The Australian Federal Police arrested one Mr. James Gorris, 44, at his residence in Castlemaine on 22nd November, 2016.
The former Australian police officer was charged with manufacturing and selling fake police ID cards. He allegedly used an online platform on dark web, Alpha Bay, to conduct his trade.
Gorris sold fake Victorian IDs and Federal Police IDs. Other than that, the suspect was also accused of selling Borderforce, Aviation and Maritime Security passes.
On Alpha Bay darknet market, Gorris used the alias “piratedeadpool” to sell police agency ID in exchange for bitcoins.
During his arraignment in Bendigo Magistrates Court, Detective Senior Constable Pye from the E-crime squad (an investigative unit that deals with online crimes), says that they set a trap for this “piratedeadpool” user who fell for it.
Undercover investigators pretended to be clients and transacted with the accused. This evidence was presented before Magistrate Murphy at the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court.
During the first transaction which happened last July 6, the undercover police agents confirmed to have bought Victorian Police identification cards and Federal Police IDs worth $4,800 and they paid online for the merchandise in bitcoin currency.
The second transaction between the undercover agents and the Alpha Bay dealer saw them acquire aviation and maritime security IDs; these will allow user access to Australia’s airports and ports.
Then, on the next transaction on the darknet market, the agents bought an Australian Federal Police wallet, a badge, and ID. Purchases were delivered through the Australian Post Express parcel.
On Alpha Bay, “piratedeadpool” even bluffed and told the clients, who in this case were the undercover agents, that using the fake IDs he could steal items at will from police stations including drugs, guns and ammunition, and evidence.
During the raid at Gorris’ place in Castlemaine, Constable Pye said they did not find any guns or drugs. This he said meant that the darknet vendor was only bluffing to lure more clients.
However, he said they found other merchandise, like badges, wallets, blank ID cards, card printers which confirmed that he did the manufacturing of the fake IDs.
The defense lawyer, Mr. Peter Baker, said his client really had no other criminal intentions or motives. He only used Alpha Bay for financial gains.
This was in response to the prosecution which said that Gorris’ dealings were illegal and dangerous as the fake IDs could be used to enter police stations and obtain firearms, bypass airport security or even make potential terrorist plots possible.
This would endanger the lives of thousands of people.
According to Detective Senior Constable Pye, they commenced an investigation on the Alpha Bay vendor five months prior to his arrest.
He said that attention was drawn to the dark web market website during their routine check of the site.
Alpha Bay, they discovered was an online site made anonymous with encryption and routing.
The Bendigo Magistrates’ Court charged him with four counts of manufacturing, supplying and distribution of assorted government badges.
The magistrate denied him bail as they feared that Gorris might try to abscond trial and flee the country, considering his expertise in forging identification documents.
The defense counsel quickly dismissed this claim as speculative.
However, during the trial, Magistrate Murphy commented and said that the possibility of the fake police identification cards could fall into the wrong hands was “frightening.”
He further noted that Gorris, being an ex-police officer, should have known better and the consequences of such actions he termed as dubious and reckless. The magistrate said that it posed a real threat to the public at large.
Gorris was remanded in custody until his next trial scheduled for the 15th of February, 2017. He would make an appearance once again before the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court.