Philippine police arrest nearly 500 in alleged online fraud

In this photo provided by the Philippine National Police, SAF (Special Action Force) members escort Israeli nationals following a raid at Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga province, Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. (AP)
Updated 07 June 2018

Philippine police arrest nearly 500 in alleged online fraud

  • The suspects lured victims into investing in foreign stocks in a purportedly flourishing London-based company then took their money through an online app.
  • 474 Filipinos and 8 Israelis were taken into custody following the raid on three buildings in Clark Freeport, a former US Air Force base north of Manila.

MANILA: Philippine police arrested nearly 500 people, including eight Israeli nationals, who they say were involved in an online investment fraud that victimized people overseas, including in Australia and South Africa, police said Thursday.
In one of the Philippines’ biggest anti-cybercrime busts in years, police chief Oscar Albayalde said 474 Filipino employees and the Israelis were taken into custody following the raid on three buildings in Clark Freeport, a former US Air Force base north of Manila, where the alleged online fraud was committed.
The suspects lured victims into investing in foreign stocks in a purportedly flourishing London-based company then took their money through an online app after obtaining their bank account and credit card details, said Chief Superintendent Marni Marcos, who heads the national police Anti-Cybercrime Group.
The Israeli men were arrested “while in the act of managing, operating and manning the three target buildings” while the Filipinos were caught communicating and doing online transactions with foreign clients from Europe, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Russia, Albayalde said in a statement.
Police video shows officers with assault rifles, backed by special forces units, barging into a vast office and repeatedly yelling “Hands up!” while ordering some of the suspects not to touch their computers. Some of the Israelis could be seen being led away in handcuffs.
Police seized evidence from the computers showing they were “engaged in a fraudulent online trading activity that involves millions of US dollars victimizing other foreign nationals all over the world,” Albayalde said. State prosecutors were assessing criminal complaints against the suspects.
Some foreign victims traveled to the Philippines and reported to the police details of the alleged fraud after obtaining information from some disgruntled syndicate members, Marcos told reporters.


NASA investigating first crime committed in space: report

Updated 10 min 45 sec ago

NASA investigating first crime committed in space: report

  • Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of improperly accessing her partner’s private financial records while aboard the International Space Station
  • McClain’s lawyer said the astronaut accessed the account only to monitor the couple’s combined finances

WASHINGTON: US space agency NASA is investigating what may be the first crime committed in outer space, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife’s private financial records while on a sixth-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Times said.
The astronaut’s spouse Summer Worden filed a complaint earlier this year with the Federal Trade Commission after learning McClain had accessed her bank account without permission, while Worden’s family filed another with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, according to the newspaper.
McClain’s lawyer said the astronaut had done nothing wrong and accessed the bank records while aboard the ISS in order to monitor the couple’s combined finances — something she had done over the course of their relationship, the Times reported.
NASA investigators have contacted both women, according to the newspaper.
McClain, who returned to Earth in June, gained fame for being one of two women picked for a historic all-female spacewalk, but NASA scrapped the planned walk in March due to a lack of well-fitting spacesuits, sparking accusations of sexism.
Worden said the FTC has not responded to the identity theft report, but that an investigator specializing in criminal cases with NASA’s Office of Inspector General has been looking into the accusation, according to the Times.