An Australian woman has been charged by New South Wales State Police for unlawfully exchanging millions of dollars-worth of cryptocurrency including bitcoin.
As reported by 9News Australia, detectives from the New South Wales (NSW) Cybercrime Squad charged the unnamed woman after conducting a search of her car outside a shopping center in Burwood, Sydney, on Thursday and discovering AU$60,000 (US$38,736) in cash and 3.8 bitcoin on a hard wallet device.
The chief of the Cybercrime Squad, Detective Superintendent Matt Craft, said it was the first arrest by the team relating to “non-compliant digital currency providers” in the state, and may be the first of its kind in Australia, as per the report.
“This will be the first of many arrests I believe we will make over the coming years and you’re being put on notice,” Craft said, presumably addressing others conducting unlawful cryptocurrency sales.
The arrest followed a string of enquiries made by the cybercrime unit’s Strike Force Kerriwah, which was set up in late 2018 to investigate online money-laundering operations in NSW. The woman, in her 50s, is believed to be involved in a crypto money-laundering syndicate, according to the report.
Investigators with the strike force also seized cryptocurrency wallets with a further AU$18,200 (US$11,749) in bitcoin along with digital storage devices, computers and mobile phones while searching a residential property in Hurtsville, also in Sydney, just after the woman was arrested.
The investigation was in collaboration with AUSTRAC (Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC).
The woman has been charged with three counts of knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime and breaching requirement relating to digital currency exchange services. Police said it will be alleged in court the woman has transacted bitcoin valued at more than AU$5 million (US$3.22 million) since 2017.
Amendments to the country’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act (2006) were introduced in April 2018. These expanded the purview of the act to include the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges.