Five arrested over alleged $2.7m cold call scam

 

FIVE people have been charged as part of an alleged criminal syndicate running a cryptocurrency scam worth $2.7 million.

Police allege the three men and two women, arrested in May and August, operated a number of businesses selling investments in cryptocurrency on the Gold Coast.

Three Gold Coast men aged 56, 44 and 33 and two women aged 28 and 21 have been charged with fraud and money laundering.

The group are alleged to have been participants in a criminal organisation.

The 56-year-old man has also been charged with two counts of unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

From 2017, victims were contacted to invest in Exmount Holdings Group - a company which appeared legitimate and had a website, call centre and sales staff, police said.

It will be alleged the victims were offered a trial investment and promised generous returns once they invested more funds.

Online they could watch their initial investment grow via a unique log-in, police said.

The State Crime Command's Financial and Cyber Crime Group Detective Superintendent Terry Lawrence said the investors were then unable to withdraw their earnings.

"Their money had gone and any attempt they made to contact one of the companies or their staff was unsuccessful," he said.

It was unclear how many investors were victims.

Detectives from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group executed a number of search warrants across the region as part of the investigation.

The arrests follow a lengthy cold-call investigation by police, known as Operation Quebec Walnut.

The group are due to appear before Southport Magistrates Court starting tomorrow.

Police will allege there were a number of companies allegedly attached to the scam: "Exmount Holdings Ltd", "The Quid Pro Quo Foundation", "The Atlas Group", "AFG Associated Pty Ltd", "tradex123", "exmounttradings", "atlasfxground" and "amazonqus".

Millions are investing in cryptocurrency. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING
Millions are investing in cryptocurrency. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING

Detective Lawrence said police are continuing their probe and called for other victims to come forward.

"While these arrests are significant and a step forward in a complex and protracted investigation, we are continuing to conduct inquiries," Detective Lawrence said.

"We would like to speak with anyone who feels they may have fallen victim to this criminal activity or may have information that could assist our inquiries.

"We ask the community to remain resilient against this type of offending."

He urged residents to be extremely careful with their money.

"Ask yourself if you are in control of these transactions, be wary of any unsolicited telephone calls or emails offering investment opportunities and seek independent advice from friends, family or financial advisers," Detective Lawrence said.

If you have information contact Policelink on 131 444.