Head of Organized Crime Ring Captured in Bulgaria's Capital

Crime | July 19, 2011, Tuesday // 14:35|  views

File photo by BGNES

The leader of an international organized crime group with fraud activities in several Balkan countries has been arrested in a restaurant in downtown Sofia in a joint operation of Bulgarian, Macedonian and Serbian special police forces.

Serbian national Goran Vukovich, 41, was arrested one week ago and has been issued a permanent detention order, Bulgaria's Interior Ministry said at a press conference.

Vukovich's scams have hit four Bulgarian and over 60 Serbian companies, siphoning off a total of over EUR 1.5 M.

A fraud scheme estimated at EUR 4 M was prevented prior to his arrest.

The man sealed deals for the delivery of construction materials, pledging subsequent payment, which never arrived as he used forged bank documents ascertaining the transaction.

The fake bank statements were sent to the the counterparties on Thursday afternoon or by noon on Friday and the seller was forced to send the shipment as soon as possible, waiting for the bank to "process" the payment.

The average value of the contracts was EUR15 000 - 30 000.

To lure traders into the trap, Vukovich offered profitable prices.

The man was arrested as he attempted to seal a new deal for the delivery of building materials for a construction sites in Macedonia.

An inspection of Vukovich's premises uncovered stacks of forged bank documents and other tools used in the scams.

Upon his arrest, the Serbian national, born near Kragujevac, claimed that he was a Bulgarian citizen named Svetoslav Stoyanov and he presented his documents.

He denied involvement in the alleged criminal activity even after the dactyloscopic test.

Vukovich is reported to have started establishing crime groups engaging in fraud schemes in 2006, focusing on Serbia first.

After cheating 12 Serbian companies of their money, the fraudster changed his name and settled in Macedonia.

He faces accusations of practicing fraud in Croatia, Slovenia and a number of other European countries.

In the course of the special police operation, four Bulgarians with criminal records were detained on suspicion of participating in the local unit of Vukovich's organized crime gangs.

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Tags: organized crime, organized crime group, fraud, fraudster, fake documents, scam, interior ministry


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