Four men and three women have been arrested and charged as part of an ongoing joint-agency investigation into alleged identity crime offences.

The Identity Security Strike Team (ISST), a multi-jurisdictional initiative between the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), investigates high level, complex identity fraud and related security matters under both Commonwealth and State legislation.

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In June 2017, the ISST commenced Operation Loa to investigate targeted mail theft, mobile telephone porting, and identity takeovers enabling large-scale fraud across Sydney.

As a result of their inquiries, investigators uncovered an organised network allegedly stealing mail, specifically targeting financial information and cards; impersonating account holders during telephone calls to gather further identity information, then purchasing goods or making cash withdrawals using the fraudulent credit cards.

Further investigations revealed the group engaged an employee of an Australian government agency, who was allegedly providing identity information accessed without authorisation, in return for cash.

The Department of Human Services has been assisting investigators with ongoing inquiries.

Following extensive investigations, ISST officers executed seven search warrants across the Sydney metropolitan area from 6am yesterday (Wednesday 29 November 2017).

Investigators seized two assault rifles, various forms of identification, fraudulently obtained credit cards, an EFTPOS terminal, stolen mail, and documentation.

Six people were arrested during the police operation and taken to local police stations.

A 27-year-old Bankstown man was charged with 13 counts of deal with identity information, three counts of fraud, possess identity information, and knowingly direct criminal group. He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today (Thursday 30 November 2017).

A 27-year-old North Rocks woman was charged with six counts of deal with identity information, deal with proceeds of crime and participate in criminal group. She was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today.

A 29-year-old Merrylands man was charged with an outstanding warrant for an unrelated matter, possess prohibited drug, and possess identity information. He was refused bail to appear at Fairfield Local Court today.

A 34-year-old Blacktown woman was charged with bribery of a commonwealth public official – receiving a bribe, and participate in a criminal group. She was granted conditional bail to appear at Blacktown Local Court on 9 January 2018.

A 48-year-old Rosehill man was charged with deal with proceeds of crime, fraud, and participate in criminal group. He was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today.

A 58-year-old Guildford woman was charged with deal with identity crime and participate in criminal group. She was refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court today.

Police will allege in court the syndicate were dealing in identity information to fraudulently obtain cash and goods.

A 39-year-old North Rocks man was also arrested during the operation and charged with an unrelated offence of possess or use a prohibited weapon without a permit. He was granted conditional bail to appear at Muswellbrook Local Court Tuesday 5 December 2017.

The offence of deal with identification information carries a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.

Investigations under Operation Loa are continuing and further charges are expected.

The ISST urge anyone with information about identity fraud to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

Source: Australia Federal Police (AFP) The material contained on this site constitutes Commonwealth copyright and is intended for your general information.