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rynner
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PostPosted: 03-05-2008 08:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Couple stole IDs to fund globetrotting'
By Tom Leonard in New York
Last Updated: 3:22AM BST 03/05/2008

A glamorous young couple dubbed a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde enjoyed a jet-setting lifestyle after stealing the identities of friends and neighbours in an elaborate fraud, prosecutors say.

Edward Anderton, 25, and Jocelyn Kirsch, 22, were a golden couple on the Philadelphia social scene - going to the best parties, eating at the best restaurants and regularly holidaying in Europe, North Africa and the Caribbean.

But, as a court will hear later this month, none of the money was theirs. It was defrauded in a scheme that netted $100,000 (£50,000) after they broke into their neighbours' homes and copied their personal details.

When police searched their apartment in Rittenhouse Square, one of Philadelphia's most expensive addresses, they found a sophisticated identity-theft operation, including an ID card-making machine, computer spyware and lock-picking tools.

The couple also had keys to many of their neighbours' apartments and to all of their mailboxes.

Police also discovered a book entitled The Art of Cheating: A Nasty Little Book for Tricky Little Schemers and Their Hapless Victims.

Investigators allege that the couple sneaked into their neighbours' homes and stole social security numbers, bank account details and even a passport.

In at least five cases, they then opened credit card and bank accounts in their victims' names, backed by fake driving licences.

Police believe they also got hold of confidential information by installing spyware software on their neighbours' computers. When police disconnected the pair's computers, the building's entire internet access crashed.

The pair also allegedly fleeced their friends, in one case even stealing the identities of some people who had invited them to stay in New York.

Miss Kirsch made no attempt to hide their lavish lifestyle, posting pictures of their expensive holidays on her Facebook internet page.

Friends who wondered how they financed their spending were reassured that the money came from Miss Kirsch's father, a North Carolina plastic surgeon, and Mr Anderton's job as a business analyst.

However, Mr Anderton, a recent Pennsylvania University graduate, had in fact been sacked after he returned to work with a Caribbean tan having told his bosses that he was off sick. Rolling Eyes

Miss Kirsch, a final-year student at a less prestigious neighbouring university, Drexel, told people she wanted to be a United Nations ambassador.

A professor was so impressed by her that he put her on a globalisation debate panel where she sat near the special guest, the Prince of Wales.

The crime spree lasted more than a year before a hairdresser, who had been presented with a bogus cheque for $2,200 for putting extensions in Miss Kirsch's hair, discovered that her mailing address was actually a UPS store.

After the hairdresser, Jen Bisicchia, received a threatening anonymous text message, she went to the police. The couple were caught when they turned up at the UPS store to collect a package of lingerie addressed to one of their victims who lived across their hall.

They now face charges including identity theft, burglary and conspiracy at a preliminary hearing on May 12.

Ron Greenblatt, Miss Kirsch's lawyer, told ABC News that the pair were "just devastated and sad and really remorseful about all this".

The pair, who have yet to plead, are out on bail and Miss Kirsch has been working in the rather less glamorous environs of a Starbucks outlet in northern California.

The case has attracted considerable interest across America. But Terry Sweeney, the police detective who handled the investigation, told Rolling Stone magazine that the couple hardly deserved to be compared to Bonnie and Clyde.

"That's only because they're young and good-looking. These two were complete idiots," he said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1921968/%27Couple-stole-IDs-to-fund-globetrotting%27.html

With friends like these, who needs enemies..?
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Black River FallsOffline
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PostPosted: 03-05-2008 09:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

a pretty grim tale Sad

Quote:

Web scam drove student to suicide

An inquest has been told how a university student killed herself after falling victim to an internet scam.

Jaiyue Wang, 23, gave more than £6,000 in the belief she had won half a million pounds in a lottery after being contacted over the internet.

She arrived in Britain last summer from Hainan in China to study at the University of Nottingham.

