A Melbourne man has been charged over his alleged role as a “money mule” in a cyber scam, with federal police alleging he laundered more than $176,000 scammed from an Australian business.

It is alleged that between June 2021 and May 2022, the 23-year-old man received $176,192 in suspected criminal proceeds of business email compromise (BEC) scams.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) allege one of the scams involved an Australian construction company which lost $17,000 after receiving a fraudulent email.

It is further alleged the company received a correspondence from a supposed furniture supplier, claiming their bank details had changed.

The company subsequently paid money to a bank account that was later found to be in the 23-year-old’s name.

An AFP spokesman said the man allegedly dispersed such fraudulently acquired funds across a number of bank accounts before transferring the money to another individual.

It will be alleged that the man acted as a “money mule”, helping move the money through business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other cyber crimes.

The AFP searched the man’s Footscray home in November last year, allegedly seizing illicit drugs and electronic devices.

This subsequently led to the man’s arrest on July 13.

AFP Senior Constable Khali Sherer said Australians reported losses of more than $98m to BEC attacks, losing on average $64,000 per incident.

“If you think an email is suspicious, make further enquiries,” he said.

“Call and check directly with the business or organisation you are dealing with. It is reasonable to ask questions to protect yourself or your company.”

The 23-year-old Footscray man has been charged with one count of dealing with the proceeds of crime, money or property worth $100,00 or more, one count of possessing cocaine and one count of possessing cannabis.

He appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 13 and will next appear on October 5.

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By Rahul

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