UK Police have made four arrests for London Olympics online fraud as part of an investigation into the unauthorized sale of Olympic and Paralympic tickets, according to a press release.
Detectives from Operation Podium, supported by Leicestershire Police, arrested a 39-year-old man on 19 June on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation and the unauthorized sale of Olympic tickets. A further two men (aged 33 and 44) and a 46 year-old woman were arrested yesterday for the same offences. They all have been let out on bail until early July.
UK authorities recently closed two bogus Olympic tickets web sites after an investigation that started in October last year. A 44-year-old man has also been charged with fraud by false representation and money laundering. So far police have identified up to 50 people who bought bogus Olympic tickets via these sites.
The arrests are part of a broader investigation into the unauthorized sale of Olympic and Paralympic tickets as part of a corporate hospitality package.
Today, detectives also issued a warning to the public to avoid becoming a victim of crime this summer.
“Scams, frauds and criminals can leave people ripped off, disappointed, stranded in London without anywhere to stay or tickets, and severely out of pocket,â€ Detective Superintendent Nick Downing, head of Operation Podium, said. â€œWe want the public to be aware of these sites, and strongly suggest they avoid them. Ticket crime is a lucrative, million-pound business now. The excitement, world reach and popularity of the Games just means there is a huge demand from the public to a part of it so there are opportunities for criminals to exploit that.”
Detectives have also warned about other dangerous ticket websites such as eurosportstickets.com, a site police already closed, jetsetsport.info, a site believed to be fraudulent but still operating, globalticketmarket.com, and sportticketexchange.com, sites that sell Olympic tickets with no guarantee they will be genuine.
Police believe another two web sites (shortlettingslondon.co.uk and cityoflondonlettings.co.uk) may be offering accommodation that doesnâ€™t exist, and have requested the sites be suspended.
Until present, Operation Podium has made 186 arrests for offences such as ticket touting, fraud and theft. Of those, 100 people have been charged, and 57 convicted. Police gave no further details about the arrests, and the investigation is ongoing, along with other 19 separate inquiries.
During the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, a criminal group stole more than $3.5 million selling fake tickets online.