In the years between 2010 and 2013, gangs with members belonging to the gypsy community were active in committing fraud, theft and other criminal acts.
The operational modus of these gangs had the following structure:
Members of the gang, all well dressed and well mannered, were visiting trade shows around the world, where they were approaching companies and were presenting themselves as very wealthy and well established company owners. In order to support their stories, they were creating good looking corporate websites, business cards etc., all with fake information.
After they gained some trust by the victim-companies, they started placing large orders, often up in the millions of USD and agreed D/P arrangements (cash against documents).
The suppliers, trusting that the orders were placed by actual companies, were shipping the goods to the scammers. In addition they were sending the accompanying documents per courier to the bank, which the gang members were appointing as the bank they were usually doing business with.
As soon as the documents were arriving either at the bank, either at the local courier agency, members of the gang, who had sometimes infiltrated in the personnel of the bank or bribed bank employees or bribed courier employees, were opening carefully the envelopes containing the shipment documents and were replacing the originals with copies. Then, with the original documents in their hands, they were collecting the containers with the goods, which had arrived at the harbor and were disappearing leaving everyone in despair.
As soon as some of the cases got assigned to International Advisers, it became quickly clear what was going on.
International Advisers uncovered the fraud, by analyzing all procedures and by questioning various stakeholders like the shippers, the custom authorities, the bank and courier company directors etc.
Additionally, IA field-agents visited the various locations where the gangs were operating and soon discovered common patrons and other clues, which all together pointed at the gypsy gang.
With all the collected data, International Advisers went to the country’s authorities providing them with the investigation map containing a.o. the links between the gang members, photographs, names, contact details etc. The large-scale police action which soon followed resulted in not less than 70 arrests and 30 convictions of gang members.
At the same time, goods with a value in the millions of USD were spared from falling into the hands of these bandits.