fraud probe Gardai arrest two more men as part of investigation into a suspected €6million invoice scam
Fraud squad detectives have made two further arrests this morning as part of a massive investigation into a €6 million international invoice redirect fraud.
Two male suspects, aged 20 and 40, were being questioned under anti-gangland legislation after their arrests in Dundalk and Cork.
They are the third and fourth suspects to have been arrested as part of the probe after two Italian men were detained in July by officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB).
A senior source said today that one of the suspects received €40,000 in his Irish bank account from a company that had been ripped off in Chile.
The other suspect had €56,000 in his bank account from companies from the United States, Turkey and Hong Kong who had fallen victim to the massive scam.
“Investigations by the GNECB have shown that the international nature of this gang is absolutely huge,” the source said.
“It has been established that fraudulent e-mails are being sent from here to businesses across the globe and Irish bank accounts are being used to receive the funds which are then being transferred to other accounts mostly in Turkey and China,” the source added.
The arrested suspects are of Nigerian origin but have Irish and UK passports. One man is being held at Blanchardstown Garda Station while the other is being questioned at a station in Cork city.
Under anti-gang laws they can be detained for up to a week.
Invoice redirection fraud happens when 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.
Sources say that there has been an increase in this type of crime across Europe since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Often the fraudsters use students' and young people's bank details by offering them a fee to allow use of their accounts for a few days - but this is not the case with the younger of the two men arrested yesterday who is being investigated as part of the wider criminal enterprise.
Money mules 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.
The two Italian nationals arrested as part of the same investigation in July were released without charge with a file being prepared for the DPP.
The duo, with addresses in Glasnevin andDublin's south inner city, are suspected of using Irish bank accounts to launder over €150,000 of the money which the gang have stolen from companies based in Spain, Belgium and the United States.