Monday, 9 September 2020

Fakes, frauds and scams has moved house

The blog has moved over to - although the posts here will stay online as long as people keep clicking onto them. Hope you keep reading.

Monday, 2 September 2020

Irish Travellers in the United States do their best to avoid the limelight.

Irish Travellers in America feature on TV3 tonight in a documentary. ‘Travellers in America: A Secret Society’ focuses on the community around Murphy Village in South Carolina. Comments by one Traveller women that girls can marry as young as nine are sure to cause some controversy. But it’s pretty clear the Irish Travellers don’t really want to talk about themselves and that’s because many members are up to their neck in crime.
In 2006 I got to talk to Richard Daley who’s part of the Greenhorn Carrolls based in Texas. Pictured, right, is one of their sites at Cherry Lane, White Settlement near Fort Worth, Texas. His niece Madelyne Toogood became the infamous Monster Mum in 2002 when a shop-lifting expedition went wrong and she took it out on her toddler daughter.
A large proportion of the community are involved in various kinds of fraud. The White Settlement police chief, Larry Hesser, didn’t hold back on his opinion: “When you speak to one of these people in a leadership role, it’s intriguing to know that nothing coming out of his mouth is going to be the truth."

It’s all covered in a chapter from the The Outsiders which you can download here, it’s good for iPads, Kindle Sony Reader and more.. Use the code XG95W for a free copy.

Friday, 30 August 2020

The slow wheels of justice finally catch up with Michael Lynn

News broke today that rogue lawyer Michael Lynn was arrested in Brazil. It is the start of an attempt by the Irish authorities to extradite him back to Ireland where the Director of Public Prosecutions has recommended that 50 charges alleging fraud be brought against him. Lynn left Ireland in 2007 to avoid a High Court hearing into his role in several property deals.
Since then he has dodged meeting detectives investigating the allegations that he took out multiple mortgages on the same properties to the tune of €80 million. He claimed in a sympathetic interview to a magazine that he would never get a fair trial in Ireland and that he hoped to repay the losses through his property dealings in Brazil.
The Lynn case is one of several emanating from the Celtic Tiger era that have left people frustrated with the slow pace of investigation by the Irish authorities. Read here for the latest news on the case.

Wednesday, 24 July 2020

Cruel hoaxer selling online cure for Aids

A college graduate based in Belfast flogged useless products to people in his native Zimbabwe claiming they could "kill" aids. Admare Jinga got just a 240 hours community service order after being convicted yesterday in Belfast in what was the first prosecution of its kind in Northern Ireland. Read the the BBC report here. There no evidence that anyone had suffered injury or illness as a result of using his products.

Friday, 17 May 2020

Aussies want Irish rogue-trader suspect after an elderly couple targeted in Sydney's North Shore

The Australian authorities are fairly quick to respond to reports of cowboy builders operating in their country. This week two men were arrested after an 85-year-old woman returned home to find her driveway ripped up despite telling a work crew she didn't need it to be re-sealed. Cops arrested two men and they released a picture of a 'Michael Connors' they want to have a chat with. Read more about it here. Previous posts about Irish rogue traders in Australia here.

Friday, 26 April 2020

Dodgy diesel costing the Irish economy €466 million a year - watch this diesel washing machine video

A report published yesterday came up with some staggering figures as to how much fuel laundering and tobacco smuggling costs the economy in Ireland. Grant Thornton and Retail Ireland found that the black economy is costing €1.5 billion a year. The gritty underbelly is on view in this video I made just after Customs raided a laundering plant slap bang in the middle of Thomas 'Slab' Murphy's patch in north Louth on the border with Armagh last October. The fuel bandits make €1 profit for every litre of laundering fuel. Then there's the cigarettes..
Check out the full report here.

Monday, 25 February 2020

Honey laundering and the illicit trade in fake food scams

AN organised criminal network is now thought to be involved in the horse meat scandal which has suppliers and retailers across Europe. The massive fraud was blown open by Ireland’s tiny Food Safety Authority which carried out random tests on beef products late last year. It exposed the massive profits made by criminal suppliers out to make a quick buck with fake food. Horse meat trades for up to €700 a ton while beef commands €3,000 leaving a healthy profit for shadowy importers and agents willing to cash in. 

Following the lead set by the FSAI French investigators immediately launched an investigation which led a supplier in the south of the country. It had imported 750 tons of horsemeat worth €525,000 from Romania which became relabelled as beef making it worth €2.25 million. The transaction was organised through a broker who used off-shore companies previously linked used to convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, according to reports. The infamous Russian gun-runner was played by Nicholas cage in the movie Lord of war which was loosely based on his exploits.

The detection of horse meat in processed foods in Ireland started a series of test right across Europe. It’s not the first time Ireland has been caught up in a fake-food scandal. Last week fruit and veg importer Paul Begley had his original six year sentence for smuggling garlic reduced to two years. He had imported Chinese garlic into the country labelled as apples in a bid to evade tax. Because of heavy import tax on garlic form outside the European Union it became very profitable to re-label garlic imported from China. A single lorry load could net as much as €20,000 in extra profits for the smugglers. Two years before Begley was caught officials ran a European-wide Operation Wasabi in which 2,000 shipping containers were targeted in a bid to crack down on mislabelled fruit and veg.

But the biggest food scandal in Europe has been the supply of olive oil marketed as being extra virgin Italian. Italy uses and exports more olive than it produces so it imports from Spain, the EU’s biggest producer. Cheap Spanish oil is often found to have been relabelled and sold off as more expensive Italian olive. Europe’s worst food scandal happened in 1981 when up to 1,000 people died in Spain after cooking ill was tainted with industrial rapeseed oil, used to dilute regular cooking oil and then sold to the public. Other favourite scams included “honey laundering” in which honey from one country, usually China, is passed off as being local.

The packaging of farmed salmon as wild salmon has also been detected all over the world. Food safety is a huge issue in the developing world and in emerging countries such as Indian and China. The growth in middle class shoppers has suppliers cutting corners in  bid to cash in. In 2008, six children died and nearly 1000 were hospitalised in China after melamine was added to baby formula to apparently increase the protein content. Chinese manufacturers have also been caught adding hormones and tannery effluent to formulas. Last year New Zealand protested after several manufactures in China was passing off their baby-formula as being from that country.