Avon police investigate organized crime | VailDaily.com

Avon police investigate organized crime

Lauren Glendenning
Avon, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado – The Avon, Colorado police department is investigating what it’s calling the most sophisticated money scam it has ever seen.

Lt. Greg Daly said a local business that manages homeowner’s association bank accounts called on May 8 about significant amounts of money that had been stolen from several of its accounts.

The Avon Police started investigating, but Daly said it quickly realized the complexity of the case and called the FBI. The thefts occurred throughout the United States and likely originated from an organized crime unit outside the United States – in Russia, and a few Eastern European countries.

The FBI is scheduled to take over the investigation in about two weeks, Daly said.

The way the theft went down is that bogus companies were created that advertised open jobs on the Internet. People would apply for jobs on Web sites that looked completely legitimate, Daly said.

The companies would then hire them and transfer large amounts of money into their bank accounts – the people were then asked to wire transfer the money to overseas accounts.

Daly calls those middlemen “innocent pawns.”

Unemployment is high, he said, and there are a lot of people looking for work in the financial industry jobs that were being advertised.

“This is, I suppose, aiming at a terrible time in this country,” he said. “Especially in those particular industries.”

The middlemen unknowingly facilitated the thefts, and they did not personally lose any money, he said.

The account manager who reported the problem to the police did not want to be identified because he’s still working with the account holders and trying to figure out if the money is insured. He did say that it happened over a couple of days and with several accounts it has at a local bank.

The crimes were so organized and well thought out that even the timing was perfectly executed, Daly said.

For the thefts to work, the criminals had to prepare the false Web sites that offered the false jobs and then have enough time to hire the people and set up the money transfers.

“It’s a very sophisticated, complex system,” Daly said.

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com

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