Israel Indicts French Immigrants In 9.1 Million Euro “Fake CEO” Scam

Israel – Israel’s state prosecutor indicted four new immigrants from France on Wednesday for allegedly running a major international scam costing five European companies about 9.1 million euros, or over $10 million.

The companies that lost money are MediaMarkt, Eldi, Cora, ICI Paris XL and Intergamma, according to the indictment. Other companies entangled in the case include Electrolux, Bosch, Chanel, Kia Motors, and Toyota, though some companies did not fall for the trick, according to the indictment.

Israeli prosecution says the immigrants collected information on European companies, including names of company employees and details on money the companies owed to vendors.

Then, according to prosecutors, they used fake email accounts to send forged documents to a company’s employee in charge of finances, presenting themselves as CEOs or representatives of a vendor owed money, and requesting the funds be sent to a different bank account — one under their control.

The case suggests that the so-called fake CEO scam is still thriving in Israel, where the man widely credited with pioneering the technique, Gilbert Chikli, continues to live openly in Israel, evading French attempts to arrest him.

Chikli is not suspected in the current case. The French-born defendants were identified as Henri Omessi, Daniel Allon, Jeremy Lalloum and Mordechai Lellouche. They were appearing at a court hearing on Wednesday, and it was not immediately known how they would plead.

In one scam, according to Wednesday’s indictment, defendants impersonated executives of Belgium electronics company Eldi and German electronics giant Bosch, tricking an Eldi employee to transfer 794,175.70 euros owed to Bosch to the defendants’ bank account.

In another scam, according to prosecutors, defendants impersonated an employee of Swedish home appliance company Electrolux, and tricked German electronics retailer MediaMarkt to send them 1,059,123.61 euros.

Altogether, the money they stole ended up in bank accounts under their control in Slovakia and Poland.

In March, two Italian-born immigrants were recruited to expand the con to entrap companies in Italy.

The prosecutor also indicted them in a separate case for attempting — but failing — to steal money from Diners Club Italia.

According to the indictment, on May 2, three of the defendants were made aware of an article published in French media about scams carried out in Israel targeting French companies.

Three minutes later, the three defendants began taking apart hard drives and destroying the computers used in the scam.

That same day, police raided the defendant’s office in Netanya, a seaside Israeli city home to a large French immigrant population, following a nearly six month undercover investigation, including video surveillance inside the defendants’ office.

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Israel charged four French immigrants with fraud on Wednesday over a $10 million scam of major companies in which they are accused of posing as representatives of firms including Chanel and Bosch.

    The defendants are accused of building “a worldwide network of fraud based in Israel,” with apartments, technological equipment and European bank accounts, the Justice Ministry said.

    Prosecutors charge that the defendants pretended to be representatives of France’s Bordeaux football club and of the French football league.

    They also posed as being from companies including France’s Chanel, Germany’s Bosch, Italy’s Diadora and Sweden’s Electrolux while trying to convince firms like Kia Motors France and ICI Paris XL to make payments to fraudulent accounts, according to prosecutors.

    The four were based in Netanya.

    Prosecutors allege that the scam netted €9.1 million ($10.4 million US).

    “The defendants and others built a worldwide network of fraud based in Israel, with rented apartments which were used as ‘war rooms’ with considerable technological equipment,” prosecutors alleged.

    “Alongside activity in the country, defendants held numerous bank accounts in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.”

    The defendants are accused of using forged documents and fake email addresses to persuade representatives of companies that owed money to suppliers they were impersonating to make transfers to their accounts.

    They are also accused of contacting the actual supplier companies and posing as the firms that owed them, telling them that the payments were delayed — buying time to carry out the scam.

    Two Italians were also indicted in a related case, resulting from the suspects allegedly trying to expand their activities into Italy.

    The alleged fraud is similar to others that have occurred around the world and which are commonly referred to as the “fake president” scam, so named because criminals have posed as top company executives while carrying them out.

    The French defendants indicted were identified as Henri Omisi, Daniel Alon, Jeremy Laloum and Mordechai Lalouch.

    The Italians were identified as Enzo Bondi and Isaac Sonnino.

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