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The Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) have jointly investigated and jailed four Chinese nationals for $137 million in fraud, including money laundering and labor exploitation.
The Australian task force conducted Operation Underpitch with ABF and SFCT joint forces. As a result of this operation, they arrested four Chinese nationals and fined them for their criminal activities. This is not the first time Chinese have been sentenced and fined for illegal activities as well as allegedly laundering money to pay immigrants. A 22-year-old criminal got 12 months, a 27-year-old criminal received 15 months of improvement earlier this year, and in October 2022, a 30-year-old was sentenced to 3 years and 2 months for their role in the criminal activity.
The coordinated investigation also carried out the warrant of the ACT premise and discovered 12 Chinese, including 10 legal citizens and 2 illegal non-citizens. They also found evidence of counterfeit identity as well as financial documents that indicated they were involved in unlawful employment of non-citizens, and they paid in cash to avoid the superannuation, which exploited the policies of the PAYG tax.
Penny Spies, ABF commander of the investigation, stated that this operation warned criminals that forces would work together to crack down on all illegal activity. He added, “Dishonest employers in the construction industry often pay workers in cash, meaning employees miss out on entitlements including superannuation. All workers deserve fair pay and fair treatment. Criminals who want to profit by engaging in visa and migration fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, and foreign worker exploitation are firmly in our sights.”
The ATO deputy commissioner and SFCT chief John Ford also stated, “Financial criminals are often complicit in larger illegal schemes. These criminals are motivated by financial gain, and their activities rob the Australian public of revenue to support essential services such as health and education ill work together on operational activity that will ultimately bring criminals to account.”