Qld scammers in court over software scheme

Four Gold Coast scammers ran a cold and heartless enterprise selling ineffective sports betting and investment software, fleecing victims of their savings and superannuation.

Aaron Colin East, his brother Daniel Alan East and Stiofan Ceitinn have admitted to two counts of fraud, while co-accused Theresa Faye Merlehan pleaded guilty to one fraud charge.

The four planned the cold-call scam in a systematic and thorough fashion, crown prosecutor Greg Cummings told a Brisbane District Court sentencing hearing on Monday.

It was a “cold and heartless enterprise” that took from vulnerable people with no prospect of them getting their money back, he said.

The court heard the three men each made up to $300,000 through the scheme.

The scammers compiled an 80-page “spiel book” for sales employees, anticipating questions about the software being sold.

Call centre staff used false names and at times pretended to be in an office in Adelaide that did not exist.

They said potential customers could make $60,000 to $80,000 a year by spending up to 15 minutes a week using software. But this was “complete fiction”, according to the prosecution.

Mr Cummings said there was no altruistic motivation for the fraud. Their desire to make money was at the heart of the scheme.

Some victims lost their superannuation, some their savings and “some if not all all lost their self-esteem”, he said.

The hearing continues.

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Modi launches property card scheme to aid rural households

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a property card scheme on Sunday that he vowed would provide clarity of property rights in villages and enable farmers to use their property as collateral for loans from financial institutions.

Two-thirds of India’s population lives in rural areas, where few possess proper land records and property disputes are common.

“This is a historic effort towards rural transformation,” Modi said in a webcast speech while launching the programme.

The government plans to use drone technology to map land parcels in rural areas and cover some 620,000 villages over the next four years, Modi said.

“Despite owning houses, people were facing multiple problems while borrowing from banks. These people can now borrow very easily from banks after showing property cards issued under ownership scheme,” Modi said.

An initial batch of 100,000 people from over 750 villages across six states will begin to receive the digitised property cards this month.

Each card will have a unique identity number similar to the Aadhaar card – the world’s biggest biometric identity project, covering more than a billion people in India.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by William Mallard)

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Fact check: Website uses false recommendations from TV personality Deborah Meaden to promote bitcoin scheme

A website has used fabricated recommendations from businesswoman and television personality Deborah Meaden to promote a bitcoin investment.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

An article on the website claims that Meaden announced on ITV This Morning that she made £11.5 million using a bitcoin scheme (tinyurl.com/y4qku2rr) .

The piece claims that during the live interview, co-host Holly Willoughby was given £190 to invest in the system. The website features a photograph of her jaw dropping “as she began making a real profit” on live television.

However, the image actually shows Willoughby reacting as a viewer explained how he took “revenge on a cheating boyfriend.” (A Hilariously Naughty Tale Of Revenge Shocks Holly And Phillip | This Morning) .

The image that purportedly shows Meaden during the interview with This Morning has been taken from an episode of Dragons’ Den (here) .

On her website, Meaden confirmed that the claims made by the website are false: “There are several websites and internet/social media articles claiming that investments have been made in one or more bitcoin trading platforms (including Bitcoin Trader). These claims are entirely false and I have made no such investment(s) and have no such association(s)” (here) .

Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud run by the City of London Police, has warned the public not to assume such websites are authentic as criminals can exploit the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate (here) .

It said that people shouldn’t be rushed into making decisions, and that anyone thinking about making an investment should seek impartial advice from an independent financial adviser.

VERDICT

False. The quotes used on the website are fabricated and are used to promote a bitcoin scheme.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more