Comprehensive health advisor Jamie Close and the CEO of an international investment firm Mark Estephan have been accused of using $ 2.3 million of investor funds as part of an intricate international money laundering operation.
The pair are accused of attracting investors under the guise of Estephan’s successful company, ACE Global Consultancy, which offers low-risk, high-yield investments.
Detectives tracked the money throughout a nine-month investigation and claim to have found cash transferred to accounts in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
“They were pretending to be a reputable investment company. People then looked at this and believed that it was a worthwhile investment and that their return would be worth it,” said Police Area Commander Superintendent Jason Box.
The company claimed to be an “award-winning management firm with world-class consultants” in online advertisements, and promised to connect clients with a “global network of outstanding professionals.”
At least ten investors have come forward claiming to be victims of the scam, one who lost a million dollars, according to police.
“It’s devastating for someone. It’s the hard-earned money they’ve put away to invest and try to make a profit and they’ve lost everything,” Box said.
Investigators executed search warrants at two homes in Cronulla and Kirrawee yesterday, seizing more than $ 170,000 in cash, 64 kilograms of silver bullion worth an estimated $ 55,000, and two ounces of gold bullion worth an estimated $ 5,000. .
A 49-year-old man was arrested at the Kirrawee home and charged with more than 18 crimes related to fraud, as well as two counts of personal custody property suspected of being stolen, and two counts of dealing with property derived from felonies of $ 100,000. .
A 40-year-old man was also arrested and later charged with 41 counts of providing an unregistered remittance service, dealing with property derived from crimes exceeding $ 10,000, and having property suspected of being stolen.
Both men were denied bail and appeared in court today.
Police said the crimes are a reminder to anyone planning to invest their money online.
“It’s a timely reminder for people to make sure they check the credentials of the companies they give money to online.”