Four charged in relation to importation of 2.3 tonnes of counterfeit of Australia Post pre-paid satchels

Box of counterfeit Auspost satchels

Editor's Note: Vision of the seized items available on Hightail

*Interview opportunities available on request with AFP Detective Sergeant Rob Jenner*

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have charged four members of a suspected crime syndicate for allegedly importing 2.3 tonnes of counterfeit Australia Post Express Post and Parcel Post pre-paid satchels.

On Wednesday (29 July 2020), AFP officers executed seven search warrants across Western Sydney, including Richmond, Blacktown, Rossmore, Westmead and Lethbridge Park. 

The AFP allege the Western Sydney syndicate ordered fake post packages from a Chinese company, between September 2018 and June 2019, and sold them to the public and businesses on eBay. Australia Post estimates the fraud cost the organisation approximately $2 million.

Four people have been charged for their alleged involvement in the importation and sale of the counterfeit products.

A Richmond man, 27 has been charged with:

  • Dishonesty/fraud offence committed against the Commonwealth, contrary to 135.1(3), of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 10 years' imprisonment;
  • Dealing in proceeds of crime offence, money or property worth $10,000 or more, contrary to section 400.6(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 10 years' imprisonment;
  • Import goods with false trademarks offence, contrary to section 148(1) of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 5 years' imprisonment;

A man from Rossmore, 30, has been charged with:

  • Dishonesty/fraud offence committed against the Commonwealth, contrary to 135.1(3), of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 10 years' imprisonment;
  • Dealing in proceeds of crime offence, money or property worth $100,000 or more, contrary to section 400.4(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 20 years' imprisonment;

A woman from Blacktown, 33, has been charged with:

  • Dishonesty/fraud offence committed against the Commonwealth, contrary to 135.1(3), of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 10 years' imprisonment;
  • Dealing in proceeds of crime offence, money or property worth $10,000 or more - contrary to section 400.6(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 5 years' imprisonment;
  • Import goods with false trademarks offence, contrary to section 148(1) of the Trade Marks Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 5 years' imprisonment;

A Lethbridge Park man, 27, has been charged with dealing with dealing with money reasonably suspected to the proceeds of crime less than $100,000, contrary to section 400.9(1A) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty is 2 years' imprisonment.

The AFP started Operation DVORAK in April 2019 after receiving a report from Australia Post regarding the alleged sale of counterfeit Australia Post satchels on eBay.

Australia Post experts assisted the AFP by analysing and identifying the counterfeit products seized throughout this investigation. Through the investigation, the AFP identified an alleged organised crime group operating out of Western Sydney.

AFP Detective Sergeant Robert Jenner said organised criminals used any commodity to capitalise on their greed.

The AFP is outsmarting organised syndicates every day. We are one step ahead and our message to criminals is simple; if we haven't already disrupted your planned crime, if you break the law, it is just a matter of time before we arrest and charge you.

Essentially, this crime was stealing from the taxpayer. Not only do AFP personnel go to work every day to keep Australians safe, but we also work hard to identify and charge fraudsters who are siphoning money away from Australians.

"Organised crime groups don't care who they step over in order to make money. They will sell you or your business counterfeit products that will leave you out of pocket, just so they can buy a few more flashy cars and million dollar properties," said Detective Sergeant Jenner.

Australia Post General Manager Group Security Kevin Zuccato said Australia Post initially referred this matter to the AFP and was pleased to support the subsequent successful investigation.

"We have strategies in place that proactively look at possible exploitation of our supply chain and products, and we're pleased that those strategies were effective on this occasion," said Mr Zuccato.

"Further, it's important that consumers know that the only safe place to purchase Australia Post products is from post offices, licensed post outlets and at Auspost.com.au – and not on eBay – and putting aside the fact it reduces Australia Post's income, it also means your gift, document, or card may very well not be delivered."

The three men and one woman were all granted conditional bail. The three men are due to appear in Parramatta Local Court on 2 October 2020. The woman is scheduled to appear in Blacktown Local Court on 27 August 2020.

The AFP has not ruled out further arrests, with investigations continuing. 

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