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Cyprus Police bust Britons in fraud ring April 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Police & Crime.
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Police have arrested three British nationals believed to be part of a ring that has already stolen around £20,000 from bank accounts around the island with the use of forged credit cards.

Investigators have also issued an arrest warrant and are currently searching for a fourth Briton, Idowu Kuye, 32 from London, who is believed to be part of the same ring and has been on the run from police since April 2.

According to police, the ring, consisting mostly of British nationals who arrived in Cyprus just over a week ago, have targeted ATMs in the districts of Famagusta, Nicosia, Larnaca and Paphos. Over the weekend alone around £20,000 was stolen from various bank accounts with the use of credit cards now in the possession of the police.

Police say the magnetic tape on the credit cards appears to have been tampered with. They believe the amount could rise to as much as £50,000 as investigations continue. The thefts were reported to the police by JCC Payments Services after various people noticed money go missing from their bank accounts on April 2.

One of the investigators, CID Sergeant Pambos Charalambous, said police will ask for cooperation from services abroad because it is believed that the ring has also committed crimes in other countries as well.

On Tuesday night, British-Cypriot Arestis Aresti from Larnaca was arrested in connection with the case as he attempted to take cash from an ATM in the British sovereign base area of Ayios Nicolaos using a forged credit card. He was yesterday remanded in police custody for five days in light of the preliminary investigations against him.

According to arresting officers who approached the 30-year-old, Aresti was wearing a wig, had £1,004 on him in cash as well as eight forged credit cards. In his possession, SBA police also found eight receipts for the cash that he had taken out of the ATM while they also discovered that some of the forged credit cards found on him had been previously used in theft of £200 from various petrol stations around Larnaca.

Also suspected of being involved in the ring are a British man and woman from London who are currently in police custody in the districts of Larnaca and Nicosia after being arrested at the hotel they were staying at in Paphos on April 3. Upon her release from police custody on Tuesday in Paphos where she was officially charged in court, Kate Louise Boyd, 24, was arrested again on the same day, this time by CID officers from Nicosia, and led before a court in Nicosia.

Yesterday, a Nicosia judge remanded Boyd again for five days on suspicion of credit card fraud and the theft of around £2,000 from several ATMs around Nicosia. The Briton said she was staying with in the hotel apartment in Paphos is currently in police custody in Larnaca in connection with the theft of money from bank accounts around the district of Larnaca with use of a forged credit card. Boyd, who denies any involvement in the crimes or the ring, is under investigation for eight counts of theft, forgery, credit card fraud, attempted theft and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Yesterday, Sergeant Charalambous told a Nicosia Court, “Three out of the six forged credit cards found on the suspect were used in thefts from bank accounts at various banks around Nicosia.” The investigator also said that Boyd “had been identified from CCTV security cameras at some of the ATMs” and that he had personally seen her taking money out of an ATM in central Nicosia on CCTV footage now in the hands of the police.

Meanwhile police are still on the lookout for Kuye who was approached by police officers as he was taking money out of an ATM in Nicosia. “At 10.35pm on April 2, JCC observed suspicious transactions taking place at banks on Dighenis Akritas Avenue and Evagorou Avenue in Nicosia. A patrol car was dispatched to the area and a man from England was stopped so that he could be checked. During a check of his identification, he attacked an officer and managed to run away leaving in the hands of the police his passport and his mobile telephone.”

Police believe that Kuye and the Briton on remand in Larnaca were at one point staying together at a hotel in Larnaca. Investigators also claim that Boyd has implicated herself, in her statement to the police, to some of the crimes that they are investigating.

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