Nigerian scammers used man to hide cash
NIGERIAN scammers convinced a Gold Coast retiree to help hide money made through various hoaxes across the globe.
Bill Ernest Charles Blake was warned by his bank he was most likely receiving stolen cash but he still continued to take money for the fraudsters.
The 69-year-old helped launder more than $251,000 over three years before authorities shut him down.
The former mine worker operated 11 bank accounts across nine institutions in order to help clean the cash.
He got between $5000 and $25,000 for helping the scammers.
Blake pleaded guilty in the Southport District Court to money laundering recklessly between June 2016 and March 2019.
Judge Catherine Muir sentence him to two-and-half years in prison, which was wholly suspended for three years.
"By your conduct you are helping enable fraudsters operate in Australia so deterrence is a very important feature of this sentence," she said.
Judge Muir said it was unlikely Blake would be before the courts again.
Crown prosecutor Natalie Lima said Blake was contacted by Nigerian scammers in 2016 and agreed to transfer large sums of money to Nigeria, the United States, Ghana, South Africa and India.
He would also be transferred money into his account by people who thought they were making invoice payments or paying for goods.
Ms Lima said Blake was warned by his bank that he was receiving stolen cash and needed to stop.
But Blake ignored the warnings, the court was told.
Instead he would open a new account if a bank froze funds in an account.
"He profited between two and 10 per cent of the amounts filtered through his accounts," she said.
Ms Lima said it was a lengthy period of offending.
"Those in the position of the defendant provide a means by which criminals can operate internationally," she said.
Defence barrister John McInnes, instructed by Legal Aid Queensland, said Blake was "not an unintelligent man".
"He does present as somewhat eccentric," he said.
"The word naive may not be appropriate but perhaps ingenuous is."
Mr McInnes said Blake trusted what the scammers were telling him was correct, despite the bank's warnings.
"He believes what he wants to believe and allows hope to triumph over experience or advice," he said.
Mr McInnes said Blake had been in the Army for nine years before going into a career as a machinist in the mining industry.
Originally published as How Nigerian scammers sent Gold Coaster to court