Monday, January 11, 2010

Australian Gang Casino Cheats Using Bustouts to Launder Millions through Casinos!


Australian crime gangs mixed up in casino cheating are using pensioners and the unemployed to launder millions in dirty money through casinos, authorities believe. Centrelink has alerted organised-crime investigators to 15 clients it believes are involved. They are understood to include a Victorian man who bought almost $13 million in chips at Crown, despite being on the dole. The Australian Crime Commission is closely watching casinos after an 18-month probe. ACC chief executive John Lawler said that it had intelligence indicating organised crime groups were engaged in "high-level gambling activity" in legal casinos. Its financial assessment team matched information from casino loyalty programs with other databases, including Centrelink records. Last year, the Herald Sun revealed it had identified about 2600 Centrelink clients who each bought at least $50,000 in chips; 30 had buy-ins of more than $1 million.

Criminal groups infiltrate security:

Many were welfare cheats with gambling addictions and undeclared incomes. But further investigation revealed some had links to organised crime groups. The Herald Sun understands Centrelink referred clients with suspected organised crime links to the ACC for further inquiries. It's believed the ACC identified more suspected money launderers, independently of the welfare agency. The federal crime-fighting agency refused to comment. "The ACC will continue to work with the casino industry to ensure serious and organised criminal entities involved in money laundering are identified and pursued," Mr Lawler said. The investigation also used Immigration, Customs, and tax office data. The ACC estimates the cost of organised crime is $10 billion-15 billion a year, an estimated $6 billion of which goes offshore. Its recent report, Organised Crime in Australia, said most such groups had overseas links, good advice and "professional facilitators". Organised crime groups are typically involved in drugs, weapons trafficking and high-level financial crimes. Human Services Minister Chris Bowen said hi-tech data-matching meant that welfare recipients with illicit incomes would be discovered. "Welfare fraud is a criminal offence liable to long jail sentences," he said. "People who fraudulently claim benefits from Centrelink should consider themselves warned. It's not a question of if you'll be caught, but when." Casinos are required to turn over information to authorities under anti-money laundering laws introduced after the September 11 terrorist attacks.