‘Money mule’ pleads guilty to scamming elderly Australians


A student who allegedly acted as a "money mule" for a criminal network that scammed two million dollars from elderly Australians has pleaded guilty to money laundering.

Bharghavrama Raju Kallepalli, 25, of Eight Mile Plains, who has been in Australia on a student visa, was on Tuesday committed to Brisbane District Court for sentencing.

Kallepalli appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court via video link, pleading guilty to recklessly engaging in money laundering, between November 14, 2019 and July 22, this year.

The technology student's lawyer told Brisbane Magistrates Court it was conceded that there was a prima facie case against Kallepalli.

He did not apply for bail.

When he first appeared court in July, it was alleged Kallepalli was involved with a large network of offenders who obtained millions of dollars through technology scams.

A magistrate said it was alleged that since November, last year, Kallepalli had received $50,000 in tainted funds, which were deposited in accounts he had opened.

Another $16,000 was earmarked for transmission into his bank accounts, but it was intercepted by suspicious financial institutions, the court heard.

Kallepalli had allegedly opened various bank accounts and provided log-in details to others and received a commission for money sent offshore.

The magistrate said Kallepalli had been a "money mule".

In a scam using a different methodology, an elderly Victorian man was defrauded of almost $200,000, the court heard.

Kallepalli and an associate allegedly went to electrical stores and, using information from other people's credit cards, bought phones and jewellery that were resold.

Police allege the money obtained was sent offshore.

The magistrate said Kallepalli's financial details showed he received $10,000 from overseas deposits.

He had told police his family in India had sent the money for his living expenses, but he had spent it at a casino, the court heard.

Originally published as 'Money mule' pleads guilty to scamming elderly Australians