Recording a suicide verdict, Nottingham coroner Dr Nigel Chapman said her death, in April, was a tragedy.

Vulnerable woman

He said: "A young university student - doesn't speak very much English, her parents don't speak English - been coming across to one of the great universities but has taken her own life because of a scam from Nigeria."

Ms Wang was found hanged at her home in Beeston last month.

Jonathan Ray, a University of Nottingham spokesman, said: "Obviously anybody who hears this story will just feel that it's a despicable exploitation of a vulnerable person whatever their status or location in life.

"It's just deeply sad that the young woman was so badly hit by what happened to her just before Christmas."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/7380093.stm
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rynner
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PostPosted: 20-05-2008 06:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Record level of benefits 'stolen'

Record levels of benefits and other public money are being "stolen" or overpaid, but authorities are not doing enough about it, says a report.

Some £140m of fraud or overpayments have been detected in England by a biennial Audit Commission study.

The figure - including £24m in housing benefit overpayment and fraud - had risen 26% since its 2004/05 findings.

It said some cases had been "blatant and shocking", but councils insist they are cracking down on illegality.

The Audit Commission has carried out the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) study every two years since 1996, and similar exercises are done in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

One case in this report revealed a Lincolnshire man was receiving council tax benefit, income support, incapacity benefit and disability living allowance, while running a market stall and sitting on savings of more than £100,000.

He also ran other businesses from home, drove a Mercedes and took luxury holidays, said the report. Meanwhile his wife was claiming carer's allowance to "look after him". Shocked

While the report criticises some public bodies for not following up on the information it provides, in this case the council has begun proceedings to prosecute the man.

The NFI computer system searches for "anomalies" in records provided by public bodies, then passes on the information to those organisations so they can take action.

It matches information provided by councils, the NHS, police and probation authorities and fire services, from records such as housing benefit claims, payroll and pensions, disabled parking permits and social housing applications.

In some cases it uncovers fraud from within their own ranks, such as the 2,162 local government employees found to have been overpaid housing benefit in 2006/07.

Anomalies found via the NFI could turn out to be deliberate fraud or mistakes that need to be corrected. In £24m worth of housing benefit overpayment found, 31% was classified as fraud, 62% claimant error and 7% local authority error.

The NFI is only one way of discovering fraud and mistakes - the total amount of housing benefit fraud was estimated at £760m for 2005/06.

The Audit Commission said its latest figures did not necessarily mean more fraud was taking place, but that more was being uncovered.

Commission chairman Michael O'Higgins said where there was fraud the crimes were by no means "victimless".

"Some of the fraud found is both blatant and shocking.

"People are stealing homes, pensions, student loans, parking places and benefits, seemingly confident that no one is tracking them. They are wrong.

"We urge all public bodies to put in place the necessary trained staff to work with us and follow up any matches. It makes both moral and financial sense to detect fraud and over-payment."


'Sophisticated methods'

The study focused on a range of services and also found:

More than 16,000 blue badge parking permits for disabled people were being fraudulently claimed in the names of dead people.

Nearly 160 public sector staff were working without a valid visa to work in the UK, and were dismissed or resigned. They were working in London councils, the NHS, probation boards and police authorities.

In 2,819 cases occupational pensions were being paid after the death of the pensioner, with overpayments exceeding £6m.

Payments from local authorities to private care homes for residents who had died were detected in 300 cases.

Councils form the biggest group of organisations providing information for the NFI, which will be extended to cover central government and private sector employees from October, although submitting information will be voluntary.

Chairman of the Local Government Association Sir Simon Milton, said all councils had dedicated fraud teams, many of which had recouped "significant amounts of revenue and resources".

"This report demonstrates that councils are working hard to crack down on illegal claims for benefits, council tax discounts, compensation and disabled parking badges."

He said councils and the Audit Commission had increasingly sophisticated methods of detecting fraud, but also still relied on "law-abiding people to be their eyes and ears".

