The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) participates in a wide range of formal and informal task forces, including multi-agency ACIC Board-approved task forces.
Multi-agency task forces involve a broad range of partners working together to disrupt criminal enterprises through intelligence-led responses. Partners may include representatives from law enforcement, the regulatory sector, peak bodies and the private sector.
Our agency's role in multi-agency task forces ranges from leading or jointly coordinating, to supporting task forces led by partner agencies.
We are part of the National Task Force Morpheus (Morpheus)—a joint initiative of all law enforcement agencies and Commonwealth partners targeting the highest risk outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) risks to Australia.
Through Morpheus, all agencies are using their full range of capabilities to proactively and collaboratively target the highest OMCG risks to Australia, and detect their criminal activity. This includes:
- improving understanding of the nature of OMCG serious and organised crime activity
- developing and implementing crime prevention and disruption strategies
- identifying underlying factors that allow OMCGs to be resilient to law enforcement
- restricting and preventing opportunities for OMCGs to infiltrate legitimate business
- confiscating illicit profits
- targeting professional facilitators who assist OMCGs to carry out their illegal activities.
Between 2015 and 2018 Morpheus resulted in over seven and a half thousand OMCG members, nominees or associates being arrested and approximately eighteen thousand charges.
Morpheus connects Commonwealth, state and territory law enforcement agencies to provide a nationally coordinated response to high threat OMCGs operating across domestic and international borders. The National OMCG Managers Group oversees this work, driving national projects and response strategies aimed at disrupting OMCGs and minimising harm to the Australian community.
In this context, the Australian Gangs Intelligence Coordination Centre (AGICC), housed in the ACIC, is responsible for national intelligence coordination. The AGICC undertakes specific intelligence collection and analysis to continually build the collective understanding of the highest threat OMCGs impacting on Australia.
We lead the Vestigo Task Force (Vestigo), which provides a framework for enhanced collaboration and engagement with Australian and international partners to share information and intelligence.
Vestigo was authorised in November 2016 to strengthen the ability to respond to transnational serious organise crime activities impacting adversely on the Australia’s national interests and the interests of our overseas partner countries.
Vestigo is supported by our Commonwealth, state and territory partners, along with international partners including the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group.
Vestigo enables stronger collaboration against the threat posed by high risk serious and organised crime entities based overseas, or with direct links to criminal entities based overseas, that are impacting adversely on Australia.
This reflects our agency’s shift from ad-hoc and opportunistic international engagement to ongoing and proactive engagement in response to the changing criminal environment.
Vestigo is building on the work of the previous Eligo 2 National Task Force and current National Task Force Morpheus. These task forces have demonstrated the benefit of engaging with international law enforcement agencies—supported with appropriate use of our coercive powers under appropriate board authorised special investigations and special operations—to support the collection of information and intelligence.
Rather than consisting of a particular program of work, like Eligo and Morpheus, Vestigo is a conduit for our work across various investigations and operations against the threat posed by high risk serious and organised crime entities based overseas, or those with direct links to criminal entities based overseas, that are adversely impacting Australia and overseas partner countries.
These Special Investigations/Operations have identified and are addressing a range of serious and organised crime activities which continue to pose a significant threat to the Australian community and its national interests, including but not limited to the importation methylamphetamine into the Australian market, evolving threats posed by serious organised crime groups within the national security environment, the criminal exploitation of cyber technologies, money laundering and serious financial crime.
The ACIC is part of the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT). The CACT is led by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and also includes the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
The CACT is a Commonwealth initiative dedicated to taking the profit out of crime by targeting criminals and their assets derived from unexplained wealth.
The CACT was established in 2011 to enhance the identification and pursuit of criminal wealth, where there is a link to a Commonwealth offence.
Our agency provides intelligence analysis and legal support, intelligence gathering, strategic advice on illicit money flows impacting on Australia, and helps to generate and prioritise crime targets for proceeds of crime action through the ACIC-led National Criminal Intelligence Fusion Capability.
More details about the CACT are on the AFP website.
The multi-agency Serious Financial Crime Taskforce (SFCT) forms part of the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre led by the AFP.
The SFCT brings together the knowledge, resources and experiences of federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to identify and address serious and complex financial crimes. It includes the:
- Attorney-General's Department
- Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
- Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP)
- Australian Border Force (ABF).
The SFCT builds on the success of Project Wickenby, which finished on 30 June 2015 when the SFCT began operating. The SFCT is currently progressing 25 criminal, civil and intelligence matters. The following is a snapshot of results to 30 June 2019 (results updated quarterly):
- 284 search warrants executed
- 1145 audits completed
- 5 people sentenced
- $836 million in tax liabilities raised
- $306 million recouped
While Project Wickenby focused on tackling offshore tax evasion and crime, the SFCT has a broader remit to target the highest priority of serious financial crimes. These priorities include international tax evasion and criminality related to fraudulent phoenix activity, trusts and superannuation. Phoenix fraud involves a company deliberately liquidating assets to avoid paying creditors, taxes and employee entitlements.
