Wannabe accountant caught in phishing scam

 

An immigrant who hopes to become an accountant has received a two-month jail sentence for a "sophisticated'' phishing scam targeting a Sunshine Coast family company.

Holland Park Magistrate Simon Young said the masterminds of such schemes were rarely caught.

Instead they deliberately chose front people, otherwise of good character, to take the fall for them.

"This type of cyber fraud is insidious,'' Mr Young said.

The court heard Guntaj Singh Brar, 26, shuffled a total of $7500 through two bank accounts and then withdrew the money, apparently to try to avoid detection.

Police prosecutor Lauren Archer said an unidentified person emailed fake invoices to Coolum-based Transportable Shade Sheds (TSS) on March 20 and 26, totalling $7500.

 

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They purported to be from a marketing company used by TSS and were very similar in design to those used by the marketing company.

Ms Archer said after complaints by TSS to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, NAB bank produced records of Brar's account showing deposits of $5000 and $2500 on those dates.

Bank records also showed the money being transferred on the same days to a Commonwealth Bank account in Brar's name, she said.

Some of the money was then withdrawn as cash and some of the deposits were used to buy goods in the Runcorn area, Ms Archer said.

She told the court that when police turned up to Brar's house to interview him he gave inconsistent versions, including giving money to an unknown friend in India, before admitting to making the bank transfers and withdrawals.

Brar's lawyer, Justin Craven, said his client had emigrated to Australia in 2015 and had no criminal record.

He was a hard working man who held multiple jobs including as a pizza company worker, Woolworths driver and cleaner and had ambitions of completing an accountancy course.

Mr Craven tendered a bank cheque to the court made out for the majority of the stolen money, which he said demonstrated the level of Brar's remorse.

He asked for a probation order and no conviction as Brar wished to move to Canada.

But Mr Young said he was not persuaded by that argument and recorded a conviction for the single charge of fraud.

"Your actions were relatively sophisticated. There were two bank accounts and I conclude this was an attempt to delay or defeat tracking of the funds,'' he told Brar.

He imposed a two-month prison sentence, to be suspended for 12 months.

 

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Originally published as Wannabe accountant caught in phishing scam