detective Craft said.
Although the woman has been released on bail, she was charged with three counts of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime and breaching digital currency exchange service requirements. She is set to appear before the Burwood Local Court on 20th July.
In a similar development, a New Jersey resident, William Green was indicted for operating an unregistered Bitcoin exchange which he used to convert more than $2 million into Bitcoin.