A COVID-19 compliance check at a Civic apartment last year has since led to the discovery of an illegal prostitution ring that is being run across three states, revealed Supt Scott Moller today (May 11).
Following an extensive investigation into the woman operating the illegal Civic brothel, Supt Moller said ACT police made its largest restraint of criminal assets in Canberra’s history, totalling more than $10 million, which was confiscated over two states and one territory.
“The woman was found to have multiple illegal brothels operating nationally. In the last two months our investigation identified several properties in the ACT, rural NSW and QLD, along with multiple bank accounts to be restrained by the courts,” Supt Moller said.
Police were able to link the Civic address to a number of other illegal brothels and luxury properties within the ACT, NSW and QLD. Police will allege the money used to purchase these properties is the proceeds of crime.
“Our aim is to not only shut it down but our aim is to take the assets from these people so they can’t reinvest that into other criminal activity,” Supt Moller said.
Yesterday, ACT police successfully applied to the Supreme Court for the restraint of two properties worth an estimated $2.8 million. The two properties are in addition to five properties and multiple bank accounts restrained by police in late March.
Supt Moller doesn’t believe this is an isolated case and said: “My message would be to the people that are actively operating illegal brothels out there that this won’t be the last investigation that we do, that we will be looking for them and we will be targeting their activities.”
The investigation is ongoing but Supt Moller says the restraint of criminal assets is a priority.