Tracing the Fraudster: Case study of cooperation with an Austrian insurance company

Tracing the Fraudster: Case study of cooperation with an Austrian insurance company

Traced the Fraudster – another case study on our blog showcasing Verificators’ team actions in collaboration with a client representing an Austrian insurance company.

Our task was to locate an individual – a Polish citizen – who, while leading a Czech company, made a purchase of a large quantity of electronic devices. The order was received by him, but he never paid for it. The value of the electronics reached approximately 200 thousand euros, so the client’s determination was significant.

Determining the address of the sought individual

We managed to determine the personal and address details of the dishonest contractor; however, the situation turned out to be more complicated than initially anticipated. The individual sought did not have a current registered address, and his last registration was 20 years ago.

The sixty-year-old became the CEO of the Czech company just a few days before the electronics purchase. Previously, he held no positions in any other businesses. There was no history indicating any experience in company management. He had virtually no presence on social media. He did not own any properties or vehicles.

Tracing the Fraudster – Searching through Registers

We began checking registers, including the Central Register and Information on Economic Activity (CEiDG) and the National Official Business Register (REGON), which contain information about conducted economic activities. We managed to identify a previously operating business, albeit inactive, that could be associated with the individual we were seeking. The address provided in the register matched the information obtained from the client, so a detective was dispatched to confirm these facts. Unfortunately, the lead turned out to be a dead end.

Our sought individual did indeed once reside at that address, but it was several years ago. He hasn’t been seen here for many years, although correspondence addressed to him still reaches the mailbox. The owner of the premises said he had never personally met him but that he wasn’t well-regarded among the neighbors. However, he suggested that the sought individual had a brother who might know his current address, but he didn’t know where we could find him. It also didn’t help that both men shared a very common surname in Poland. Once again, we started delving into registers that could lead us to some point of contact. We found information indicating that the brother of the man operated a business related to passenger transport. Finding him at this point became a formality.

Interview with the Suspect’s Brother

The detective visited the suspect’s brother at his home. However, he had to prepare well for the conversation. There was suspicion that both could be involved in the scheme. In such a case, he surely wouldn’t give us any information about his brother. Despite the concerns, the conversation went quite well. The brother willingly talked about the suspect. It turned out that they hadn’t been in contact since the death of their parents several years ago. More precisely, they saw each other at the funeral, where the suspect was transported by the Prison Service, as he was serving a prison sentence. Not for the first time, either.

Tracing the Fraudster – Expanding on the “Stooge” Thread

The suspect was a petty fraudster who would establish relationships with women and swindle them out of money. That’s why his family cut ties with him. His brother wasn’t concerned about what would happen to him after leaving prison. The family home was sold while he was serving his sentence, so he didn’t even have anywhere to go. He also told us that the suspect wasn’t a smart person and wouldn’t have come up with the electronics scheme himself. That’s why we began to suspect that he functioned in the case as what is known as a “stooge.”

A stooge is a person who is used by criminals to commit fraud. They have full legal capacity but, due to low intelligence or other factors limiting their perception, such as alcoholism, serious illness, or advanced age, they become, with their consent under the law, the founder, buyer, or president of a company engaged in criminal activity. However, by participating in the crime, they expose themselves to legal liability.

Tracing the Fraudster – Recent Findings

However, the suspect’s brother provided us with the address of a warehouse outside the city where supposedly his relative worked. Or at least he worked there recently. Upon arriving at the location, the detective spoke with people working at the warehouse. It turned out that the stooge had indeed been employed there as a janitor, mainly responsible for cleaning. However, several months earlier, the police visited him at the warehouse and took him away in a police car. He never returned to work after that.

Further inquiries painted a clear picture of the situation. The suspect was not only sought by us but also by the police to serve his sentenced prison term. We provided all the information gathered and compiled by our team to the client, concluding our role in the matter.

Author: Piotr Dobosz

*For the respect and safety of our clients, all sensitive data has been anonymised for publication purposes.

Check out other articles on our blog:

Money talks. Case study – financial abuse
Verification of Connections – Case Study
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