Israel’s state prosecutor on Wednesday indicted four new immigrants from France for an international money scam costing five European companies about $10 million, the Associated Press reported.
Prosecutors say the immigrants created fake email accounts to send forged documents to employees of some of Europe’s largest companies, tricking them into transferring funds to bank accounts for a new “clearing firm.” The clearing firm turned out to belong to fake companies with accounts owned by the defendants.
In one of the bigger scams, the defendants impersonated a Chanel employee and convinced ICI Paris XL to transfer almost $6.2 million to a Bulgarian bank account. Another scam included impersonating a Mars CEO to get the supermarket chain Corato to send nearly $365, 000 owed to Mars.
Other companies involved in the scam case include the Italian athletic clothing retailer Diadora, beer industry giant Anheuser-Busch, and car manufacturers Kia Motors and Toyota, but not all followed through with the transfer of funds. The pioneer of these fake-CEO scams, Gilbert Chikli, still lives freely in Netanya in central Israel, evading French authorities.
“If they have a problem, they can come see me. They know my address. I am not fleeing, ” Chikli told the Associated Press by telephone. “Send them my regards.”