Law & Order

Robbers Prey on Celebrity Influencers, Wealthy Households and the Elderly

Beware: Robbers Target the Rich and Famous on Social Media 

Being a famous influencer brings with it the disadvantages of celebrity too. A life open for all to see through regular posts on social media sites like Instagram. So among the millions of fans of one of Russia’s most successful influencers on the Côte d’Azur and Monaco, Victoria Bonya, model, beauty queen and reality TV star, there are also criminals who targeted to rob her Côte d’Azur apartment. It’s been twice now that her apartment where she lives on the coast adjacent to Monaco has been robbed. The thieves are quick to make an entrance and get away. The first time their ill-gotten gains were two luxury hand-bags each worth tens of thousands of euros. The second time, alerted by a social media post with the star posing just before flying away, thieves pounced again forcing open an entrance in the middle of the night. They don’t take long to ransack for valuables. Even a neighbour alerting the police did not entirely foil their efforts. Thieves lost a tear-gas bomb and fled with their loot, though dropping a couple of luxury bags as they raced away. It is unclear at the moment if the burglars were the same or if those were two different breaks-in.

Law and order

Jail for Domestic Employee Who Abused Trust with the Wealthy Household’s Credit Card 

It’s a slippery slope giving your employees your credit card and right to buy products and services. Especially so, if you don’t keep an eagle eye daily on your bank account. At first a system of receiving receipts after making purchases seemed to be working, but there were evidently not enough controls, nor timely enough. It took a discrepancy of several hundred thousand euros, a year after the fact, to wake up to the bad news – a dishonest trusted domestic employee or several. Too late to piece together the exact evidence for all the lost funds. Over 20 domestic employees in a wealthy Monegasque household – one or multiple culprits? And then there were the clothes and jewellery involved, and cash withdrawals lengthy disputes and confusion around many of the suspicious items. At least one suspect was clearly identified for a portion of the missing funds to the tune of 50.000 euros. Too little recovered too late but a 3 month prison sentence for the single culprit identified. 

Law and order

Con-Men Targeting the Elderly on their Fixed Telephones 

These callers are persistent if nothing else. It is the third wave now when they are preying on the elderly in Monaco. In 2019 and early this year they scoured the Monaco telephone directory for vulnerable older residents – often selecting their prey by typical names from past generations. They are targeting the fixed telephone lines. The typical confidence trick is to pose as a tax inspector and send a pretend-huissier to collect the ill-gotten money from a gullible victim. The latest wave is to pose as a “proche” in trouble and in need of immediate help. A pretend-lawyer is sent to collect jewellery or cash. The criminals don’t care if they have to call a hundred residents to net one victim – because one “fish netted” can be a “big catch”. 

Be aware of anyone, especially those calling internationally or from a blocked number, with a ruse asking for money or valuables. The callers are relentless and invent novel approaches preceding each wave. 

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