Law & Order Gardaí investigating a multi-million euro West African fraud network operating in Ireland

Migration Facts Ireland

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GARDAI have launched a major crackdown on a suspected online crime gang. Officers from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau’s Money Laundering Unity swooped on a series of properties in Dublin, Kildare, Laois and Meath. The searches were launched to target a West African crime gang behind invoice redirect fraud scams and romance fraud scams. Some of the scams included the fraudsters befriending vulnerable women before fleecing them. A number of items and documents were seized during the raids. A source said: “This was a significant operation aimed at disrupting the activities of a major money laundering gang.” Gardai believe the gang have raked in millions from their scams. “Among the matters under investigations is the possibility that laundered money may have been used by this Criminal Network to fund the purchase of property and other high value items across the country.”

In an Irish Independent report, the gang was described as Nigerian. The gang leaders recruited over 100 fellow nationals to launder money which has been stolen in invoice redirection frauds from companies in Ireland and all around Europe.

A Nigerian national has been identified as the leader of the gang which has what is described as a "highly organised hierarchical structure". Documents, computers and four Nissan X-Trail SUVs were seized during yesterday's raids. Gardai have asked Irish banks to close around 350 accounts suspected of being used in the fraud. As many as 300 people mostly working in low-paid jobs in Ireland could have been recruited into an extensive money-laundering network linked to West African criminals involved in cybercrime. The network was busted last week by Garda fraud detectives who raided 15 homes and businesses in several countries and froze 350 bank accounts. Gardai believe the network had a three-tier structure, with around 10 key figures at the top.

In 2013, it was reported that Nigerians send nearly €500m a year home from Ireland. World Bank figures revealed that €468m in 'remittances' was sent from Ireland to Nigeria in 2011. That's an average of more than €26,000 for each of the 17,642 Nigerian nationals in Ireland, including children. In 2011, Enda Kenny said he wanted Ireland to be the best little country to live and do business in. Broadcast: Thu 06 Sep 2018 | RTÉ News: One O'Clock More reports: #NewToTheParish

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