Brazilian Man Hides $1m of Criminal Proceeds In Multiple Aussie Casinos
- Brazilian man uses education business to hide $1 million
- Money stored in multiple Aussie casinos
- Sentenced reduced from 25 years to 6 years
On 16 February, a Brazilian man pleaded guilty in Australia’s Brisbane Supreme Court for dealing in criminal proceeds to the tune of $1 million.
Andre Gimenez Barbosa had deposited the cash through ‘front money accounts’ in several of Australia’s casinos such as the Star Casino in Sydney and Gold Coast. Barbosa, 36, will serve a six-year sentence in prison and will be eligible for parole after one year.
Education Business Used as Decoy for Remittance Operations
Barbosa, originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil was arrested on 11 December 2018, after the Australian Federal Police (AFP) had issued a search warrant for him. The AFP had been following Barbosa after they were given a tip that large deposits were made at Treasury Casino in Brisbane and the Star Casino in Sydney and Gold Coast. Numerous stacks of cash hidden in casinos in New South Wales and Queensland blew Barbosa’s cover.
Judge Helen Bowskill, who presided over the trial, heard that Barbosa had deposited almost $914,000 through ‘front money accounts’ between 7 August and 22 November 2018. He used both Brazilian and Australian accounts for his transactions to dispose of and receive cash, bank transfers, and deposits. Barbosa then remitted the money to the recipients in the two countries through the Hawala system.
The court found that Barbosa had also travelled to New Zealand 14 times. There, he deposited $90,000 at Auckland’s SkyCity casino and transferred about $720,000 back to his accounts in Australia. Barbosa did this under the cover of his business Max Study, which was described as an educational agency to aid international students to find courses and apply for visas.
The court noted that Barbosa had initially offered services to help students pay their fees and send money to or from Brazil. Later, he was contacted by unknown persons on many occasions to remit sums of more than $100,000 to Brazilian accounts. Barbosa had conducted his operations through messaging apps registered in someone else’s name. The messages were deleted a minute after being sent.
Barbosa’s Sentence Reduced Due to Clean Record, Good Character
Barbosa had confessed during the investigation that he was unaware of the source of the money. He had a niggling suspicion that the amount came from illegal means as the contacts did not want to register anything on paper. He acknowledged his irresponsibility in not asking more about the transactions.
Despite the charges, Bowskill acknowledged Barbosa’s clean record and that he co-operated without any fuss with the detectives. The sentence, which was otherwise 25 years, was reduced to six because of Barbosa’s good character and his bright prospects after he serves his jail term.