death links to original article
(Hürriyet Newspaper, 12 October 2011)
Antalya police started work in connection with a gang that defrauded the
relatives of dead people by monitoring death notices. Teams took five
persons into custody yesterday during 'Operation Empty Grave'. The five
were alleged to have conned 51 people out of 120,000TL over 2 months.
The modus operandi of the gang, whose leader is Mustafa Arslan (35), was
brought to light: the suspects examined death notices appearing in
newspapers and on TV and the internet to learn the deceased person's
identity and address information. Sometimes the gang members would
attend funerals and collect detailed information. A week or two later the
gang members would call the deceased's relatives and identify themselves
as attorneys, pretending not to know of the deceased's death but claiming
that the individual had shopped at their store. The gang would explain that
they had to apply interest on the shopper's debt but would forego it if the
debt was paid.
Gang leader Arslan used a number of false identities and was being sought
for four separate crimes. It was determined that Arslan had money
transferred to accounts he opened at various banks in the names of four
gang members, two of whom are women. The gang member who
accumulated the most money was paid a premium.