Police arrested the rats found on a cold tiled roof.
Your home is supposed to be a place where you can enjoy some privacy. You’re supposed to be able to shut the door, turn your back on the world and have no worries.
Many people rely on home for a sense of safety as the world becomes more and more difficult.
Johnny Dooley and Joseph Ball are part of a criminal fraternity that comes from Ireland.
Though these people deserve justice and just punishment for what they’ve done, you’ll have to wait a bit for that. That’s because they’ll be sitting on the popular social media site called “roof” until at least the year 2020 A.D.
Truth be told, most con artists find that their victims are people who want to believe the absurd offer. The victims are those who want high-interest rates, the product that fell off the truck, or a share deal. People who are eager to believe something so good it can’t be true.
Roof scamming has been around for years and is carried out by a small number of opportunistic thieves. However, it’s only recently that law enforcement agencies have taken drastic measures to weed these scammers out. We will dive deep into how an international crime syndicate has been operating all over the globe for decades.
In order for someone to take advantage of the vulnerable, they have to be ruthless and care absolutely nothing about the damage they leave behind.
Travellers are a group of people who live nomadically and commit petty crimes. They can be found throughout Europe, Australia, South Africa, Canada, and New Zealand. Travellers often work odd trades such as roof repair or driveway resurfacing before moving on to the next place.
Irish organized crime families have earned millions of dollars through tarmac frauds, trafficking in counterfeit power tools, dealing in banned rhino horn, and trading in fake and stolen antiques. Irish gangs have also moved into providing fake COVID vaccination certificates.
The population of the small Irish town of Rathkeale has been boosted by several thousand locals returning from overseas crime missions.
Johnny Dooley, Michael Dooley and Joseph Ball will not spend a significant amount of time behind bars. They get a reduced sentence because they pleaded guilty in comparison to most other multimillion-dollar fraud cases.
The victims of scams don’t just lose their money. They lose their sense of trust and confidence, and they feel stupid for not seeing the signs.
Police have been investigating a ring of thieves who fly into the city, steal, and fly out a few hours later. The suspects typically hit multiple targets in neighborhoods with high-value homes.
Steve Sinclair is a detective and eight years ago, he found that 70 to 80% of the jobs that used pamphlet drops were with fake companies or businesses. They would go after vulnerable targets and use an aggressive sales pitch.
Police were unable to identify these men before they moved out of Victoria and returned to Britain.
Meanwhile, in 2019, Detective LSC Sinclair was assigned under Operation Sundial after observing similar reports in the Eastern Regional Crime Team. He resolved to take responsibility for such reports, rather than leaving suburban detectives to deal with them on their own.
Detectives found that over five months in 2020, this crew of scam artists pulled off 37 scams and left 43 victims. The oldest victim was 93 years old, and these scammers were able to take away $434,000 in savings. There are also many other victims who would never come forward because they feel ashamed or are too embarrassed to tell family members about their scam experience.
“Some wouldn’t even tell family members,” says Sinclair.
The victims of this scam are many, including a blind person, a deaf person, and someone who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Ninety per cent of their victims are over 60.
The scams were different for each location, but they all had a few things in common: gaining the trust of the target and then stealing as much money from them as possible.
The average garden gnome only has enough intelligence to know what’s in front of him, but criminals who would plead stupidity to their victims are surprisingly sly. When the victim’s check took too long to clear, they helped them set up an online banking account to transfer more than $100,000 in the blink of an eye. If the victim was having trouble getting to the bank, they would go with them.
Roof repair scams often involve thieves coming to your house and pretending they’re roofers. The thief will then claim that they found damage on your roof, and then try to force you to pay them for their service. In some cases, these thieves will start making repairs without taking proper safety precautions, which can force you to pay a second time for legitimate contractors.
One day, a 76-year old man was returning home from a walk when “Joe” approached to say he had been working on a nearby roof and noticed a loose tile on the man’s roof. The man said that for $5, he could climb up there and fix it himself.
Joe was literally Johnny Dooley.
Joe climbs onto the roof and sees that the problem is a bit worse. It would cost $970. A little later, it was worse again – it would cost $16,000 and then $68,000. Then they claimed to be finding asbestos and demanded an additional $60,000.
The man found himself intimidated, but he ended up paying a total of $102,000 – $101,995 more than the original quote.
One cracked tile quickly became 100 smashed ones, and the rafters on the roof were completely rotten. We needed more timber to build a new rafter system, but renting a crane to do it would have been expensive and difficult. That’s why we created an emergency annuity for these types of occasions.
On March 6, a Wheelers Hill resident used Approved Contractors, a fake company run by Ball and the two Dooleys, to inspect his roof. Ball and the two Dooleys told the homeowner that it would cost $6000 to fix leaks in his roof. The man smelled a rat and requested a second opinion. A different company inspected his roof and replaced one cracked tile for free.
On May 14, the criminals visited a Sandringham residence. They offered assistance to a man, who they noticed had roofing and internet issues. The con men helped him set up an internet link to his Lloyds bank account and left the room when he went to the bathroom. Another criminal jumped into the computer chair and was able to siphon $147,888 in just six minutes as the man was flushing and washing his hands.
While they were hitting and moving, the Sundial team was working behind the scenes. They uncovered fake identities, hidden mobile phone records and shadow companies. Yet, this time it all came tumbling down.
Sinclair said, “they would persuade potential workers to take a screenshot of their licence, then use those details to register cars under those names, accumulating fines in the stolen aliases.”
One of the hit-and-run gangs has a history of changing their names multiple times in a short period to evade authorities by obtaining fresh passports.
An investigation that began in a suburban detective’s office eventually involved multiple Australian authorities and international authorities as well. Consumers, police, and the Home Affairs Department all became involved.
A detective said that while at one of the defendant’s work site, it seemed like they still believed they could talk their way out of the situation. However, when search warrants were issued for various properties, their faces suddenly changed to show shock.
When they were presented with overwhelming evidence, they pleaded guilty and wrote a ridiculous sob story about how they weren’t really bad guys. After all, they had a tough life in the U.K. and just sort of fell into crime because it was too hard not to. Tell that to their victims!
So, did the thieves use their ill-gotten gains to help themselves or their families? No, instead they bought designer watches and expensive shoes- these items don’t need to be declared on leaving Australia, so the crooks can resell them for cash. Put $10,000 in cash in your bag and you might get stopped at customs. In contrast, waltzing through with a $10,000 handbag will not raise an eyebrow.
The group of thieves was caught on security camera footage at a fast food restaurant negotiating to buy a used car. One person was distracting the owner while the other pretended to test the engine and spray something inflammable that made it smoke. The suspects convinced the owner of the vehicle to sell for a far cheaper price, as they negotiated down from $8000 to $3000.
For example, Judge O’Connell recently said: “Invariably they were elderly… They feel the need to have a sound roof over their heads.” He then elaborated that their mistake was to trust an “honorable” person like you and your company.
The judge sentenced Johnny and Michael Dooley to a length of two years nine months, and Joseph Ball to the same length of time.
COVID-19 has been the unfortunate cause of international travel disruptions. Many police expect this to be the case with roof scammers, as well. However, with the investigative model set up by Sundial, detectives will know who to stop and where they’ll be waiting.