Gold Bricking, Grifting, Hustling, Frauds, Cons & Conmen

rynner2

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Record level of benefits 'stolen'

Record levels of benefits and other public money are being "stolen" or overpaid, but authorities are not doing enough about it, says a report.

Some £140m of fraud or overpayments have been detected in England by a biennial Audit Commission study.

The figure - including £24m in housing benefit overpayment and fraud - had risen 26% since its 2004/05 findings.

It said some cases had been "blatant and shocking", but councils insist they are cracking down on illegality.

The Audit Commission has carried out the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) study every two years since 1996, and similar exercises are done in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

One case in this report revealed a Lincolnshire man was receiving council tax benefit, income support, incapacity benefit and disability living allowance, while running a market stall and sitting on savings of more than £100,000.

He also ran other businesses from home, drove a Mercedes and took luxury holidays, said the report. Meanwhile his wife was claiming carer's allowance to "look after him". :shock:

While the report criticises some public bodies for not following up on the information it provides, in this case the council has begun proceedings to prosecute the man.

The NFI computer system searches for "anomalies" in records provided by public bodies, then passes on the information to those organisations so they can take action.

It matches information provided by councils, the NHS, police and probation authorities and fire services, from records such as housing benefit claims, payroll and pensions, disabled parking permits and social housing applications.

In some cases it uncovers fraud from within their own ranks, such as the 2,162 local government employees found to have been overpaid housing benefit in 2006/07.

Anomalies found via the NFI could turn out to be deliberate fraud or mistakes that need to be corrected. In £24m worth of housing benefit overpayment found, 31% was classified as fraud, 62% claimant error and 7% local authority error.

The NFI is only one way of discovering fraud and mistakes - the total amount of housing benefit fraud was estimated at £760m for 2005/06.

The Audit Commission said its latest figures did not necessarily mean more fraud was taking place, but that more was being uncovered.

Commission chairman Michael O'Higgins said where there was fraud the crimes were by no means "victimless".

"Some of the fraud found is both blatant and shocking.

"People are stealing homes, pensions, student loans, parking places and benefits, seemingly confident that no one is tracking them. They are wrong.

"We urge all public bodies to put in place the necessary trained staff to work with us and follow up any matches. It makes both moral and financial sense to detect fraud and over-payment."


'Sophisticated methods'

The study focused on a range of services and also found:

More than 16,000 blue badge parking permits for disabled people were being fraudulently claimed in the names of dead people.

Nearly 160 public sector staff were working without a valid visa to work in the UK, and were dismissed or resigned. They were working in London councils, the NHS, probation boards and police authorities.

In 2,819 cases occupational pensions were being paid after the death of the pensioner, with overpayments exceeding £6m.

Payments from local authorities to private care homes for residents who had died were detected in 300 cases.

Councils form the biggest group of organisations providing information for the NFI, which will be extended to cover central government and private sector employees from October, although submitting information will be voluntary.

Chairman of the Local Government Association Sir Simon Milton, said all councils had dedicated fraud teams, many of which had recouped "significant amounts of revenue and resources".

"This report demonstrates that councils are working hard to crack down on illegal claims for benefits, council tax discounts, compensation and disabled parking badges."

He said councils and the Audit Commission had increasingly sophisticated methods of detecting fraud, but also still relied on "law-abiding people to be their eyes and ears".

Once council singled out for praise was Southwark, in London, which has so far recovered 30 properties after using NFI information about tenancy fraud.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7409024.stm
 

James_H

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Has anyone mentioned the speaker scam? Someone I know actually fell for it :? and several other people I know have been approached by scammers of this type...
Basically, it involves packaging some terrible speakers in the boxes of some very good speakers, claiming to be delivery drivers with a surplus shipment, which has to be get rid of at a reduced price.
 

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A related one was described by rapper Ice-T in last saturday's Guardian magazine - selling fake diamond rings at the bus station. As in 'I bought this ring for my mother, it cost $800, but I can't afford my bus home, and you can have it for $100 as I desperately need to get home'. He said it was OK, as only greedy people fall for that sort of thing. :?
 

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He said it was OK, as only greedy people fall for that sort of thing. Confused
To quote Mr Wednesday from Gainman's American Gods - "You can always con a honest man, but why do the extra work"


"People are stealing homes, pensions, student loans, parking places and benefits, seemingly confident that no one is tracking them. They are wrong.
If they're wrong, then why are record levels of benefits being stolen? :? I always think that when i see the scare posters on the bus that make like they're watching you or following you all the time. Creepy and unpleasant, and also dumb, because if they really could bust all the benefit cheats, they'd be doing it rather than talking about doing it...
 

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Hedge fund fraudster hunted after suicide 'mystery'
By James Quinn in New York
Last Updated: 10:46PM BST 11/06/2008

An international manhunt is underway after an American hedge fund fraudster disappeared, appearing to have committed suicide, just an hour before he was due to start a 20-year prison sentence.
The FBI and New York State Police are leading the search for Samuel Israel III, the founder of the Bayou Group of hedge funds who was sentenced in April and ordered to pay $300m (£150m) in restitution to defrauded clients.