The SFCT focuses on operational activities, collecting and sharing intelligence, and identifying reform measures with the aim of removing wealth from criminal activity, prosecuting facilitators and promoters of serious financial crime and deploying deterrent and preventative enforcement strategies.
More details about the SFCT are on the AFP website.
The Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF) is an ABF led Taskforce that combines the operational, investigative and intelligence capabilities of the ABF, ATO, Department of Home Affairs, ACIC, AUSTRAC and CDPP.
The ITTF was established to investigate, prosecute and dismantle international organised crime groups who use the proceeds of illicit tobacco to fund other criminal activity, as well as to ensure the appropriate revenue is paid to the Australian Government.
Illicit tobacco reduces the amount of revenue paid to the Australian Government, equating to approximately $600 million in lost revenue each year. This revenue could be used by the Australian Government for essential community services.
The taskforce draws on the expertise across the Home Affairs Portfolio as well as a range of other agencies, jurisdictional law enforcement and continued collaboration with international partners, to establish the measures, strengthen compliance and continue to build upon the excellent operational results the Tobacco Strike Team has already achieved.
The Phoenix Taskforce was established in 2014. It comprises 32 Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies, including the ACIC, the ATO, ASIC, Department of Jobs and Small Business, and the Fair Work Ombudsman. The Phoenix Taskforce provides a whole-of-government approach to combatting illegal phoenix activity.
The Phoenix Taskforce has developed sophisticated data matching tools to identify, manage and monitor suspected illegal phoenix operators. The Phoenix Taskforce support businesses who want to do the right thing and will deal firmly with those who choose to engage in illegal phoenix behaviour.
Illegal phoenix activity is when a new company is created to continue the business of an existing company that has been deliberately liquidated to avoid paying taxes, creditors and employee entitlements. This poses substantial risks to revenue, employee entitlements and the integrity of the corporate system. It imposes an unfair burden on honest Australians and businesses and it will not go untreated.
Phoenix Taskforce agencies continue to expand their programs targeting phoenix behaviour, including:
- an early intervention strategy—businesses exhibiting early phoenix behaviours are contacted with the aim of discouraging and deterring the owners from becoming repeat offenders, thereby treating non-compliance at an early stage
- a 'Top Phoenix Targets' program which focusses on the worst offenders—and their facilitators—to remove their profits and prosecute them to the full extent of the law
- working with government to inform legislative changes to stamp out this illegal behaviour.
The Phoenix Taskforce strategies will make illegal phoenix activity unviable in a financial sense and bring justice to those who persist with ripping off the community.
We are also involved in several joint initiatives, networks and coordination centres that support national and international collaboration to strengthen Australia's response to crime and criminal enterprise.
The ACIC houses the Australian Gangs Intelligence Coordination Centre (AGICC), which is building and coordinating an intelligence-led response to OMCGs and other known gangs operating across state and territory borders.
The AGICC provides a dedicated intelligence capability for the National Anti-Gangs Squads led by the AFP, and provides intelligence and assistance to state and territory police gang squads.
The AGICC supports our law enforcement partners by building on the intelligence picture around known gangs, as well as identifying unknown threats to Australia and the community.
Intelligence produced by the AGICC enhances understanding of how gangs escalate into serious and organised crime groups. In turn, this informs future initiatives to tackle OMCG and other gang activity.
The AGICC aims to:
- develop and maintain the national and transnational picture of criminal gangs impacting on Australia
- strengthen the coordination and sharing of gang intelligence by complementing existing Commonwealth and state and territory efforts
- provide high quality tactical, operational and strategic intelligence advice to the National Anti-Gangs Squad and its members
- drive the proactive discovery and development of new criminal gang intelligence insight
- identify new targeting opportunities to complement existing Commonwealth and state and territory investigative efforts.
The AGICC has been operating since December 2013. It comprises staff from the ACIC, AFP, ATO, ABF, the Department of Home Affairs, and the Department of Human Services (Centrelink).
The ACIC leads the National Criminal Intelligence Fusion Capability, which supports a whole-of-government response to serious and organised crime. It is a key element of the Commonwealth Organised Crime Strategic Framework and is one of our agency’s key specialist capabilities.
The Fusion Capability brings together subject matter experts, investigators and analysts, data and tools from more than 20 partner agencies at the national and state and territory levels to:
- enhance understanding of the national picture of organised crime
- discover previously unknown organised criminal activity and entities.
This knowledge informs the widest variety of response options that can reduce the threat and impact of serious and organised crime.
The Fusion Capability provides law enforcement with opportunities to act on emerging threats before they become entrenched. It provides insights from existing intelligence, narrowing gaps in collective intelligence holdings and discovering previously unknown criminal threats. It shares criminal intelligence to enable more knowledgeable decisions about how to focus combined resources to reduce the organised crime threats of most harm to the community.