Romance scams, pricey jewellery: Hairdresser launders $100K+
A young Logan hairdresser has been sentenced for her part in laundering more than $100,000 rorted from romance and ransomware scams, buying herself expensive jewellery and airline tickets.
Bahrs Scrub woman Rebecca Quaye, 24, who moved to Australia from Ghana aged 12, pleaded guilty in Beenleigh District Court on Monday to one count of money laundering recklessly and one count of possessing tainted property.
The court heard Quaye's money laundering occurred on dates between November 3, 2017 - February 20, 2018, and involved three discrete transfers totalling nearly $250,000, although she was only liable for laundering some $115,000 of the total sum.
Quaye was not involved in any of the frauds which reaped the dirty money.
The court heard the first fraud, totalling about $45,000, occurred when a "criminal gang" sent a fraudulent invoice to a company which had purchased goods from China.
The money was transferred to an account opened in Quaye's name and from there about $37,000 was transferred to a Commonwealth Bank account in another name, while about $2400 was withdrawn from ATMs in Ghana.
The second fraud, which occurred in early February 2018, was a "romance scam" perpetrated against a New South Wales man in his early eighties, reaped $50,000, which was transferred to Quaye's account.
The court heard Quaye spent about $1000 on jewellery at a Prouds the Jewellers outlet, purchased airline tickets, withdrew $1000 cash for herself, and attempted to transfer $24,000 to other accounts using WorldRemit, although these transactions bounced.
The final fraud, which also occurred in early February 2018, netted $150,000 from a ransomware scam against a company which obtained their bank account details.
This money was also transferred to Quaye and she made purchases at Amart Furniture and Sanity among others, disposing of about $22,000 in total.
A search warrant was executed at Quaye's residence on February 19, 2018, which uncovered multiple gold rings, watches, necklaces and items of clothing.
The court heard Quaye made full admissions to police and was co-operative with their inquiries.
Defence counsel Justin Thomas told the court his client's "need to please others" led her to co-operate in the sinister scams without asking questions.
Judge Craig Chowdhury took a dim view of Quaye's actions.
"Anyone with any common sense would have known the transactions were fraudulent," he said.
Quaye was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment wholly suspended for 18 months, in light of her youth and lack of criminal history.
Convictions were automatically recorded.
Originally published as Romance scams, pricey jewellery: Hairdresser launders $100K+