Key Words: Possessing money reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime, Section 400.9(1) Criminal Code (Cth) – plea of guilty – mitigating factors submitted upon sentencing – imprisonment back-dated to account for time served
TCH flew to Australia from Hong Kong for the purpose of picking up cash on behalf of a money laundering syndicate. AFP tracked TCH as he engaged in several cash pick-ups. When they arrested TCH he was in possession of over $100K in cash. TCH was refused bail. He instructed his criminal defence solicitors to plead guilty to the offence.
During the sentencing hearing, the defence submissions made it clear that TCH was essentially a pawn in the operations of the syndicate. He had been told that collecting the money was legal, and was promised a job when he had finished collecting the money. TCH had accepted the offer of work because his wife in Hong Kong was sick, and he needed money to pay for medication. The fact that TCH was involved in the money laundering for less than a month was also favourable to his case.
The District Court handed down a sentence of imprisonment; however, due to the time that TCH had already spent in remand, he was eligible for release five days after the sentencing hearing.