Australian authorities have taken down a number of ‘boiler room’ operations that cold-called customers to place sports bets on their behalf.
On Wednesday, Australian news outlet ABC reported that Queensland police had charged a 41-year-old man with “inducing people to deliver” by luring customers into sending money to be used to bet on sports and trade foreign currencies. A further 12 suspects are under investigation.
The Queensland cops say the accused ran three cold-call syndicates out of Gold Coast offices. Workers who manned the phones were provided with scripts intended to convince customers to send money for investment or wagering purposes. The callers also pushed the sale of software that would allow customers to identify optimal times to buy and sell stocks.
One of the companies involved in the scam reportedly took in $59m over a six-year period, of which the organizers kept $58m. Another company, which claimed to represent businesses including Costa Rica-licensed Bestbets247.net, took in $10m in 2015 alone.
Acting Superintendent Terry Lawrence said a total of 37 victims of the scam had so far filed complaints. Lawrence said victims had been sold “sports arbitrage programs or investment promises that could not be fulfilled” and that the organizers had instead used the cash to furnish their “lavish lifestyles,” which included the purchase of “mansions, vehicles and boats.”
This is the second time in less than a year that Queensland police have broken up Gold Coast-based boiler room operations linked to online betting operators. Similar operations linked to Vanuatu-based online bookmaker Betjack were rumbled last May.