Once council singled out for praise was Southwark, in London, which has so far recovered 30 properties after using NFI information about tenancy fraud.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7409024.stm
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H_JamesOffline
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PostPosted: 20-05-2008 20:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone mentioned the speaker scam? Someone I know actually fell for it Confused and several other people I know have been approached by scammers of this type...
Basically, it involves packaging some terrible speakers in the boxes of some very good speakers, claiming to be delivery drivers with a surplus shipment, which has to be get rid of at a reduced price.
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markbellisOffline
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PostPosted: 20-05-2008 20:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

H_James wrote:
Has anyone mentioned the speaker scam?


Not in this thread, but there's an article in Wikipedia on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_van
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H_JamesOffline
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PostPosted: 20-05-2008 21:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

A related one was described by rapper Ice-T in last saturday's Guardian magazine - selling fake diamond rings at the bus station. As in 'I bought this ring for my mother, it cost $800, but I can't afford my bus home, and you can have it for $100 as I desperately need to get home'. He said it was OK, as only greedy people fall for that sort of thing. Confused
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Black River FallsOffline
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PostPosted: 21-05-2008 17:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
He said it was OK, as only greedy people fall for that sort of thing. Confused


To quote Mr Wednesday from Gainman's American Gods - "You can always con a honest man, but why do the extra work"


Quote:
"People are stealing homes, pensions, student loans, parking places and benefits, seemingly confident that no one is tracking them. They are wrong.


If they're wrong, then why are record levels of benefits being stolen? Confused I always think that when i see the scare posters on the bus that make like they're watching you or following you all the time. Creepy and unpleasant, and also dumb, because if they really could bust all the benefit cheats, they'd be doing it rather than talking about doing it...
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rynner
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PostPosted: 12-06-2008 08:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hedge fund fraudster hunted after suicide 'mystery'
By James Quinn in New York
Last Updated: 10:46PM BST 11/06/2008

An international manhunt is underway after an American hedge fund fraudster disappeared, appearing to have committed suicide, just an hour before he was due to start a 20-year prison sentence.
The FBI and New York State Police are leading the search for Samuel Israel III, the founder of the Bayou Group of hedge funds who was sentenced in April and ordered to pay $300m (£150m) in restitution to defrauded clients.

Mr Israel had been due to surrender himself to authorities in Massachusetts at 2pm on Monday afternoon, but at 12.30pm that day, officials at the Bear Mountain Bridge in northern New York State spotted his burgundy GMC 4X4 car.

The keys were still in the ignition of the vehicle, with the words "suicide is painless" – the theme from former US television series M*A*S*H – etched onto the vehicle's bonnet in dust. Prescription medication was also found in the glove compartment.

Bruce Cuccia, a senior investigator with the New York State Police department, said: "Besides that, there was nothing much in the car. No witnesses saw anybody jump from the bridge," adding that video cameras on the bridge, which sits above the deepest point of the Hudson River, did not film him leaving the vehicle.

After a full day of searching by the police and the FBI, the US Marshalls Service, which is responsible for tracing on-the-run felons, began its own search.

No body has been found, and authorities have yet to determine whether or not Mr Israel committed suicide.

Mr Cuccia pointed out that bodies of those who jump from the Bear Mountain Bridge, which is about 40 miles north of Manhattan, usually appear after a few days.

Mr Israel's girlfriend, Debbie Ryan, is reported to have told police that he left their home in Armonk, New York, around 9.30am that morning to leave for prison, and that she has not heard from him since.

Not everyone was convinced by his apparent suicide, however.

"I'll believe it when I see a body," Ross Intelisano, a lawyer representing investors who lost $25m in Bayou's collapse told the New York Times.

"All of the clients I spoke to, their initial reaction was that it's a ruse. It's just another fraudulent act."


The $450m fraud at Bayou Group, of which Mr Israel was founder and chief executive, ranks among the worse in the hedge fund industry, whose participants specialise in actively investing money in a variety of complex ways that should lead to higher returns that the traditional fund management industry.

