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Fraud squad detectives question man suspected of setting up bogus construction company for purpose of laundering money

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Fraud squad detectives question man suspected of setting up bogus construction company for purpose of laundering money

Fraud squad detectives question man suspected of setting up bogus construction company for purpose of laundering money
September 11
15:00 2021

Fraud squad detectives are continuing to question a man who was arrested yesterday and is suspected of setting up a bogus construction company for the purpose of laundering money for an international crime gang.

The Moldavan national is the second suspect to be arrested in relation to the bogus company in which over €60,000 of funds from two invoice redirect frauds was stored in its bank account.

“He is a director of a building company that has never done any building work. It is suspected that the fake company was set up so that it could open a business bank account to launder money,” a senior source said.

The investigation is being carried out by the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) who arrested another “company director” earlier this year.

This Romanian national was questioned at Blackrock Garda Station before being released without charge.

The two companies that were victims of the Irish based criminal organisation are based in the UK and Eastern Europe.

One company lost €59,500 in the scam while another lost just under €900 with the cash being transferred to the bank account linked to the bogus company.

Gardai announced details of the arrest operation today.

Gardaí attached to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) arrested a male, aged in his 30s, yesterday Wednesday 8th September 2021 as part of Operation SKEIN,” a spokeswoman said.

“The man was arrested for offences contrary to Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2006. He is suspected of laundering approximately €60,000 from two international invoice redirect frauds.

“The man is currently detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007 in Blanchardstown Garda Station. He can be detained for up to seven days.

“Operation SKEIN is an investigation into international BEC/Invoice redirect fraud being committed from Ireland, and the laundering of the proceeds through accounts here.

“It is estimated that this criminal organisation have stolen over €18 million worldwide in invoice redirect frauds/BEC frauds with the vast majority laundered through bank accounts in Ireland,” she added.

Invoice redirection fraud happens when a person or a business fall prey to requests, purporting to emanate from trusted suppliers or service providers, into believing that a beneficiary’s bank account details have been changed.

As a result, funds that are due to be paid out are transferred to a fraudulent account.

The GNECB are investigating multiple cases of this type of fraud on a daily basis.

The arrest is just the latest as part of Operation SKEIN which has led to over 30 arrests nationwide this year including three for directing the criminal organisation involved in the €18 million fraud as well as the detention of more than 20 money mules.

Money mule accounts are usually held by unconnected third parties, who are approached by recruiters and asked to allow their accounts be used for a transaction in exchange for a fee of a few hundred euro.

Often the fraudsters use students’ and young people’s bank account details by offering them a fee to allow use of their accounts for a few days.

Operation SKEIN is focusing on an international criminal organisation who have been using Irish bank accounts to store money stolen from companies in “every EU country, Russia, Canada, China, African countries and the US” gardai say.


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