The Queensland scam artists are suspected of pocketing 4 million Australian dollars (US$2.95 million) from up to 150 victims across the country, running “boiler room” investments scams in Australia’s Gold Coast.
Early on Monday, Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) raided three businesses and six residential properties in the Gold Coast, arresting four alleged syndicate ringleaders, including two Irish nationals.
The main target of the raid is believed to be Irishman Stephen Keating, although all of the alleged managers, aged 36, 34, 33 and 32, were to be formally charged with fraud.
The syndicate is said to have employed 45 people in call centers in Gold Coast and in another office in Robina.
High-pressure sales operations known as “boiler room” investment scams are believed to have been running from two of the call centers, located at Surfers Paradise and Bundall, from where victims received unsolicited calls offering fraudulent investment offers.
The Gold Coast area in Australia has become the center of “boiler room” scams in the last number of years with Australian police reporting that as much as $113 million ($83.4 million US) has been scammed from victims since 2012.
— Sunday World (@sundayworld) August 17, 2015
The CCC reports that this particular scam sold “fraudulent computer software and managed investment schemes” to at least 150 victims over the last 18 months, although it is likely there are more victims they are not yet aware of.
“The companies behind this syndicate used techniques to deceive people, including the use of virtual offices, false identities, fake receptionists and fake testimonials,” the CCC said.
“Sales people use high-pressure and dishonest sales tactics to sell fraudulent investment schemes and sports betting software to members of the public. It is sophisticated organized criminal activity.”
TheJournal.ie reports that betting software was aggressively sold to victims convinced that it provided a foolproof way to beat the bookmakers. The software was said to allow users to bet on both sides of a two-sided sporting event to make a profit while, in reality, bookmakers do not accept bets of this kind.
Police also believe that some of the victims’ money may have already gone offshore.
It is alleged that the companies LTC Services, AIC International, Sansar Connect, Synergy Financials, Adamson’s Financial Services, Compass Capital Group and PH Trading were used as a front for the scam.
H/T: The Journal.ie