The police have apprehended five people on reasonable suspicion of breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), the Cyber Crimes Act, and the Larceny Act committed between February 15-25, 2022.
Evidence suggests that those arrested were able to steal just over $46 million by compromising the account of a victim who reported the matter to the police. During the operations to apprehend the individuals, several electronic devices were seized and are to be examined, the police are reporting.
The suspects were held after the Financial Investigations Division (FID), officers assigned to the Constabulary Financial Unit (CFU), members of the Counter-Terrorism & Organized Crime Investigations Branch (CTOC), and members of the St Andrew South Police Division executed strategic search operations across sections of the Corporate Area on Tuesday.
Currently in police custody are two unemployed men, ages 22 and 23, both of a Penwood Crescent address; a 25-year-old man, employed as a warehouse supervisor of a Waltham Avenue address; and two unemployed women, ages 48 and 28, both of a Caladium Crescent address.
Also arrested Tuesday on reasonable suspicion of breaches of the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provision) Act was a 21-year-old man who is employed by a well-established BPO entity.
He was allegedlyy providing shelter and privileged client information to one of the aforementioned unemployed men.
The names of the persons in custody are being withheld pending charges being laid during formal interviews in the presence of their legal representatives, which are to begin on Wednesday.
In commenting on the investigations that led to the operations and arrests, FID’s Principal Director Keith Darien noted, “The threats of identity theft and other forms of cybercrime are ever-present as greater use is made of digital platforms for everyday business transactions by individuals and businesses.
“The public can be assured that the FID is able to follow the money, identify the criminals, and successfully lead evidence-based prosecutions in the courts. We utilise the vast and effective investigative tools made available under POCA to follow fraudulent transactions and illicit financial flows.
“Our strategic, intelligence-based collaboration with partners such as CTOC and, in today’s operations, the St Andrew South police, strengthens our capacity to combat financial crime,” he said.
Tuesday’s search operations stemmed from a report made to the FID in March 2022 by a prominent, local financial institution concerning a case of unauthorized access of computer data and simple larceny on behalf of their client, who provided a statement to the police.
The victim indicated that over the period February 15-25, 2022, over 40 wire transfers were executed on his account without his knowledge. The monies were transferred to the bank accounts of over 30 individuals. Investigations revealed that most of the receiving accounts were registered to persons mainly residing in the St Andrew South Police Division.
The amounts transferred amounted to over J$46 million, with persons receiving between $950,000 to $5 million.
The evidence indicates that the victim’s account was compromised by the fraudsters who were able to change certain security credentials. This resulted in the creation of an online banking profile for the victim, which ultimately created access to his account. The account was then emptied over a 10-day period.