Crackdown As Scammers Con Expats Out Of Millions

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Construction firms rebuilding earthquake-torn Canterbury, New Zealand, are scamming thousands of expat workers, claims the government.

The firms are ignoring the skills and experience expat workers can offer and pay them basic rates instead of contract rate paid by the government.

To counter the abuse, the New Zealand government is increasing the number of immigration officers and labour inspectors managing the multi-billion dollar program.

The aim is to crackdown on rogue contractors to make sure expats are paid a fair rate for their work.

Thousands of workers are employed on the rebuilding of the city, which was destroyed by a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

Bogus gas inspectors

The government has made the rebuilding of Canterbury a key economic priority.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges said: “Expat worker should not be taken advantage off. They have the same employment rights and work under the same legal safeguards as any other worker in New Zealand.

A draft law that allows the government to impose tough penalties on firms exploiting expat workers is before the New Zealand parliament.

Meanwhile, a gang of bogus tax inspectors suspected of defrauding around 5,000 expats in Spain have been arrested.

Elderly British, Dutch and German expats mainly on the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and Balearic Islands were scammed by the fraudsters.

The sophisticated crooks set-up inspection appointments by telephone and then visited their victims dressed in uniforms undistinguishable from the real thing and gained entry with false IDs.

Bras boost tax auction

Once inside the home, any small valuables, like jewellery, cash and credit cards were pocketed, while the fake engineers reported false faults and charged the expats between 200 euros and 1200 euros for bodged repairs often leaving a risk of leaks and explosions behind them.

Police arrested 26 men involved in the scam, recovering jewellery and other valuables worth around 4 million euros and 27 high-end cars and motorcycles.

The fraudsters exploited a Spanish law requiring homeowners with liquid gas supplies to undergo a safety inspection every five years. The inspection should cost 60 euros.

Finally, an 11- metre yacht Caribbean Lady is up for sale in Malaga, Spain, by the local tax authority and is expected to raise £40,000 to pay compensation for timeshare fraudster Toni Muldoon, 67, who was sent to prison in July 2013 for the part he played in a 6.6 million euro sex escort and debt recovery scam.

Other seized goods awaiting auction include 50 outsize bras, a Jacuzzi bath and a pleasure park in Benidorm.

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