Police in Queensland police launched a series of raids in the Gold Coast on Monday targeting an alleged crime syndicate behind investment scams that have defrauded people of millions of dollars.
The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) says the “Irish Boys” syndicate was based in Surfers Paradise and promised big returns for people who invested in its trading software.
People paid thousands of dollars for a computer programme that could supposedly predict how commodity markets such as gold were going to move.
Four people, two of whom are Irish nationals – one was named as Stephen Keating – were arrested in the raids in an investigation called Operation Unwind. The CCC said the men were “key operators” of the syndicate.
The authorities will allege the scams netted at least $4 million over an 18-month period. But ABC television is quoting sources saying up to $11 million could have been scammed.
The police allege the syndicate ran high-pressure sales offices known as boiler rooms involving seven different companies.
Officers from the police’s anti-outlaw biker unit and CCC investigators entered the boiler room as syndicate staff made cold calls to sell the software.
Another boiler room at Bundall was raided at the same time, while search warrants were also executed at homes in the area.
One of the scams allegedly operated by the Irish Boys syndicate was called CCG Markets, which for $20,000 offered investors “powerful trading software” to predict resource market movements.
CCC has identified 150 alleged victims of CCG Markets and other Irish Boys companies.
“We will allege this syndicate operated in an organised manner and we believe their primary motive was to defraud money from the public,” CCC acting executive director crime Michael Scott said.
“The law enforcement action today will stop more Australians from falling victim to these bogus investment schemes. To date, we have identified over 150 victims but believe there are more. The CCC will allege that these active boiler rooms sold fraudulent computer software and managed investment schemes.
“The companies behind this syndicate used techniques to deceive people including the use of virtual offices, false identities, fake receptionists and fake testimonials.”