Mr Israel had been due to surrender himself to authorities in Massachusetts at 2pm on Monday afternoon, but at 12.30pm that day, officials at the Bear Mountain Bridge in northern New York State spotted his burgundy GMC 4X4 car.

The keys were still in the ignition of the vehicle, with the words "suicide is painless" – the theme from former US television series M*A*S*H – etched onto the vehicle's bonnet in dust. Prescription medication was also found in the glove compartment.

Bruce Cuccia, a senior investigator with the New York State Police department, said: "Besides that, there was nothing much in the car. No witnesses saw anybody jump from the bridge," adding that video cameras on the bridge, which sits above the deepest point of the Hudson River, did not film him leaving the vehicle.

After a full day of searching by the police and the FBI, the US Marshalls Service, which is responsible for tracing on-the-run felons, began its own search.

No body has been found, and authorities have yet to determine whether or not Mr Israel committed suicide.

Mr Cuccia pointed out that bodies of those who jump from the Bear Mountain Bridge, which is about 40 miles north of Manhattan, usually appear after a few days.

Mr Israel's girlfriend, Debbie Ryan, is reported to have told police that he left their home in Armonk, New York, around 9.30am that morning to leave for prison, and that she has not heard from him since.

Not everyone was convinced by his apparent suicide, however.

"I'll believe it when I see a body," Ross Intelisano, a lawyer representing investors who lost $25m in Bayou's collapse told the New York Times.

"All of the clients I spoke to, their initial reaction was that it's a ruse. It's just another fraudulent act."


The $450m fraud at Bayou Group, of which Mr Israel was founder and chief executive, ranks among the worse in the hedge fund industry, whose participants specialise in actively investing money in a variety of complex ways that should lead to higher returns that the traditional fund management industry.

Investors in the firm's funds lost more than $450m between 1998 and 2005, after directors hatched a scheme to conceal losses by faking audited accounts to hide losses.

In addition to Mr Israel, Bayou''s former chief financial officer Daniel Marino and hedge fund manager James Marquez were sentenced to 20 years and 51 months respectively in January.

All three had pleaded previously pleaded guilty to their respective crimes.

In sentencing Mr Israel in April, US District Judge Colleen McMahon, who referred to him as the "mastermind" of the scheme, said: "Financial fraud, white-collar crimes are every bit as heinous as every other type of crime and they will be punished severely."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... ry%27.html
 

rynner2

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Forty charged in bogus crash case

Forty people have been charged over an alleged £5.3m insurance fraud after a two-year investigation by Bedfordshire Police and the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

Those charged are accused of making false insurance claims following staged vehicle collisions.

The arrests were made during dawn raids by police in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Berkshire.

Twenty-six defendants are due to appear at Luton Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and Wednesday on a range of charges.

These include conspiracy to defraud, possession of criminal property, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and obtaining, or attempting to obtain, a money transfer by deception.

Fourteen other people are expected to appear before Luton Magistrates on 24 July.

The police operation called Exhort started in May 2006 and centred on Luton.

It relates to an insurance fraud sometimes known as "cash for crash".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7457908.stm

I found this especially fascinating, since it was only a week or so ago that I read a crime novel (set in California) where such staged crashes formed a big part of the plot.
 

rynner2

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Schoolboy hacker Omar Khan who upped his grades faces 38 years in jail
Chris Ayres in Los Angeles

It could be a long time before Omar Khan goes to college: as long as 38 years, according to Orange County prosecutors, who have arrested and charged the 18-year-old student with breaking into his prestigious high school and hacking into computers to change his test grades from Fs to As.

If convicted on all 69 counts, including altering and stealing public records, computer fraud, burglary, identity theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy, Mr Khan could spend almost four decades in prison.

He is currently being held on $50,000 (£25,500) bail and is scheduled to appear in court today.

Mr Khan’s defence lawyer, Carol Lavacol, described her client as “a really nice kid” and said: “There’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.”

Prosecutors claim that between January and May, Mr Khan, who lives in Coto de Caza, one of Orange County’s oldest and most expensive gated communities, repeatedly broke into Tesoro High School, which was made famous by the reality TV series Real Housewives of Orange County.

In an alleged plot that resembles the script to the 1986 high school comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, prosecutors claim that he then used teachers’ passwords to hack into computers and change his test scores. In at least one test, an English exam, Mr Khan had been given an F grade because he was caught cheating.

Prosecutors claim that the teenager, who is alleged to have broken into the school late at night with a stolen master key, also changed the grades of 12 other students, and that he installed spyware on school hard drives that allowed him to access the computers from remote locations.

Tesoro High has 2,800 pupils and often appears in Newsweek magazine’s annual list of best high schools.

Mr Khan’s plan, the prosecution argues, was to get a place at one of the colleges within the University of California system. After his application was rejected, he requested copies of his student records, known as “transcripts” in the US educational system, so he could appeal. But when teachers looked at his files and noticed all the A grades that had magically appeared next to all the courses he had taken they realised something was wrong.

“School administrators alerted law enforcement after noticing a discrepancy in Mr Khan’s grades,” the Orange County District Attorney’s office said. “Subsequent investigation revealed that Mr Khan was in possession of original tests, test questions and answers, and copies of his altered grades. Khan is accused of stealing master copies of tests, some of which were e-mailed to dozens of students.”

