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DPP (Cth) v Dao [2023] VCC 762

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to 1 count of conducting banking transactions to avoid reporting requirements relating to threshold transactions contrary to s 142(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counterterrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth), and 1 count of recklessly dealing with proceeds of general crime in excess of $100,000 contrary to s 400.4(2A) of Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: Offender worked as a ‘cash mule’ for criminals who used bank accounts of innocent people to move proceeds of general crime overseas without alerting the authorities. In terms of count 1, offender deposited cash totalling $2.127 million in 794 transactions over a period of 17 months. Considering the very large amount of money and the very considerable number of transactions, conducted over a lengthy period, the objective seriousness of this crime is above mid-range. In terms of count 2, offender collected nearly $700,000 and were waiting for instructions to conduct more structured transactions to launder illicit funds. Considering this was a single transaction, and offender knew nothing about the source of the money, the objective seriousness of this crime is below mid-range. Offender knew nothing about how the money was proceeds of crime. Offender’s role was bottom rung in the enterprise. It was nevertheless essential to the operation of the illegal scheme. Overall, offender’s moral culpability is towards the lower, rather than higher end, notwithstanding the objective seriousness of the offending.

Rehabilitation: Offender’s cooperation with police, early guilty plea, and expression of regret to their friend demonstrate that they are genuinely remorseful. Offender is a first offender. They have raised their daughter with a supportive husband. Offender has a good work history. Their response to bail has been positive. They have not reoffended and continued to work several jobs. Offender has excellent prospects of rehabilitation.

Offender sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment to be released after 12 months on recognizance of $1,000 to be of good behaviour for 2 years.
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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