Sicilian finance police stop 4 for 600,000 euro online fraud
Alleged online scheme for fake auto-assessments uncovered15 July, 15:03
Finance police in Patti, near the Sicilian city of Messina, stopped four people accused of conspiring to commit fraud, abuse of computer-system access and extortion.
The suspects allegedly solicited potential victims to pay 59.50 euros to the company Pacutti Invest and Factoring SpA, headquartered in Patti, to have their automobiles evaluated on the website www.auto-prezzo.net or www.auto-valutazione.com.
After a person inserted the license-plate number and vehicle model, the suspects were allegedly garnered their personal information through the public automobile registration system (PRA), to which one of the individuals had access through work as a building-contractor.
The suspects allegedly sent the victims invoices that claiming the company's legal seat was Delaware and its activities managed by an Estonian company, so that any eventual recourse should be sought in Tallin.
The alleged fraudsters made the mistake of also sending an invoice to the Messina provincial command of the finance police.
Three people were placed under house arrest and one given probation.