The case has once again raised the question of whether technology, in particular mobile phones that can access the internet, has resulted in an epidemic of cheating in the high-school system. The Orange County Register, a local newspaper, asked its readers yesterday to respond to a poll asking if “technology is giving [students] an advantage”, or whether it is just “the same stuff using new tools”.

Another student, Tanvir Singh, also 18, is accused of conspiring with Mr Khan and faces up to three years in prison. The pair allegedly exchanged text messages last month while organising a break-in.

Jim Amormino, of the local sheriff’s department, said that he was astonished by the sophistication of the scheme, especially given the age of the defendants. “I think they [now] wish they would have put their talents into studying,” he said.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 168112.ece
 

GNC

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Thirty-eight years?! Matthew Broderick did the same in WarGames and he didn't get that much!
 

rynner2

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rynner said:
Hedge fund fraudster hunted after suicide 'mystery'
Fugitive hedge fund fraudster surrenders
By James Quinn in New York
Last Updated: 6:42PM BST 02/07/2008

An international man hunt has ended after a fugitive hedge fund fraudster handed himself in to police after three weeks on the run.
Samuel Israel III, who tried to fake his own suicide last month in an attempt to avoid a 20-year prison sentence for his part in a $450m fraud, surrendered at a police station in Southwick, Massachusetts, this morning.

Israel, 48, disappeared on June 9, the same day he was supposed to report to prison to begin his sentence. His four-wheel-drive was later found parked close to the Bear Mountain bridge, in New York state, a common suicide spot.

He had daubed "Suicide is Painless" in dust on the bonnet of the car, the keys were still in the ignition and prescription medication was found in the glove box.

Police monitored the Hudson River below the bridge in a search for his body, but there were immediate suspicions he had faked suicide and the US Marshalls, the FBI and Interpol began a manhunt.

Debra Ryan, his girlfriend, was charged on June 19 with assisting him, with prosecutors alleging that she helped him load his belongings into a motor home and attached a scooter to it in the days before he was due to go to prison.

She has since also admitted that he woke her up early on the morning of June 9 to ask her to follow him in her car, as he dropped off the motor home at a highway rest area before returning home with her. Later that day, he left the house in his four-wheel-drive, but Miss Ryan said she never saw him again.

Police suspect he fled in the motor home, but his exact movement have not yet been established. In the end, he turned himself in just 95 miles from the federal prison in Ayers, Massachusetts, where he is due to serve his sentence.

The fraud at the Bayou Group of hedge funds, of which Israel was founder and chief executive, ranks among the worst in the industry, with investors losing more than $450m between 1998 and 2005, after directors hatched a scheme to conceal losses by faking audited accounts.

In addition to Israel, Daniel Marino, Bayou's former chief financial officer, and James Marquez, a hedge fund manager, were sentenced to 20 years and 51 months respectively. All three had pleaded previously pleaded guilty.

In sentencing Israel in April, US District Judge Colleen McMahon, who referred to him as the "mastermind" of the scheme, said: "Financial fraud, white-collar crimes are every bit as heinous as every other type of crime and they will be punished severely."

Hedge fund managers specialise in investing money in a variety of complex ways that should lead to higher returns that the traditional fund management industry.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... nders.html
 

rynner2

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Priest faces questions over how '£350,000 destined for Lourdes ended up in his bank account'
By Peter Allen
Last updated at 1:32 AM on 03rd July 2008

The treasurer of the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes was yesterday at the centre of a major fraud inquiry.

Father Raymond Zambelli, 65, rector of the site of 66 recognised miracles, has been asked to explain how at least £350,000 raised for the sick and dying ended up in his account.

More than six million pilgrims visit the town in south-west France every year, many of them donating huge amounts of money to its upkeep.

Police confirmed that an inquiry into the ' misappropriation of funds' had been launched, looking at several individuals including a priest.

Much of the money was raised for the sick and the dying who visit the shrine in the foothills of the Pyrenees in south west France every year because they believe it is a place of miracles.

Father Zambelli, who last night denied all wrong doing, was due to welcome the Pope to Lourdes in September to celebrate its 150th anniversary as a place of Christian pilgrimage.

Instead he will now be asked to explain how at least £350,000 destined for Lourdes came to end up in his personal bank account.

As a priest Father Zambelli’s annual salary would be less than £10,000, with his food, accommodation and other living costs all taken care of.

In was in 1858 that schoolgirl Bernadette Soubirous is said to have witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes.

Now more than six million visitors a year flock to the town, many of them contributing huge amounts of money towards its upkeep.

Thousands of British people are among the pilgrims, many arriving via coach or at the nearby airport of Tarbes.

The authorities were first alerted to 'unusual money movements' at Lourdes by Tracfin, the money-laundering arm of the French finance ministry.

Transactions involving Father Zambelli were picked up on June 5th, and have been tracked every since.

The case was so sensitive, however, that the prosecutor general in the nearby town of Pau wrote to French justice minister Rachida Dati asking for the enquiry to be postponed until after a visit by the Pope in September.

Jean-François Lorans wrote in the leaked note: 'This affair is particularly sensitive because Lourdes is preparing to welcome the Pope, Benedict XVI on September 13th 2008.'

