CCC charges four after 18-month law firms probe

The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has charged four people with a swag of serious offences in the wake of an 18-month investigation – dubbed Operation Mercury – into two Brisbane-based law firms.

The CCC today released a statement revealing that three men and one woman had been charged with offences including money laundering.

The CCC’s investigation involved the execution of numerous search warrants on the two law firms, along with business premises and private dwellings in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

“It will be alleged the four people charged yesterday were involved in serious fraud offences against a number of financial institutions,” the statement said. “It will also be alleged those charged … laundered the proceeds of serious criminal offences.”

Those charged are:

  • A 45-year-old Helensvale man, who has been served with a notice to front court on five counts of aggravated fraud, 89 counts of fraud, seven counts of fraudulent falsification of records and six counts of money laundering. He also has a separate matter already before the courts in regards to a charge of money laundering relating to the seizure of $97,000 in cash on 24 February 2020.
  • A 37-year-old Helensvale woman, who has been charged with one count of aggravated fraud, 76 counts of fraud, three counts of fraudulent falsification of records and three counts of money laundering.
  • A 36-year-old Helensvale man, who is charged with 12 counts of fraud, two counts of fraudulent falsification of records, one count of money laundering and one count of perjury.
  • A 42-year-old Brisbane solicitor, from Ascot, who has been served with a notice to appear in court to face six counts of aggravated fraud, 77 counts of fraud, seven counts of fraudulent falsification of records and seven counts of money laundering. This man was previously charged in relation to one count of money laundering relating to the seizure of $97,000 in cash on 24 February 2020, and was also charged in September 2020 with 12 counts of supplying a dangerous drug.

All four are expected to appear before the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 11 January 2021.

Previously, in related matters, a 25-year-old Norman Park man and a 42-year-old Narangba man were each charged with one count of supplying a dangerous drug on 18 September 2020. These matters remain before the court.

The CCC said it expected further charges would be laid as a result of Operation Mercury.

CCC Chair Alan MacSporran QC said the scale of the alleged offending identified demonstrated why the CCC had continued to focus on the enablers of major and organised crime.

“The CCC has an investigative focus on not just those who directly engage in major crime, but those individuals and groups of people who facilitate and enable it,” Mr MacSporran said.

“Sophisticated business models, specialised systems and expertise are needed for organised crime groups to operate effectively. It is disappointing and concerning some of the allegations relate to the legal profession.

“The CCC will continue to direct its efforts on the systems and expertise that enable criminal networks to build and thrive by targeting those that enable and support serious criminal offending, and to make Queensland a hostile place to engage in crime for profit and to accumulate criminal wealth.”

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