Three men and one woman were charged yesterday by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) with fraud and money laundering offences following an 18-month major crime investigation into the activities of a Brisbane-based law firm.
The major crime investigation, codenamed Operation Mercury, involved a number of search warrants executed at two Brisbane-based law firms and a number of business premises and private dwellings in Brisbane and the Gold Coast throughout the 18-month investigation.
It will be alleged the four people charged yesterday were involved in serious fraud offences against a number of financial institutions. It will also be alleged those charged yesterday laundered the proceeds of serious criminal offences.
A 45-year-old Helensvale man has been served with a Notice to Appear in court to face five counts of aggravated fraud, 89 counts of fraud, seven counts of fraudulent falsification of records and six counts of money laundering. This man is currently before the courts for a separate count of money laundering relating to the seizure of $97,000 in cash on 24 February 2020.
A 37-year-old Helensvale woman has been served with a Notice to Appear in court to face one count of aggravated fraud, 76 counts of fraud, three counts of fraudulent falsification of records and three counts of money laundering.
A 36-year-old Helensvale man has been served with a Notice to Appear in court to face 12 counts of fraud, two counts of fraudulent falsification of records, one count of money laundering and one count of perjury.
A 42-year-old Ascot man has been served with a Notice to Appear in court to face six counts of aggravated fraud, 77 counts of fraud, seven counts of fraudulent falsification of records and seven counts of money laundering. This man was previously charged in relation to one count of money laundering relating to the seizure of $97,000 in cash on 24 February 2020 and was also charged in September 2020 with 12 counts of supplying a dangerous drug.
All four people charged yesterday are expected to appear before the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 11 January 2021.
Previously a 25-year-old Norman Park man and a 42-year-old Narangba man were each charged with one count of supplying a dangerous drug on 18 September 2020 that was related to this operation. These matters remain before the court.
The CCC expects further charges to result from Operation Mercury.
CCC Chairperson Alan MacSporran QC said the scale of the alleged offending identified during Operation Mercury demonstrates why the CCC has a continued focus on the enablers of major and organised crime.
“The CCC has an investigative focus on not just those who directly engage in major crime, but those individuals and groups of people who facilitate and enable it. Sophisticated business models, specialised systems and expertise are needed for organised crime groups to operate effectively. It is disappointing and concerning some of the allegations relate to the legal profession,” Mr MacSporran said.
“The CCC will continue to direct its efforts on the systems and expertise that enable criminal networks to build and thrive by targeting those that enable and support serious criminal offending, and to make Queensland a hostile place to engage in crime for profit and to accumulate criminal wealth.”
As these matters are now before the court and the investigation remains ongoing, the CCC will not be commenting further.
The CCC is an independent agency combating major crime and reducing corruption for the benefit of the Queensland community.