A Bendigo man is one of two facing charges after a wave of telephone system attacks in October last year.
Police will allege the 28-year-old organised the scheme.
A joint Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Victoria Police investigation commenced in November 2018 after the attacks.
Police allege a large volume of automated attacks occurred, and involved cold-calling numbers with the intention of tying up police phone lines, interrupting incoming or outgoing calls.
Search warrants were executed yesterday morning at three Bendigo premises involving officers from the AFP's Cybercrime Operations and the Victoria Police E-Crime Squad assisted by members of the AFP's Specialist Response Group and Victoria Police Special Operations Group.
He has been charged with:
- Unauthorised access to data held in a computer, contrary to section 477.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth.) and punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment
- Using a carriage service to make a threat to cause serious harm, contrary to section 474.15(2) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth.) and punishable by up to seven years imprisonment
- Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, contrary to section 474.17 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth.) and punishable by up to three years
- Dishonestly obtaining or dealing with personal financial information, contrary to section 480.4 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth.) and punishable by up to five years imprisonment
- Sabotage, contrary to section 247K of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) and punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment
The man has been remanded in custody and is scheduled to face the Bendigo Magistrates Court on Monday. Police have also charged a second Bendigo man, aged 27, with three firearms offences:
- Possessing an unregistered firearm contrary to section 6A of the Firearms Act 1996.
- The 27-year-old was granted bail and is scheduled to appear before court on August 8.
AFP acting Commander Cybercrime Operations, Chris Goldsmid said the seriousness of the alleged offending cannot be understated.
"Some of the attacks included a spate of text messages asking for emergency assistance. People who called the number back reported being verbally abused by a recording on the other end. This created fear, distress and anxiety amongst some of the most vulnerable in our community," Acting Commander Goldsmid said.
He said the joint investigative work undertaken by officers from both agencies to disrupt the brazen offending had been exceptional.
"It is yet another example of the excellent results achieved when the resources and capabilities of the commonwealth and states are joined up," Acting Commander Goldsmid said.
Officer in charge of Victoria Police's E-Crime Squad, Detective Acting Inspector Greg Lee said today's charges were a great result.
"We had a number of police stations in Victoria that were affected, so we know our local communities were directly impacted," he said.
"Any offences of this nature have the potential to have the most serious of ramifications so it's incredibly pleasing to be able to charge someone as a result of this joint investigation."
The investigation remains ongoing.
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