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A 22-year old Dutch national has been arrested by Australian Police for being a money mule in a money-laundering network suspected of laundering up to $3.5 million worth of money stolen from Australian bank accounts.
Australian Federal Police started a series of investigations after malware was discovered targeting the account holder of the banks in Australia. The police suspect a cybercrime syndicate is a source of the malware which has been utilized in gaining bank account details from the victim and using the details to steal funds. A money mule network is being used by the syndicate to transfer money overseas.
According to a report by Police, allegedly, an amount of 3.5 million USD has been stolen and laundered by the money mule network. However, the number of funds stolen internationally is yet to be figured.
The banks have been involved in helping the police to identify the victims and to find any connection with the money mule network. A trail from one victim has been traced back to the account of a 22-year-old Dutch national who the police believe to be a member of the money mule network.
AFP Commander Cybercrime Operations Chris Goldsmid said, “As we believe happened in this investigation, you just might be helping a cybercrime syndicate steal thousands of dollars from honest everyday Australians. Further, you face the possibility of being prosecuted and imprisoned for dealing in proceeds of crime. An Australian victim of this malware reported a loss of $40,000 from their bank account. For many Australians, this represents years upon years of savings.”
After the investigation, it was discovered that the 22-year-old has $18,000 amount of stolen money transferred in his account. He is believed to have taken a commission of 5% before withdrawing the cash. He later converted the cash to bitcoin and then transferred it out of the country.