Woman arrested in operation targeting invoice-redirect fraud

Sixteenth person arrested in connection to scam gardaí believe totals €6.3 million

A woman has been arrested as part of a Garda operation targeting financial fraud, which is being carried out by an international crime group.

Gardaí attached to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau arrested the woman (29) in Dublin on Wednesday.

She was arrested as part of Operation Skein, which is an investigation into international BEC (business email compromise) invoice-redirect fraud being committed from Ireland. It also involves the laundering of proceeds from such activities through accounts here.

The woman is currently detained at Kevin Street Garda station under section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2007.

Operation Skein has intensified in recent months and the woman is the 16th person to be arrested as part of the investigation.

The operation has targeted an international group with 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 or moved through bank accounts in Ireland.

Tricking companies

Gardaí believe the scam is led by Nigerian criminals, based in Ireland and abroad, with many Italian and Romanian suspects also having been identified during the investigation.

Invoice-redirect fraud involves crime gangs tricking companies into lodging money into accounts controlled by the criminals. They send invoices to companies purporting to come from one of the targeted companies’ trading partners.

In order to carry out a fraud successfully, that gang often uses information about both companies that they have obtained through hacking or from the firms’ websites or social media accounts.

When the invoice is paid, the money is transferred into a bank account controlled by the fraudsters rather than into the account of the legitimate company owed the money.

Fraudsters gain control of accounts by opening them under false identities or paying the account holder for access to their account for the purposes of receiving and transferring money.