Mon, Oct 30, 2006 - Page 2 News List

US, Taiwanese police join hands to crack fraud ring

IMPORT SCAMS Police in Taiwan and Los Angeles have teamed up to collect evidence and bust a fraud ring that has victimized a number of Taiwanese manufacturers

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Police in Taiwan are working with their US counterparts to crack the case of a California-based fraud ring that has swindled millions of dollars' worth of merchandise from Taiwanese suppliers through import scams since 1998.

According to the International Criminal Affairs Division (ICAD) of the Criminal Investigation Bureau, the fraud ring would use different names to place orders with Taiwan's exporters and after receiving the goods, it would use various excuses to refuse payment.

The names used by the fraud-sters include "Michael Lian," "Paul Cheng," "MP," "JP International," "Ever-Union Trading & Investment Inc," "Ever-Unique Trading," and "LLUVIA Trading Inc."

There is no evidence these import companies actually exist.

Last month, police in Changhua County sought ICAD's help when investigating a new scam case involving what looked like the same fraud ring.

The ICAD contacted Los Ange-les police authorities and provided them with related information.

Acting on the tip-offs, on Sept. 21 Los Angeles County police searched container warehouses in two towns -- Pomona and Hawthorne -- and seized 19 containers filled with liquid-crystal-display (LCD) monitors, acoustic equipment and office furniture -- all imported from Taiwan.

On Oct. 25, Los Angeles County police officers Eddie Leung and Gene Burns paid a visit to the ICAD in Taipei to collect further evidence, try to locate the victimized Taiwanese exporting firms and help them retrieve the goods.

The ICAD has indicated it will work with Los Angeles County police to bust the fraud ring, find its distribution channels and the places where swindled goods are kept.

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