Four people have been arrested during raids on six Sydney properties as part of a joint agency investigation into alleged identity crime offences.
The Identity Security Strike Team (ISST) is a joint agency strike force into serious and organised identity crime and comprises the NSW Police Force, the Australian Federal Police, and the Australian Border Force.
The ISST established Operation Drax earlier this year to investigate the manufacture and use of false identity documents in NSW.
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It will be alleged in court that fraudulent identity documents, including high quality drivers’ licences, were being made to order for use in other crimes.
About 6am on Thursday 17 December, officers executed search warrants on six properties in the Sydney suburbs of Campsie, Carlton, Waterloo, Homebush West and Parramatta.
Police seized a large number of items, including computers, hard drives, mobile phones, along with bank documents, drivers’ licences and items used in their production.
Police also seized prohibited drugs, a large quantity of cash and further identification documents.
Four men, aged 50, 44, 33 and 37, were arrested and taken to various police stations.
The 50-year-old man Campsie man was charged with possession of equipment to make false document. He was given bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Tuesday 12 January 2016.
The 44-year-old Carlton man was charged with possession of equipment to make a false document and possess prohibited drug. He was given bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court on Thursday 14 January 2016.
The 33-year-old Homebush West man was charged with five counts of deal with identity information and was bailed to appear at Burwood Local Court on Tuesday 19 January 2016.
The 37-year-old, also from Homebush West, was charged with five counts of deal with identity information and was given bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Tuesday 19 January 2016.
A 51-year-old female Chinese national from Carlton was detained by the ABF as an illegal immigrant and later transferred to Villawood Immigration Detention Facility, pending her removal from Australia.
Commander of the NSW Police Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, said the arrests were the culmination of months of outstanding police work by the ISST.
“This is a great example of how law enforcement agencies collaborate to combat identity crime which can result in substantial financial and emotional distress for individual victims,” Det Supt Katsogiannis said.
“Identity crime is ever advancing and poses one of the greatest challenges to modern day policing.”
AFP Manager Criminal Assets, Fraud and Anti-Corruption, Commander Peter Crozier agreed that the impacts of identity crime are significant and far reaching.
“Law enforcement agencies across Australia will continue to work closely with one another and the community to ensure that offenders are uncovered and brought to account for their actions,” Commander Crozier said.
“Identity crime impacts on each and every one of us in society, on our economy and on our national security, and acts as a facilitator for transnational and serious crime.”
ABF Acting Assistant Commissioner, David Nockels, said the ABF is committed to continuing working with its law enforcement partners to combat the serious threat posed by identity crime.
“This type of criminal activity often involves international criminal networks targeting the Australian community, so it is imperative we take decisive action, either at our border entry points or within Australia,” he said.