A 23-year-old Australian student has found more than $100,000 of foreign exchange money in a scheme used by a US company to fund university students’ trip abroad.
Key points:The student says he was offered about $200,000 in foreign exchange to fund the trip overseasThe money is now being tracedThe student has not yet been charged with any offenceThe student claims he was told the money was from the Australian Education Support Corporation (AESC), which is a foreign fund set up by US investors to help students travel abroad.
“The Australian Education Council is a US-based charity that is part of the American Council on Education,” said Australian Federal Police (AFP) Assistant Commissioner James Anderson in a statement.
“This scheme has been used by foreign exchange companies in Australia to fund overseas student trips, and this case demonstrates that foreign exchange scams can be perpetrated by a number of different actors.”
The student, who has not been charged, said he was approached by US-registered company US-Treasurer James P. Munoz to “get money” for a trip to Singapore.
The company is based in Florida, which is the country where the student had applied to study.
The student said the company was able to secure the funds, with the promise of a payment within four weeks.
“It’s quite a big amount of money, I don’t know how much, and I was told that within the next four weeks I would receive the money,” he said.
The US exchange company, which Mr Munoz does not control, has told Australian authorities that it is “confident” it can “secure the funds”.
“We have made significant progress in identifying the funds in this case, and are currently seeking to trace the funds and prosecute those who may have acted unlawfully in attempting to defraud Australian citizens,” it said in a written statement.
Mr Munoz has previously told The Australian Financial Review that he has no knowledge of any money being paid out from overseas.
“I have no idea what they’re doing.
It’s very unusual,” he told the publication.
The scheme has attracted criticism in Australia and overseas for the number of foreign students who are required to pay fees in the US before they can travel overseas.
The Student Visa Scheme allows US citizens and permanent residents who have lived in Australia for less than six months to obtain a temporary visa, while also giving them a financial support package that can cover the cost of accommodation, meals and other essential expenses.
The Australian Financial Survey asked participants in a survey about the scheme and found that it was “a massive problem for many students, with many struggling to make ends meet on the back of student visas”.
In addition to the student, the Australian Financial Report revealed that a number more Australians have reported being targeted by scamsters using the scheme, including students from Australia, New Zealand and China.
Topics:investments,business-economics-and-finance,international-aid-and/or-trade,foreign-affairs,crime,international,federal-government,foreign direct-observation,government-and,government,governmental-parties,government—politics,finance-and–finance.consumer-protection,fraud-prevention,consumer-fraud,federation-committee,law-crime-and_innl,consumer,education,education-facilities,feds,tas,united-statesFirst posted May 01, 2020 16:18:50Contact Nick O’LearyMore stories from New South Wales