Two teenagers arrested in Co Longford in investigation into international fraud ring

Gardaí conduct searches in county as they target gang’s money-laundering element

Gardaí investigating an international fraud ring operating in the Republic have arrested two teenagers in Co Longford. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Gardaí investigating an international fraud ring operating in the Republic have arrested two teenagers in Co Longford. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

Gardaí investigating an international fraud ring operating in the Republic have arrested two teenagers in Co Longford and carried out searches there after operations over the past 48 hours across three other counties.

Detectives from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) on Friday morning carried out the searches in Co Longford, under Operation Skein, as part of their investigations into the money-laundering element of the group’s activities.

Two suspects were arrested during the operation on Friday morning, a man and woman in their late teens. They were being questioned on Friday under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, bringing to 19 the number of Operation Skein arrests over the past two years.

On Thursday Operation Skein detectives moved in on addresses in counties Cork, Tipperary and Roscommon and arrested five men. Three of the five have since been released without charge.

The international group under investigation under Operation Skein is believed to be involved in invoice-redirect fraud. The group has a large operation in the Republic and gardaí believe they can link it to frauds totalling €6.3 million, of which €5 million has been lodged in or moved through bank accounts in Ireland.

Gardaí believe a group of men, who are mainly Nigerian and living in Ireland, not only manage the international crime gang’s Irish cell, but are also the beneficiaries of the crimes and have been spending the proceeds of those frauds in Ireland.

Invoice-redirect fraud involves crime gangs tricking companies into lodging money into accounts controlled by the criminals. Such gangs send invoices that are purporting to come from one of the targeted companies’ trading partners and thereby dupe their victims into paying money into accounts they control.