Mr Lorans added that the 'arrest and questioning of Father Zambelli should not take place until after the Pope’s visit to France.'

since schoolgirl Bernadette Soubirous apparently witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1858

Visitor numbers to Lourdes are rising each year, especially because of this year's 150th Jubilee Year.

With a population of just 15,000, the town has two and a half times that number of tourist beds - more than anywhere in France except Paris.

Since Bernadette’s apparitions - she had 18 in all - more than 200 million pilgrims have made their way to the town, and there have been 66 officially-recognised miracles.

The last miracle, involving a middle-aged Frenchman with multiple sclerosis, was ratified by the Church following medical recommendations in 1999.

Today Father Zambelli said: 'I am innocent, and will clear my name.'

Local police confirmed that a preliminary enquiry into the 'misappropriation of funds' had been launched.

He added: 'A number of people, including a Roman Catholic priest, are being investigated.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldne ... count.html
 

Timble2

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rynner said:
....Father Raymond Zambelli, 65, rector of the site of 66 recognised miracles, has been asked to explain how at least £350,000 raised for the sick and dying ended up in his account.....
Father Ted LIves!
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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Timble2 said:
rynner said:
....Father Raymond Zambelli, 65, rector of the site of 66 recognised miracles, has been asked to explain how at least £350,000 raised for the sick and dying ended up in his account.....
Father Ted LIves!
Craggy Island awaits!
 

rynner2

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"... Ted still insists he was innocent, regularly claiming that "the money was just resting in my account", and that it was "a perfectly legitimate monetary transfer"."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Ted
 

rynner2

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Fraudster known as the Bogus Contessa is jailed
By Richard Alleyne
Last Updated: 8:23PM BST 03/07/2008

A convicted fraudster has been jailed for posing as an incredibly wealthy noblewoman to con the life-savings out of vulnerable victims.
Elda Beguinua, 63, who was imprisoned for a similar fraud 11 years ago, spun a "fairytale" web of deceit about a treasure so "staggeringly vast" that its dollar value could only be described in court as "300 followed by 41 zeros".

The designer-clad blonde pretended to be a "great, great, great granddaughter" of a Spanish nobleman and heir to fortune that included two million tonnes of gold.

The fact she knew this was 57 times the total mined worldwide for the last 150 years and was "nothing but a ridiculous, make-believe amount" did not bother her in the slightest, the court heard. 8)

In a classic "advance fee" fraud, the self-styled Countess Beguinua claimed she needed money to access her vast wealth which she claimed came from Spanish galleons laden with gold spirited away 700 years earlier after her family was "ousted'' by the Conquistadors.

Her two main victims, said to be among many, parted with thousands of pounds, lured by the promise of returns of up to 350 per cent a week and never saw their money again.

Judge Jeremy McMullen QC said she was a "fraudster of the first order" who "preyed on vulnerable people" as she was jailed for five years.

He said that her earlier conviction in 1997 in which she had attempted to defraud British financial institutions out of £16 trillion showed "breathtaking audacity" but this was much worse.

"The victims in this case are not banks well able to see you through with substantial resources," he said.

"You preyed on the humanitarian kindness of two vulnerable people."

During the three week trial the jury heard Beguinua's tales of vast wealth had clearly been so much "illusion" and she used "flattery and charm" to entice people in to the fraud.

She was a "practised and persuasive fraudster who deliberately manipulated and deceived unfortunate people" out of their savings, used stolen cash to build up a multi-million-pound nest egg "back home", and employed maids, cooks and chauffeurs with other people's money.

Beguinua told jurors that the fortune was created from "galleon trading and bartering" by Senor Don Felipe Carlos Del Carmen de Avila, who, as her great-great-great-grandfather, would have lived in the 1800s.

She maintained that, after he and his family were later ousted by the Conquistadores (explorer soldiers of the 15th and 16th centuries), the treasure was shipped from Spain to her native Philippines.

Once in the Far East most was stashed in "unmarked caves and secret hiding places", where it was kept safe by retired "generals and colonels" she called "guardians".

Sadly, despite their "ex-militia" status, they had been reduced to "wearing loincloths and eating bananas and potatoes".

Her "retinue" of believers were also assured that more wealth was in 57 bank accounts in 33 countries.

Unfortunately for her credibility, 10 of the addresses she supplied were hotels. But that did not stop her claiming the deposits were so huge they could damage their host economies if withdrawn.

Two people whose savings she plundered by deceit gave up their well-paid jobs, handed her more than £23,000 they could ill afford and worked for her for nothing for about a year.

The twice married mother-of-two, now of Woodward Road, Dulwich, south east London, was born in the Philippines and is thought to have arrived in Britain in 1987.

Outside court, case officer Detective Constable Roger Noakes, of the Metropolitan Police's Economic and Specialist Crime Unit, said: "Elda Beguinua has callously manipulated victims to get money without any remorse for the misery caused."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... ailed.html
 

rynner2

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Another priest with his hand in the till (allegedly... ;) )

Deputy mayor resigns from office

London's deputy mayor has resigned two months into his post amid claims of financial irregularities.

