Australian Police Track Down Luxury Items Linked to Bitcoin Millionaire’s Girlfriend
An Australian businessman accused of money laundering is about to lose pretty much everything. Apparently, his girlfriends will be on the hook for his crimes as well.
According to the Brisbane Courier Mail, police officers are in the process of seizing luxury cars belonging to two models following their links to Benjamin Thomas Nelson, a businessman convicted of financial crimes.
Cars, Houses, and Bank Accounts
Citing Sharon Raabe, the director of the proceeds of crime division at the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), the report explained that Nelson had showered two of his girlfriends with lavish gifts, most of which he bankrolled using proceeds he got from his crimes.
The report cites a pink Lamborghini Huracan that the businessman-turned-criminal got for his girlfriend – Kaori Celine Nakase, a 24-year-old former barmaid.
The Lamborghini is estimated to have cost Nelson $490,292 ($AUD 637,800).
Police are also going after a four-bedroom house in the Gold Coast Region, an exclusive beach resort in Queensland. British tabloid The Daily Mail reported that the house was worth $745,000, and the couple had paid for it outright using a “deliberately complex series of transactions to avoid detection.”
Nelson also had romantic ties with Tori Maddison Preiss, a 25-year-old Instagram model, whom he gifted an Audi A5 Cabriolet – worth about $77,000.
Along with the vehicle, police authorities have seized four bank accounts in Preiss’s name. One of the accounts had a $100,000 deposit, while the other had $220,000 transferred from a Bitcoin account.
Nelson had reportedly been jailed for bitcoin money laundering and drug trafficking crimes. While operating, he amassed a fortune worth about $10 million. Beyond his desire for generosity – and whatever he could have been benefiting from his relationships – he was also reportedly scared of showing up on the police’s radar. So, he registered his prized possessions—like his cars, in his girlfriends’ names.
Justice Doesn’t Sleep
Criminal prosecutions are already picking up steam in 2021, with authorities staying ever vigilant against bad actors. Last week, the Justice Department sentenced Rossen Iossifov, the owner of the RG Coins crypto exchange, to a decade in prison on money laundering crimes.
Last year, Iossifoiv and several other principal officers at his company were found to have partaken in a conspiracy to commit money laundering and racketeering.
The Justice Department’s announcement claimed that they had conspired to defraud at least 900 Americans to the tune of about $7 million.
As part of the scam, the co-conspirators would advertise nonexistent luxury items on retail sites like eBay and Craigslist. Most of the funds they got were routed via the exchange and sent to criminal organizations.
Iossifov himself also laundered money for the AOAF, a known Eastern European cybercrime syndicate.
He reportedly allowed $5 million in dirty money pass through his exchange, while failing to mandate Know-Your-Customer (KYC) compliance measures on the platform. The convicted Bulgarian also reportedly earned $184,000 from the proceeds of these money laundering transactions.
Of the 20 principal actors of the RG Coins money laundering scheme, 17 have so far been convicted. Iossifov’s prison term is the longest of the seven people sentenced thus far. Authorities are still on the hunt for the three fugitives at large.
As a federal prisoner in the U.S., Iossifov will have to serve at least 85% of his 121-month prison sentence.