Posted on: July 13, 2023, 08:58h.
Last updated on: July 13, 2023, 08:58h.
Australian accountant Ben Carter is unlikely to witness the birth of his baby, hear the first words spoken, or see the first steps taken. Instead, he is facing imprisonment for allegedly embezzling AUD26 million (US$17 million) from clients in order to support his extravagant lifestyle and gambling addiction.
Police in Sydney, Australia, arrested Carter on Tuesday after a brief one-month investigation revealed the evidence needed for prosecution. Alongside him, his partner Amy Steele was also taken into custody.
During his initial court appearance, Carter was denied bail due to concerns that he may try to flee. This decision may also be for his own protection, as he is alleged to have connections to a major organized crime syndicate.
Enjoyment While It Persisted
Many details regarding the investigation and what prompted authorities to target Carter remain undisclosed. However, according to various media sources, he is accused of scamming at least eight clients out of millions of dollars over several years.
Carter, who owns Carter’s Tax Advisory in Penrith, is facing 16 charges, including “obtaining financial advantage by deception,” “knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime,” and illegal drug possession. The drug possession charge stems from the discovery of trace amounts of what investigators believe to be cocaine during a search of his home in Silverdale at the time of his arrest.
25-year-old Steele, who worked as Carter’s receptionist, was apprehended shortly after. She was found at an unspecified business in Penrith and is facing charges of “recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime greater than $5,000 (US$3,433).”
Unlike Carter, Steele was granted bail soon after her arrest. According to reports, she is cooperating with law enforcement as the investigation continues.
The Daily Mail has noted that Steele is pregnant, as stated in a Facebook post. She allegedly aided Carter in concealing his scheme, but played a minor role. She will appear in court later this month to learn about the next steps. Meanwhile, Carter will have to wait until September to present his side of the story in court while detained.
Connections to Suspicious Parties
Among Carter’s business associations is a craft beer brand called Drink West. The company’s owners, as well as its investors, include Nathan Cleary of the National Rugby League and Australian UFC heavyweight fighter Tai Tuivasa.
At one point, Carter was purportedly the chief financial officer for Drink West. His accounting firm is listed on documents previously submitted to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission by the company.
This relationship appears to be innocent, and investigators and prosecutors do not suspect any involvement by individuals connected to Drink West in Carter’s illicit activities. However, the same cannot be said for another relationship, namely the one he allegedly had with the Alameddine crime syndicate.
Details of Carter’s dealings with the Alameddine organization are unclear. The syndicate is reportedly a large family of Arab origin with a complete disregard for the law. Over the years, its members have been arrested for various crimes, including drug trafficking, violence, and street racing.
In May of the previous year, the New South Wales police claimed to have successfully dismantled the Alameddine gang, described as “one of Sydney’s most dangerous crime families.” However, additional arrests of gang members have occurred since then, including as recently as last month.
During Carter’s arrest, the police confiscated various items, including documents and computers. As data analysts examine the information, it is possible that more details of Carter’s involvement with the gang will be revealed.