Operation Aristotle unearth $ 8.5 million worth of ill gotten assets


A successful multi agency investigation named Operation Aristotle resulted in the restraint of $8.5 million worth of assets alleged to have been derived from the proceeds of crime. Assets included bank accounts, a 2014 Ferrari and six properties in the Melbourne suburbs of Balwyn, Lalor, Epping, Preston and Tarneit.

The multi agency investigation team included Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Border Force (ABF) the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and Australia Post. Police have also seized a number of luxury items, including a 2015 Range Rover, multiple expensive watches and jewellery, and $180, 000 in cash. Three men were charged for their involvement in fraud scheme which defrauded individuals and government agencies. Since the nature of business did not involve any imports, no Sydney customs broker is associated with this crime.

Investigation was initiated on the basis of information regarding the validity of National Police Check (NPC) certificates. It was found that NPC certificates were falsified and identified a 34-year-old Balwyn man, and a 37-year-old Epping man as responsible for the fraud.

In a joint operation AFP, ABF and ASQA executed thirty search warrants in Melbourne suburbs of Balwyn, Epping, Reservoir, Footscray, Tarneit, Bentleigh East, Hoppers Crossing, Airport West, Thomastown, Whittlesthea, and the city. End result was the arrest of the two co-directors, along with a 42-year-old Tarneit man. These three are charged for cheating international and domestic students. Creating fraudulent documents, students were enrolled for training and later failed to provide appropriate education.

According to rough estimates, the two providers have charged over $9 million in fees from international students. They have also fraudulently claimed approximately $2 million in government funding.

The 34-year-old Balwyn man and the 37-year-old Epping man were charged for conspiring to dishonestly obtain a gain from the Commonwealth of Australia, Conspire to dishonestly influence an officer of the Australian Skills Quality Authority in the exercise of their official duties. Provide false documents, dishonestly falsifying a document and dealing with proceeds of crime worth more than $100,000.

The 42-year-old Tarneit man is charged for dishonestly obtain a gain from the Commonwealth of Australia, conspire to dishonestly influence an officer, two counts of providing false documents and dealing with proceeds of crime worth more than $100,000.