$4.4m car find: Dad’s secret life as alleged ‘cash mule’
A Queensland dad found with $4.4 million in cash stashed in his car when he was pulled over on the Pacific Motorway has told police he was told to pick it up by an unknown person who sent a message to his encrypted Ciphr phone.
Simon Andrew Cross, 37, a father of two from Strathpine, was allegedly unwilling to tell police exactly where he collected the cash and where he was supposed to drop it off.
But he did tell police that he got the cardboard box with more than $2,610,255 inside from the Gold Coast just hours before he was pulled over, and a black suitcase with $1,748,450 "on the northside of Brisbane".
When he was pulled over by police on the morning of July 7 he was driving his girlfriend's Nissan Qashqai SUV travelling northbound at Upper Mount Gravatt, and the $2m was in the boot and the $1m was on the front seat, court documents allege.
Details of what Cross is alleged to have told police were contained in affidavits sworn by the Queensland Police Service officer who pulled him over and a Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) director.
The affidavits were filed in the Supreme Court, as part of an application by the state government to restrain the $4,358,705 under proceeds of crime laws.
Cross, who worked as a hotel night manager for Spice Apartments in South Brisbane until three months before he was pulled over, also told police that until officers opened the cardboard box and suitcase in front of him he did not know what they contained or who it belonged to.
He told police he had been working as a courier for a couple of months and had collected packages "of various weights" once a week or so, but "never looked inside them".
The money he was paid for couriering the cash helped replace his income from his hotel management job, which he quit because he could no longer work nights as a father of two children, he told police.
Police also allege Cross had a Cipher encrypted phone which can be used to avoid detection by authorities.
Cross allegedly told police he was paid for his courier services in cash stuffed in an envelope and left for him at the pick up location.
Detective Senior Constable Mark Challenger, who arrested Cross, says in his affidavit that he pulled Cross over for a licence check and random breath test because he had been driving "a bit fast and all over the road".
Cross told DSC Challenger that he felt "a bit jittery" because he had an engagement ring in his pocket and was on his way home to propose to his girlfriend, Thea Kathleen Dowden.
He also told police that he had no history with police other than speeding fines.
CCC director of proceeds of crime Sharon Raabe alleges in her affidavit that Cross's unwillingness to give details about where he picked up the packages indicates that this transaction "was not a normal commercial couriering arrangement".
Ms Raabe also alleges Cross does not own his own courier business, and does not appear to work for a legitimate courier business.
She says that she suspects Cross "has either knowingly or recklessly engaged in money laundering by receiving and possessing money that is tainted property".
Cross has not been charged with money laundering.
His tax returns show he has earned $60,000 a year for the past 3 years.
The application to restrain the cash and have it held by the Public Trustee is due in the Supreme Court tomorrow.
Originally published as $4.4m car find: Dad's secret life as alleged 'cash mule'