daltons links to original article
(Sabah Newspaper, 28 July 2011)
A gang that hoodwinked two merchants and a jeweler in a fraud triangle it
set up has been captured. The gang's interesting method will be taught in the
police academy under the name 'Shooting Fish in a Barrel'.
Istanbul police have captured a gang that defrauded rural merchants with a
three-stage method given the name 'Shooting Fish in a Barrel'. The logic the
gang followed was 'buy someone else's goods with someone else's money
and disappear.' The police saved seven merchants from losing 500,000 TL
to the gang at the last moment. The interesting technique, though, will be
taught as a lesson to police taking a course in financial crimes.
Istanbul Financial Crimes Police set up a special team when complaints
about 'fraud' were received from rural merchants, in particular. After a year
of tracking the gang the team deciphered their modus operandi. Although the
gang, which calls itself 'The Dalton Brothers', has been in the market place
for ten years and defrauded tens of people, they had not been caught.
The reason for this was the extreme importance they gave to communications
The Dalton Brothers' method was comprised of three stages: find, do, take.
Accordingly, they first found rural merchants operating in various sectors
such as construction materials, iron, plastic, sacks, sugar, fertilizer, food oil,
paint, or cables. The gang members would call the merchant and make an
offer to the effect that 'we have materials left over from a bid that we're
selling for very low prices.' When the merchant agreed the gang told him to
'wait for word on pick up.'
In the second phase, 'do', the gang found a merchant that dealt with the goods
in question and placed an order. They then called the first merchant and told
him 'your goods are ready. Come to such and such a warehouse and pick
them up.' The second merchant was then given the name of the driver who
would pick up the goods and the plate number of his truck. As the loading
was underway, the gang hoodwinked the first merchant, saying that 'we've
learned hard lessons by experience. Your goods are being loaded and the
waybill invoice is ready. We're also involved in the jewelry business and
that's where our account is so please send the money to this account.'
Since everything seemed to be going well, the merchant didn't see any
problem with sending the payment. This is when the plan moved to stage
three, when a player that wasn't involved in the first two stages was brought
in - a jeweler. The gang would tell the jeweler 'I live where you're located
and we're having a wedding. We need gold fast but I'm out of the province
right now. Can I send you the money via electronic transfer? My driver
will come and get the gold.' Upon receiving the payment from the first
merchant the jeweler turned over the gold to the gang.
At this point, the second merchant, realizing that he was providing materials
but not receiving payment, would stop the loading process and minimize his
loss. But the first merchant would call the owner of the account he sent the
money to, saying 'I gave you money, where are my goods?'. The jeweler
would then tell him that 'I got the money and I turned over the gold.' Upon
hearing this the first merchant would realize that he had been duped but
the gang members, having obtained the gold upon completion of stage
three, would have by this time disappeared. The victim of all this was the
After the finalization of the work done by the Financial Office's special team,
a raid was conducted on the addresses where the gang members were
staying. Gang leader Mahmut Çelik was taken into custody, along with Yahya
Kırlangıç, Hacı Huti Çelik, Tarkan Çekin, Savaş Dindar, Mehmet Savan,
Abdulhamit Çelik and Yaşar Zengin. In a search conducted at the culprits'
homes 45 cellphones, 12 computers, hundreds of SIM cards and archives
of information about merchants were seized.
Gang leader Mahmut Çelik and seven gang members were incarcerated after
processing at police headquarters. They were so sure of their fraud methods
that they asked the police 'how did you figure us out?'
It has been learned that the gang's 'gain one's confidence and bilk him' tactic
and how the gang was caught will be taught to police undergoing a course
about financial crimes. The lesson will be given the name 'Shooting Fish in a
The gang members used separate cellphones for each fraud operation and
would never revisit the same neighborhood where one of their victims was
located. Over the last month the gang duped three rural merchants out
of 150,000 TL with this method. But when one considers that they have
been operating in the market place for ten years the amount of fraud surely
must have exceeded one million TL.
As police prepared for the operation they determined that seven rural
merchants had been targetted by the gang. Careful not to let the gang know
that they were aware of their 500,000 TL fraud, the police made discreet
contact with the merchants. But the merchants were convinced that they
had a real opportunity to get goods cheaply and they didn't want to believe
the police. Only after great efforts by the Financial Office police were the
merchants convinced and saved from bilking.