‘Irish boys’ alleged to have made millions in Australia scam

Four men, including two Irish nationals, in custody on serious fraud charges

An alleged crime gang known as "the Irish Boys" netted at least AUS$4m (€2.6m) from a "boiler room" investment scam on Australia's Gold Coast, says Queensland's Crime and Corruption Commission.

Four of the alleged syndicate ringleaders, including two Irish nationals, are in custody on serious fraud charges after raids on Gold Coast offices connected to the alleged scam by the CCC and police on Monday.

One of these is Irish-born Stephen Keating, who was a principal target of the joint investigation, the CCC confirmed.

The alleged syndicate employed at least 45 people in their call centres and another office at Robina.

This included two allegedly active “boiler room” call centres – from which alleged victims received unsolicited phone calls targeting them with bogus investment offers – at Surfers Paradise and Bundall.

The Gold Coast, and the suburb of Bundall, in particular, has emerged as the centre of "boiler room" fraud in Australia, which the Australian Crime Commission says had pulled in at least $113m from victims up to 2012.

The alleged managers of the scam, men aged 36, 34, 33 and 32, would be formally charged with fraud on Monday, the CCC said.

The CCC said the alleged scam, which the CCC claims sold “fraudulent computer software and managed investment schemes”, had operated over 18 months and netted at least 150 victims across Australia, but there were likely to be more.

The police will allege that “the companies behind this syndicate used techniques to deceive people, including the use of virtual offices, false identities, fake receptionists and fake testimonials,” the CCC said.

(Guardian Service)