Ray Lewis faced allegations regarding his time as a vicar in east London in the late 1990s and head of a youth academy scheme in 2003.

It emerged he was placed under formal Church of England disciplinary measures between 1999 and 2005.

Mr Lewis, who had special responsibility for youth, described the claims as groundless and rubbish.

London Mayor Boris Johnson appointed Mr Lewis as one of several deputy mayors with special portfolios, such as business and policing.

Mr Lewis said: "I cannot allow the things going on around me to obscure the important business of this very important mayoralty and for that reason I must step down with immediate affect.

"London faces enormous challenges and I believed in all my heart that I was best placed to do that, but it's important to get on with the business of this mayoralty without this business hanging over Boris' head.

"Yet today again we learn of another murder and yet so much time and attention's been given over to something that may or may not have happened 10-12 years ago, and of course you know that I flatly deny it."

Mr Lewis resigned the same day Mr Johnson formally opened an independent inquiry into the allegations.

Martin Narey, the former chief of the Prison and Probation Service, will be heading the probe.

It is now unclear how the inquiry will progress.

The deputy mayor faced multiple claims, including one which centred on allegations that he was entrusted with £25,000 from a woman in the congregation in the Parish of St Matthew, West Ham in the Diocese of Chelmsford.

Mr Lewis was placed on the Church of England's Lambeth and Bishopsthorpe Register - the so-called Lambeth List - in 1999.

People on the list are prevented from public ministry and preaching.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7490687.stm
 

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Clerk jailed for £72m bank fraud

A bank clerk who tried to steal almost £72m from the HSBC bank has been jailed for nine years.

Jagmeet Channa, 25, who worked at the firm's headquarters at London's Canary Wharf, used colleagues' identities to plunder accounts.

A court heard Channa sent 90m euros (£71,632,807) to two accounts, within minutes, in April this year.

Channa, of Church Road, Ilford, east London, admitted conspiracy to defraud and a charge of money laundering.

Sophisticated enterprise

Sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC said: "This was no silly prank. This was a carefully planned and very serious attempt to transfer a fortune in money away, and it almost succeeded.

"Others were involved, perhaps several others, and in the absence of any explanation from you I must assume this was a planned and sophisticated criminal enterprise."

The court heard how Channa was the inside man in what police described as one of the one of the largest frauds of its kind.

Following the orders of fellow conspirators, and expecting a substantial cut for his "audacious and outrageous" crime, he sent 60m euros (£47,970,227) from a trading account to Morocco.

Minutes later he wired 30m euros (£23,984,113) to a branch of Barclays in Manchester.

He was eventually found out after forgetting to leave the account he had raided with a zero balance.

The huge debit was discovered by HSBC workers in Malaysia on a Sunday who alerted their colleagues in London sparking an immediate investigation.

Two of Channa's colleagues, whose passwords were used to carry out and approve the transactions, were initially questioned but soon declared innocent.

A review of security cameras and other inquiries led officials to Channa.

Meanwhile both Barclays and the bank in Casablanca had been contacted, the account frozen and the stolen money returned.

After sentencing Det Sgt Martin Peters said: "This crime is believed to be one of the largest frauds of its kind and it is thanks to the prompt response of the police and the banks that the money was recovered."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7493443.stm
 

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" . . . in the absence of any explanation from you I must assume this was a planned and sophisticated criminal enterprise."

They said this about Grannie and that fatal tin of salmon. :(
 

rynner2

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I got a MS update this morning. Then I found this:

Internet security breach tackled

Computer experts have released software to tackle a major security glitch in the internet addressing system.

The flaw, discovered by accident, would allow criminals to redirect users to fake webpages, even if they typed the correct address into a browser.

Internet giants like Microsoft are now distributing the security patch.

Security expert Dan Kaminsky said that the case was unprecedented, but added: "People should be concerned but they should not be panicking."

He discovered the error in the Domain Name System (DNS) about six months ago.

DNS is used to convert web addresses written in words - such as www.bbc.com - into the numerical sequences used by computers to route internet traffic around the world.

The glitch would make it simple to operate "phishing" scams, in which users are directed to fake webpages supposedly for genuine banks or businesses and tricked into disclosing credit card details or other personal data.

Mr Kaminsky held talks with computer giants such as Microsoft, Sun and Cisco in March, and has been part of a team engaged in secret research since then, developing the security patch which has now been released simultaneously for all computer platforms.

Technical details are being kept secret for another month to give companies a chance to update their computers, before hackers try to unpick the patch.

Personal computers should pick up the patch through automated updates.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7496735.stm

Although at the moment my main problem is electrical power - there have been three cuts in the last hour, barely long enough to blink the lights, but long enough to switch the computer off... :(
 

rynner2

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Sixth-former on work experience stole thousands from top law firm in cheque scam
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:41 PM on 08th July 2008

A sixth who stole thousands of pounds while on work experience with a top international law firm was jailed for five months yesterday.

Within three days of joining Freshfields, Titilayo Olaifa used the computer system to generate company cheques.

She forged her boss’s signatures and paid them into her bank.

Southwark Crown Court in London heard that two cheques for a total of £13,500 were processed and the money withdrawn before the City-based firm realised what was happening.

