herald

Sunday 25 June 2017

Two suspects are held over €900k cash transfer scam

'The suspects, who have been living in Ireland for a number of years, were being held at Blanchardstown Garda Station after their arrest by fraud squad officers yesterday morning'
'The suspects, who have been living in Ireland for a number of years, were being held at Blanchardstown Garda Station after their arrest by fraud squad officers yesterday morning'

Two men remained in garda custody last night, where specialist officers were grilling them about the alleged swindle of €900,000 in an elaborate international fraud.

The pair, a Nigerian father and son aged 31 and 67, live in the Mulhuddart area of west Dublin and are suspected of being involved in a cash transfer scam against a Danish company.

The suspects, who have been living in Ireland for a number of years, were being held at Blanchardstown Garda Station after their arrest by fraud squad officers yesterday morning.

"This was a sophisticated invoice redirection fraud in a scam that could have netted the criminals up to €1m," a source said last night.

"A Danish company was targeted by these criminals, who have been operating from a base in Mulhuddart."

Invoice redirection fraud happens when a business falls prey to requests, purporting to emanate from trusted suppliers or service providers, for a beneficiary's bank account details to be changed.

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

Gardai announced details of the operation yesterday.

"The two men were arrested as part of the Money Laundering Investigation Unit's (MLIU) investigation into an invoice redirection fraud, where a European-based company was induced to sending a VAT payment to the bank account of an individual instead of its true recipient," a garda spokesman said.

"It is believed that the database of the company who were due to receive payment had been the target of a malware attack that allowed the issuing of a request to change details of the true recipient's banking accounts.

"Once the funds were received, there were a number of onward transactions, both within and outside this jurisdiction.

"Arising from liaison between the Financial Intelligence Unit/MLIU and the financial institution, in excess of €900,000 was recovered before it could be dissipated."

Arrests

Last month it emerged that Trinity College had been targeted in a similar fraud, but there have been no arrests in that case.

That crime was discovered after police in the UK raised concerns with Bank of Ireland over a number of suspicious transactions connected to the Trinity Foundation.

It has since emerged that the scam could involve up to €1m and that €250,000 has been frozen in a number of bank accounts in the UK and US as a result. Some of the money, but not all of it, has since been recovered.

A special unit probes fraud cases such as these, and gardai say that, in many cases, the organisers of invoice direction frauds use "money mules" in order to transfer the stolen money out of this jurisdiction, while keeping the criminal's identity hidden.

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