Police yesterday conducted 14 searches in the capital and the counties of Prahova, Dambovita and Teleorman, as part of a major investigation into a group that defrauded various insurance firms, Mediafax reported. The searches were conducted at the residence of 18 people suspected of leasing cars and then selling them and declaring them stolen in order to cash the insurance.
Bucharest Police spokesperson Diana Sarca told the news agency that members of the group bought cars in leasing from various companies in the country and then sold the vehicles in the Middle East. Afterwards, they reported the cars stolen and cashed the insurance. The group caused hundreds of thousands of Euros in losses, she said.
Police were trying to take in all the 18 suspects for questioning. Until later in the afternoon yesterday, 12 of the suspects had already been taken to the Car Theft Service of the Bucharest Police, to be heard by investigators. Yesterday’s operation was conducted by police agents with the Car Theft Service, under the coordination of the Bucharest City Court Prosecutor’s Office and with the support of the Romanian Intelligence Agency.
According to legal sources quoted by the news agency, the suspects in the case include the manager of a major mobile phone company. Daily ‘Romania libera’ reported that the person in question was Lee Wilkins, former senior manager of Vodafone Romania. Sources with the company told the publication that Wilkins has stopped working with Vodafone in March this year. The publication also said that Wilkins tried to sell a Porsche Cayenne and report it stolen in order to cash the insurance money. Realitatea.net said Wilkins, a British citizen, reportedly sold the Porsche in Syria, in order to cash the EUR 80,000 insurance.