Australian accountant Ben Carter likely won’t be around for the birth of his baby, to hear the first words spoken, or see the first steps taken. Instead, he’ll probably be in prison for allegedly stealing AU$26 million (US$17 million) from clients to fund his luxury lifestyle and love of gambling.
Australian accountant Ben Carter wearing a suit in a gym. He faces charges of stealing millions of dollars from clients to fund a gambling lifestyle. (Image: Daily Telegraph)
Police in Sydney, Australia, arrested Carter this past Tuesday after a one-month investigation uncovered the evidence prosecutors needed. Along with him, the authorities also took his partner, Amy Steele, into custody.
A judge denied Carter bail when he made his first appearance in court, arguing that he’s a flight risk. It could also be for his own good, as he allegedly has ties to a major organized crime syndicate.
Fun While it Lasted
Many of the details surrounding the investigation and what led investigators to target Carter are still under wraps. However, according to different media sources, he allegedly scammed at least eight clients out of millions of dollars over the course of several years.
Carter, the owner of Carter’s Tax Advisory in the city of Penrith, faces 16 charges. Among these are “obtaining financial advantage by deception,” “knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime,” and illegal drug possession. The latter stems from a search of his home in Silverdale at the time of the arrest, which uncovered trace amounts of what investigators believe is cocaine.
25-year-old Steele, who also worked as Carter’s receptionist, was picked up a little later. Police found her at an unspecified business in Penrith, and she now faces charges of “recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime greater than $5,000 (US$3,433).”
Unlike Carter, Steele received bail soon after her arrest. She is reportedly cooperating with law enforcement as the investigation continues.
The Daily Mail pointed out that Steele is pregnant, according to a Facebook post. She allegedly assisted Carter in covering up his scheme, but didn’t have a major role. She’ll appear in court later this month to learn what will happen next. While Carter sits in a jail cell, he’ll have to wait until September to present his side of the story in court.
Ties to Questionable Elements
Among Carter’s business relationships has been a craft beer brand, Drink West. The company’s owners, in addition to its investors, are Nathan Cleary of the National Rugby League and Australian UFC heavyweight fighter Tai Tuivasa.
At one point, Carter was allegedly the chief financial officer for Drink West. His accounting firm appears on filings the company presented to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
That relationship appears to be innocuous, and neither investigators nor prosecutors believe anyone linked to Drink West was involved in Carter’s activities. The same can’t be said for a different relationship, the one he allegedly had with the Alameddine crime syndicate.
Carter’s dealings with the Alameddine organization aren’t clear. The syndicate is allegedly a large family of Arab origins with a complete disregard for the law. Over the years, police have arrested its members for a wide variety of crimes, including drug trafficking, violence, street racing, and more.
In May of last year, New South Wales police proclaimed that it was successful in breaking up the Alameddine gang, “one of Sydney’s most dangerous crime families.” Since then, including as recently as last month, more members of the gang have been arrested.
When police arrested Carter on Tuesday, they seized various items, including documents, computers, and more. As data analysts sift through all of the information, it’s possible they’ll uncover more details of Carter’s involvement with the gang.
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