A fraud investigation termed 'Operation Quebec Walnut' by the authority's State Crime Command, ends with findings that the suspects have duped up-to 100 Australians with over A$2.7 Million (worth around US1.83 Million) who were tricked to invest in a project that never existed while they believe was generating huge profit.
According to the report, beginning from 2017 the victims were persuaded to invest cryptocurrencies in Exmount Holdings Group which seemed legitimate with "a website, call centre (with 1300 telephone numbers), and sales staff."
The suspects reportedly included other companies with link to their websites including, “Exmount Holdings Ltd”, “The Quid Pro Quo Foundation”, “The Atlas Group”, “AFG Associates Pty Ltd”, “tradex123”, “exmounttrading”, “atlasfxgroup” and “amazonqus”.
Victims were then lured with a trial investment, promising significant returns once they invest more funds. Victims were then provided with unique log-in details on the website where they could monitor the growth of their initial investment during the trial period.
However, victims could not withdraw their capital when they attempted to. Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence of the Financial and Cyber Crime Group, said:
“When victims attempted to withdraw their capital, they could not. Their money had gone and any attempt they made to contact one of the companies or their staff was unsuccessful,”
The five individuals from Australia’s Gold Coast have now been charged with fraud and money laundering and will separately appear before a magistrates court on 9 August, 22 August and 5 November.
The authority is also interested to hear from anyone who may have fallen victim to this fraud or have any information about the fraud.
Det. Sup. Lawrence warned the public to “be wary of any unsolicited telephone calls or emails offering investment opportunities and seek independent advice from friends, family or financial advisors,”