Olaifa, 19, of Clapton, East London, pleaded guilty to theft and fraud last June. She is now doing a management degree at Essex University.

Olaifa sobbed as Judge Martin Beddoe said that while he had ‘sought very hard’ not to disrupt her ‘there is no other method of dealing with you other than by a custodial sentence’.

The judge added she would serve her sentence in a young offenders’ institution.

The teenager then became hysterical and had to be prevented from leaving the dock and going to her distraught mother in the public gallery.

Eventually she was restrained and taken to the cells below.

The court heard that Olaifa was just 15 when she was assigned for a couple of weeks to Freshfields, which has 2,400 lawyers in 18 countries.

She impressed her colleagues so much that when she asked for another short-term placement three years later, they readily agreed.

She refused to tell police what had happened to the money, none of which has been recovered.

But she claimed to a probation officer that her then boyfriend forced her to betray her bosses, took the money she obtained and then disappeared with every penny.

The judge said that while he accepted someone else was involved he had ‘serious doubts’ that she was forced into crime.

In fact, considering her crimes began just 72 hours after returning to the law firm, it seemed to him she ‘went back with this in mind’.

He continued: ‘The fact is you made the choice to do as you did and really no one else is to blame. It was a very clear and determined course of conduct.

‘Where the money has gone, you have chosen not to say. I find it hard to think you have got nothing out of this offending.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1033436/Sixth-work-experience-stole-thousands-law-firm-cheque-scam.html
 

rynner2

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Nigerian football conmen exposed

An undercover BBC investigation has exposed how young African footballers are being conned out of thousands of dollars by Nigerian fraudsters.

One gang which was confronted pretended to be Manchester United officials working with manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Another conman was impersonating the chief talent scout for Chelsea to trick naive teenagers into wiring him cash.

They prey on the thousands of amateur players who post their details online hoping to be spotted by English agents.

Victims are often duped into sending money in the false belief that they are paying official registration fees to have a trial to play for their favourite English Premier League clubs.

The fraudsters simply pocket the money and disappear.

For the BBC investigation, an undercover reporter played the role of the father of a young Ghanaian striker keen to make it big in England.

In that guise, he contacted a man who called himself Paul Jones and claimed online to represent Manchester United. The man falsely boasted that he worked closely with Sir Alex.

In e-mails and secretly recorded phone conversations, Mr Jones claimed that Sir Alex was so impressed by the BBC's fictional player that he wanted to him to come for a two-year trial.

Mr Jones said that the club would coach the player to stardom once a "registration fee" of more than $7,000 (£3,500) was paid.

"As soon as your child comes over here in London, the club will sponsor their food, their accommodation, all the necessary things they need in the club. So after two years of the training, if the player performs well, he will join Manchester United," Mr Jones promised in one call.

In an effort to persuade the undercover reporter that his offer was genuine, Mr Jones e-mailed several fake player registration forms.

The documents were headed with the club's official logo. But one obvious error was that the instructions stated the form should be addressed to legendary United manager, Sir Matt Busby - who died in 1994.

In a sting operation, the undercover reporter persuaded Mr Jones to send his assistant, a "Dr Frank Johnson" to meet him at a hotel in the Nigerian city of Lagos to receive the cash in person.

At the meeting, Dr Johnson was secretly filmed as he produced another fake registration form.

He assured the undercover reporter that Manchester United were keen to recruit more African players and that his son would be well provided for.

"What we do is give them a good contract. That is why you have to sign as a sponsor," he said.

"We will prepare an apartment for your son and give him special training so he will improve. Then we will set him up with another club or he will play with us."

Dr Johnson's sales pitch was brought to an abrupt end when BBC reporter Gavin Lee and a camera crew approached and confronted him.

Despite the evidence on tape, Dr Johnson initially denied he was a fake. But he later confessed that his real name was John and that he was ashamed of his actions.

He was taken away and questioned by a Nigerian policeman who provided security for the sting.

The BBC team was allowed to examine Dr Johnson's mobile phone and found it contained texts that suggested he was involved with scams involving victims across Africa and Europe. Several people had sent him their bank details.

In the phone's directory the number for the BBC's undercover reporter was listed under "mugu" - the word used by Nigerian fraudsters to describe those that they swindle.

......

Nigerian's Sport and Tourism Ambassador John Fashanu commended the BBC investigation for highlighting the perils faced by young African players who want to play abroad.

The former Wimbledon player and England international said there needed to be greater action against the conmen who were ripping off their fellow Africans.

"They have seen an opportunity to make money and they are making money off desperate young Nigerian, Ghanaian, South African, African, Third World country footballers who all want to live of professional footballers like Thierry Henri, Kanu and Jay Jay Okocha," he said.

Often those who fall for scammers like this are from poor backgrounds. Their families scrape together the fees in the vain hope of giving their children a route out of poverty.

Players as young as 12 post their photo, phone number, e-mail address and in some cases even their passport details online in the hope of getting an agent.

Most appear to be unaware that English clubs would never demand money from a player they were considering signing.

These ambitious amateurs seem largely ignorant that under immigration regulations it would be impossible for them to get a British work permit.

