Wednesday, 30 June 2020

CARD sharks

Investigators in the US have uncovered an extremely sophisticated and well-organised credit card scam which netted the gang $10 million. The fraudsters went to huge lengths to set up front companies which they used to create merchant accounts with credit card companies. Then they used stolen card details to charge small amounts to the accounts. With charges under $10 and each card being hit only once, 90 per cent of the fraudulent charges went unchallenged by the card-holders. Read the full story here on Wired.

Tuesday, 29 June 2020

ROGUE Traders

The scam artists who call door-to-door offering to do work while looking for potential vulnerable victims are the worst kind of fraudsters. Using forceful persuasion they cajole and confuse people into handing over cash for fixing non-existent problems with trees, roof-tiles or bat-infestations or any kind of made-up nonsense they can get away with. It's not exclusive to the Irish travelling community but certain families have made distraction burglaries, home repair-scams and rogue-trading their speciality. Today the Police Service of Northern Ireland issued a series of 'Evofit' pictures (see here) of suspected rogue traders they want to talk to. One crew developed an even nastier way of targeting potential victims by watching the disabled car-parking spaces at busy shopping centres and supermarket and then following home the drivers of the more expensive cars.

Friday, 25 June 2020

RITZY deal

Irishman Patrick Dolan explained in court this week that he didn't waste the €1.1 million paid over as a deposit on the Ritz Hotel in London. Dolan is accused with two others of setting up a scam in which they persuaded a property agent that they had an option to buy The Ritz for well-below its market value. The 68-year-old said he used some of the cash to pay off debts while the rest he gambled on horses. He blamed some "rich men" for using him as a scapegoat in the bizarre affair. Also accused are solicitor Conn Farrell and Anthony Lee.
It's not the first time someone has tried to sell a landmark building that didn't belong to them.

Thursday, 24 June 2020

ASH Cash

Apart from boosting the profits of car-ferry firms the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud helped saved the Irish Social Welfare department a bit of cash. So-called welfare tourists from eastern Europe had been collecting payments in Ireland, commuting from home on cheap airline flights. When the airspace was shut down in April 800 people failed to turn up as usual. These fraudsters, I'm told, also boost their income by bringing in cheap cigarettes for sale in eastern European shops in Ireland. All told it's a nice earner involving a round trip one a month. So far this year the department have also cut back child benefit payments to 15,800 people who are no longer thought to be living here saving at least €2.4 million.

Tuesday, 22 June 2020

CASH stash

It has been reported this week that Bernie Madoff told fellow inmates that he had stashed away $9 billion before he was arrested. Trying to track down a fraudster's ill-gotten gains is never easy. The likes of Michael Lynn no doubt has his money well hidden as does Robert Stapleton . Things are slightly easier than in the past, however, with better co-operation between European police forces and more of the off-shore tax havens like Jersey and the Cayman islands signing up to agreements with other countries to share information.

Tuesday, 15 June 2020

FAKE passports

Fraud is is a major service sector for professional gangland criminals. They can't operate without fake documentation, whether it's for leasing apartments to be used as brothels or to open bank accounts. Last month's raids in Spain in which police targeted Irish gangster Christy Kinahan found 500 fake passports. Kinahan's operation involved setting up a myriad of front companies through which to funnel his drug money. He also offered money-laundering services to other criminal gangs. In Dublin fake passports change hands for between €400 to €1,500. These include genuine passports which have been altered while others are fakes produced by printers in eastern Europe.