Watch the recent 7:30 Report story where Ken Gamble discusses the recent investigation
Two locations in the Philippines have been raided in connection with a self-managed super fund (SMSF) scam that stole Australians’ life savings under the guise of a genuine entity.
IFW operatives joined forces with the Philippines National Police, Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) to raid the boiler room operation in Manila this month. Posing as an Australian-regulated company, the orchestrators behind the call centre gathered critical information from victims to steal their retirement funds.
Unfortunately, SMSF scams like this one are becoming increasingly prevalent. Tempted by the large sums and equipped with the advanced technology to devise sophisticated schemes, more and more scammers around the world are trying to get their hands on Australian pensions. According to the ACCC, $701 million was lost to investment fraud in 2021 alone.
Uncovering the ASAL scam
Our investigation of this scam kick started in 2020, when we received intelligence concerning a criminal group in Manila who were targeting Australian SMSFs. To uncover the culprits behind the scam, IFW operatives in the Philippines performed expert surveillance and gathered covert intelligence.
We found that the perpetrators were posing as Australian Securities Administration Limited (ASAL), a legitimate and licenced company. In reality, the boiler room operation was merely a clone used to convince victims to divulge details about their superannuation accounts.
Equipped with actionable evidence, IFW filed a formal criminal complaint with the Philippines National Police, Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG). This complaint alleged that particular individuals and entities were running an illegal boiler room scam in Pasig, Metro Manila.
Two raids, 31 detainees
On September 9 2022, the PNP-ACG Cyber Response Unit worked with IFW operatives to conduct two raids in Pasig – one on an office and another on a residential property.
During the office raid, the PNP-ACG detained 29 Filipino workers and seized a number of mobile phones, computers and other devices under a Cyber Warrant issued by the Philippine Court.
Meanwhile, other PNP-ACG operatives raided the residence of 53 year old British National Alan Dean Grove, who allegedly owns the business behind the call centre. Alan and his wife, 29 year old Rosie Delos Reyes Grove, were both taken into custody for questioning, bringing the total number of detainees to 31. No charges have been laid.
Further investigations are underway
After the raids, a prosecutor from the Department of Justice examined each detainee at a formal inquest. However, no charges could be filed at the time of detainment due to a legal technicality, namely that they were not “caught in the act” of running the exact scam that targeted our clients, despite at least three of the victim’s names being found on one of the office computers.
All detainees were released pending further investigation into possible violation of Section 4(b)(2) (Computer-related Fraud) and Section 5(a) (Aiding or Abetting in the Commission of Cybercrime) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Results from the PNP-ACG’s forensic examinations of devices seized in the raids may also play a pivotal role in bringing the truth to light.
To learn more about this boiler room scam, watch IFW Global chairman, Ken Gamble, discuss the investigation on ABC 7:30 on Monday night.
Don’t fall for a cold call
A word of warning for all Australians: be cautious of anyone cold calling from overseas to enquire about investments. To protect your savings from the above scam, you should always seek impartial advice and perform proper due diligence before entering any sort of investment scheme.
Have you already been targeted by an SMSF scam?
If you suspect that you have been targeted by an SMSF scam, IFW Global can help you. As a global leader in financial fraud investigation, we have the skilled specialists, exclusive resources and worldwide network to uncover intelligence, perform sophisticated surveillance and track down criminals to help victims recover their losses.
Book a consultation now on or learn more about our superannuation scam investigation services.