They would not qualify as they have not played several games for their own national sides. And it is this naivety which the fraudsters exploit to ruthless effect.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/7505395.stm
 

The late Pete Younger

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APPLETON, Wis. - A woman accused of planting a dead lab rat in restaurant food and demanding $500,000 to keep quiet was charged Monday with one felony count of extortion. Debbie R. Miller, 41, of Appleton, also faces misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer.

Miller claimed to find the rat in her lunch April 17 as she ate at the upscale Seasons Restaurant in Grand Chute, according to the criminal complaint.

She threatened to alert the media unless the owners paid her $500,000, the complaint said.

The owners turned the rat over to their insurance company. Investigators there determined the rodent was a white laboratory rat, the complaint said.

Tests also suggested the rodent had been cooked in a microwave, but the restaurant doesn't use microwaves in cooking.

Miller said the incident caused her to seek unspecified medical treatment. She was being held Monday in the Outagamie County jail in lieu of $1,500 cash bond.

Court Commissioner Brian Figy said the bond amount reflected Miller's lack of a criminal record.

"The defendant may have some physical or mental issues and has no warrant history," Figy said. "But the allegations are rather disturbing."

Online court records did not list a defense attorney for Miller, who is due back in court Thursday for further proceedings. The extortion charge carries a maximum penalty of 3 1/2 years in prison.
 

Timble2

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Ratatouille with real rats! :D
 

rynner2

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American writer reveals how she conned experts with Noël Coward forgeries
Even by the standards of audacious literary scams, it was a remarkable project. Armed with Noël Coward's diaries and a British dictionary, a New York author turned out some 150 forged letters attributed to one of England's most gifted and flamboyant writers.
By Philip Sherwell in New York and Christopher Hastings
Last Updated: 10:46PM BST 26 Jul 2008

Down on her luck and desperate for money, Lee Israel sold the phony missives - along with hundreds of other notes in the name of such American literary luminaries as Dorothy Parker and Lillian Hellman - to dealers in autographs and letters across the US.

To her delight, she captured the merciless wit and gossipy tone of the English playwright and actor with such pitch-perfect panache that two of her compositions ended up in the critically-acclaimed Letters of Noël Coward when it was published last year.

Miss Israel confesses all about the astonishing hoax in a highly entertaining, raucously honest and near-shameless memoir to be published next month, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (a title drawn from an invented line she penned for Parker).

In an interview in the chaotic Manhattan apartment from where she conducted her forgery racket, she told The Sunday Telegraph: "I loved doing Noël. I sat down with his diaries and a British dictionary and had a collection of Noëlisms for inspiration. He was so outré. It was such fun."

Indeed, she considers the inclusion of the bogus billets in the new collection, a 10-year project edited by Barry Day, one of the world's foremost experts on Coward, to be her greatest triumph. "For me, this was a big hoot and a terrific compliment," she writes in her book.

Her revelations were greeted with less exuberance in Britain this weekend. "We understand that two letters in the book may be forged," said Alan Brodie, the literary agent who represents both the Noël Coward Estate and Mr Day. "The whole thing as come as a complete shock to us and we are looking into it.

"Barry is going through the files trying to work out where he got those letters from. He spent 10 years gathering the letters from all sorts of places. It was a major operation."

A & C Black, the book's British publisher, said the letters had been obtained from respectable archives and were extremely plausible. A spokeswoman said the company was now discussing whether to drop them letters from the paperback version to be published in the autumn - as the US publisher has already decided to do.

Mr Day has written seven previous books on Coward, is a trustee of the Noël Coward Foundation which provides financial support to British theatre companies and is Vice-President of the Noël Coward Society.

Miss Israel, 68, a biographer of the colourful American actress Tallulah Bankhead and the cosmetics queen Estee Lauder, proudly shows photocopies of the two offending letters in her thick forgeries file at home in the scene of her crimes. In one, Mr Day notes in his collection, Coward apparently scorns attempts by younger playwrights to consign him to theatrical irrelevance during the 1960s.

Coward purportedly writes: "My professional demise has been predicted gleefully for years now by the same types who blame the Queen Mother for their own dreary lives and meagre talents... Any intercourse with them leaves me bored and inordinately depressed."

And in the second, Miss Israel has Coward turn his thoughts to the prospects of Julie Andrews playing his dear friend Gertrude Lawrence in the film Star!. "She is a bright, talented actress and quite attractive since she dealt with her monstrous English over-bite," he observes.

Other fake Coward letters, all supposedly written from his home in Montreux, Switzerland, abound with the sort of vituperative wit and bon mots for which he was famous.

In one, she has him confess that he has failed to shake his nicotine addiction, observing: "If I am sacrificing two or three years of incontinent old age, tant pis! (That's French for 'I saw your aunt in the loo!')" In another of her inventions, he talks derisively about the singing talents of an unnamed soprano. "I am quite certain that it is her high 'C' what killed my tropical fish, though he conceivably could have been a suicide." Marlene Dietrich often appears as "the old Kraut".

Miss Israel, who is unmarried, turned to a life of literary forgery in 1990 when her own writing career dried up and she was desperate to pay her rent and meet the vet's bills for a beloved cat. "Time was passing, my money was all spent, I was on welfare and my apartment was in peril. I was poor and it was scary," she recalls.

