Sunday, January 16

Miscellaneous facts. 33 million euros stolen during a “scam at the president”: what happened?

“The scam of the president” holds a new record in France: according to The Parisian, the real estate developer Sefri-Cime lost no less than 33 million euros last month because of a false CEO who gave real transfer orders to a real accountant …

What happened ?

On December 2, the accounting manager of this Parisian promoter received an e-mail from a crook posing as the general manager who asked him for the utmost confidentiality regarding their exchanges, explaining that he was preparing the listing of the company. To complete this narrative, the thugs commissioned a fake lawyer, who ordered the accountant to make forty transfers to bank accounts abroad. What she did.

How was the scam discovered?

Four weeks later, on December 29, another accountant at the company in turn received an email from the crooks, but smelled the scam and alerted her superiors. The management immediately filed a complaint and asked its bank to block the current transactions, which would have allowed the promoter to recover some 3 million euros. The final damage would amount to 33,600,000 euros for Sefri-Cime, according to information from the Paris daily. A record amount for this type of scam in France.

Are there any precedents?

At the start of 2021, the largest association of accountants in France, the CDER, was relieved of 14.7 million euros in the same way. In 2013, Vallourec, the flagship of the CAC40 and world leader in the seamless tubes market, lost 23 million euros in a scam of this type. Each time, the scenario is the same: “The crooks use fake emails, they investigate a company, find who is responsible for making transfers with an identical scenario: they tell the person they want to manipulate that the company is about to buy another company and that it is confidential ”, had reacted the CDER in comments reported by France 3 Grand Est.

Who are these con artists with monster nerve?

“These are the same criminal organizations that have developed around scams for advertising inserts, the carbon tax … Recently, they favor the theft of the identity of the suppliers of the victim companies: they make believe in a change of bank details and obtain transfers, explained the divisional commissioner Corinne Bertoux at Paris Match, in 2016, adding that the crooks are often based in Israel.

How to fight against this scourge?

To guard against these very lucrative scams for serious crime, the Central Office for the Repression of Serious Financial Crime advised in April 2020 near Franceinfo, “not to give in to an emergency even if the circumstances may push us to do so. Keep calm. Talk to another colleague about the order to see what their opinion is. And in the slightest doubt, contact your bank to try to repatriate the funds before eventually coming to file a complaint ”.

Recently, the boss of the company Avona, located in Gleizé in Beaujolais, succeeded, after a “scam of the false president” to recover 300,000 euros which had been stolen, but also to recover information on the criminals by sending them documents by e-mail containing computer cookies and spies. Documents that he then entrusted to the judicial police of Lyon.

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