She copied letterheads and signatures and studied style in correspondence in the prestigious Lincoln Centre library, then went to work with her ageing typewriter at home. She found a ready market from autograph dealers willing to pay her from $80 to $250, no questions asked, for each letter - including a one-off Humphrey Bogart.

"I have a background writing parody and humour and put that to good use," she says. "But the dealers said they would pay more for better content - the more scandalous, the better. So of course I made them more scandalous."


But eventually that flair was her downfall. For she started to litter Coward's correspondence with barely-veiled high-camp allusions to his homosexuality, something he never acknowledged during his life but did address in the posthumously-published diaries that were the source of her inspiration.

Those references prompted the first suspicions in collecting circles that the letters she was selling might be fakes. By the summer of 1992, a dealer was co-operating with the FBI and Miss Israel was caught in a sting operation after she expanded her operations to stealing original letters from libraries - the one act that she admits causes her deep shame.

By contrast, she has no guilt about her output of forgeries. "I hewed close to the facts and didn't take real liberties with the truth. People enjoyed reading them and I don't feel any shame for that."

Miss Israel pleaded guilty at her one-day trial in Sept 1993 and was sentenced to six months house arrest and five years' probation. She subsequently found legitimate work as a magazine copy editor and regaled friends with tales of her exploits over dinner before she belatedly decided to commit those memories to paper.

The book is already causing a huge buzz in New York literary circles, with opinions sharply divided over whether Miss Israel should be condemned for her offences or hailed for her talents. Her 18,000-word memoir, which publishers Simon & Schuster say has been carefully checked for accuracy, has already been optioned for film rights - further proof of Coward's current and continuing appeal.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2461664 ... eries.html
 

rynner2

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Arrests after city fuel dump raid

A woman and a man have been arrested and tens of thousands of pounds seized in a raid on an illegal fuel dump in west Belfast.

The dump, which had been under surveillance for months, was located in an industrial estate between the Crumlin and Shankill roads.

The fuel had been brought in from the Republic via south Armagh, where it was laundered.

More than 5,000 litres of fuel were seized.

Around 100 people were involved in the operation - local Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs investigators were joined by colleagues from England. Police officers and staff from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency were also involved.

"Early this afternoon, they moved into the industrial estate and seized a van that had arrived just minutes earlier," said BBC NI home affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney.

"The van contained around 3,000 litres of diesel laundered in the republican heartland of south Armagh and then delivered to loyalist west Belfast."

Surveillance

Customs officials who have had the depot under surveillance for months said it has been receiving two deliveries a day and selling around 36,000 litres of fuel every week.

It is estimated that each year those who run the depot could make a profit of £400,000, which equates to £1m in lost tax revenue.

"The way the laundered fuel is transported and sold is so dangerous, customs officials have described it as a 'portable bomb'," added Mr Kearney.

"This is a bit like having a bomb in your own backyard.

"What we've got here is fuel which is volatile, and it's being delivered and stored in vehicles and premises which are not designed for the delivery and storage of fuel." :shock:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7638713.stm
 

ramonmercado

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"The van contained around 3,000 litres of diesel laundered in the republican heartland of south Armagh and then delivered to loyalist west Belfast."
Its great to see such cross-community co-operation against the excisemen!
 

Ginando

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I seem to be getting a vast increase in the number of hoax 'You have won the Mongolian Lottery' or 'Please allow me to introduce myself. I am an auditor for the Bank of Umbogo and I just happened upon $20 million dollars which I want to share with you' type of scams.

Why are they picking on me? What if the Bank of Umbogo really did want to give me some money. I could miss out!
 

ramonmercado

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Ginando said:
I seem to be getting a vast increase in the number of hoax 'You have won the Mongolian Lottery' or 'Please allow me to introduce myself. I am an auditor for the Bank of Umbogo and I just happened upon $20 million dollars which I want to share with you' type of scams.

Why are they picking on me? What if the Bank of Umbogo really did want to give me some money. I could miss out!
I'm being swamped with them as well. I also win several lottery prizes a week.
 

ramonmercado

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A fake museum & fake cures! This guy was some grifter.

Korean man 'ran museum of fakes'

A 60-year-old South Korean man ran a private museum stuffed with fakes, police said as they arrested him.

The man collected 530 million won ($443,000) from people who thought the objects on display were ancient treasures, AFP news agency reported.

The man, who police named only as Mr Yu, is said to have bought ceramics and other items from flea markets.

The museum was set up in August 2004 and has attracted more than 130,000 visitors, police said.

Police told AFP that 153 of the 184 artefacts on display at the museum in Gongju, about 160km (100 miles) south of the capital, Seoul, were fakes.

Mr Yu had apparently claimed his collection included artefacts of "Koryo Dynasty celadon" dating to the 10th-14th centuries.

He had pretended to be a herbal medicine doctor with a doctorate and various citations from the president and prime minister, police said.

AFP also reported that he is suspected of taking 240 million won prescribing fake cures to patients.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/a ... 645966.stm
 

JoeWestSydney

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Mr Yu should get a job on Wall Street.... his skills in the area of fraud and misrepresentation are obviously above the average.

Joe
 
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