Investors in the firm's funds lost more than $450m between 1998 and 2005, after directors hatched a scheme to conceal losses by faking audited accounts to hide losses.

In addition to Mr Israel, Bayou''s former chief financial officer Daniel Marino and hedge fund manager James Marquez were sentenced to 20 years and 51 months respectively in January.

All three had pleaded previously pleaded guilty to their respective crimes.

In sentencing Mr Israel in April, US District Judge Colleen McMahon, who referred to him as the "mastermind" of the scheme, said: "Financial fraud, white-collar crimes are every bit as heinous as every other type of crime and they will be punished severely."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/2112424/Hedge-fund-fraudster-hunted-after-suicide-%27mystery%27.html
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rynner
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PostPosted: 16-06-2008 21:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forty charged in bogus crash case

Forty people have been charged over an alleged £5.3m insurance fraud after a two-year investigation by Bedfordshire Police and the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

Those charged are accused of making false insurance claims following staged vehicle collisions.

The arrests were made during dawn raids by police in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Berkshire.

Twenty-six defendants are due to appear at Luton Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and Wednesday on a range of charges.

These include conspiracy to defraud, possession of criminal property, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and obtaining, or attempting to obtain, a money transfer by deception.

Fourteen other people are expected to appear before Luton Magistrates on 24 July.

The police operation called Exhort started in May 2006 and centred on Luton.

It relates to an insurance fraud sometimes known as "cash for crash".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7457908.stm

I found this especially fascinating, since it was only a week or so ago that I read a crime novel (set in California) where such staged crashes formed a big part of the plot.
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rynner
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PostPosted: 19-06-2008 07:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schoolboy hacker Omar Khan who upped his grades faces 38 years in jail
Chris Ayres in Los Angeles

It could be a long time before Omar Khan goes to college: as long as 38 years, according to Orange County prosecutors, who have arrested and charged the 18-year-old student with breaking into his prestigious high school and hacking into computers to change his test grades from Fs to As.

If convicted on all 69 counts, including altering and stealing public records, computer fraud, burglary, identity theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy, Mr Khan could spend almost four decades in prison.

He is currently being held on $50,000 (£25,500) bail and is scheduled to appear in court today.

Mr Khan’s defence lawyer, Carol Lavacol, described her client as “a really nice kid” and said: “There’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.”

Prosecutors claim that between January and May, Mr Khan, who lives in Coto de Caza, one of Orange County’s oldest and most expensive gated communities, repeatedly broke into Tesoro High School, which was made famous by the reality TV series Real Housewives of Orange County.

In an alleged plot that resembles the script to the 1986 high school comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, prosecutors claim that he then used teachers’ passwords to hack into computers and change his test scores. In at least one test, an English exam, Mr Khan had been given an F grade because he was caught cheating.

Prosecutors claim that the teenager, who is alleged to have broken into the school late at night with a stolen master key, also changed the grades of 12 other students, and that he installed spyware on school hard drives that allowed him to access the computers from remote locations.

Tesoro High has 2,800 pupils and often appears in Newsweek magazine’s annual list of best high schools.

Mr Khan’s plan, the prosecution argues, was to get a place at one of the colleges within the University of California system. After his application was rejected, he requested copies of his student records, known as “transcripts” in the US educational system, so he could appeal. But when teachers looked at his files and noticed all the A grades that had magically appeared next to all the courses he had taken they realised something was wrong.

“School administrators alerted law enforcement after noticing a discrepancy in Mr Khan’s grades,” the Orange County District Attorney’s office said. “Subsequent investigation revealed that Mr Khan was in possession of original tests, test questions and answers, and copies of his altered grades. Khan is accused of stealing master copies of tests, some of which were e-mailed to dozens of students.”

The case has once again raised the question of whether technology, in particular mobile phones that can access the internet, has resulted in an epidemic of cheating in the high-school system. The Orange County Register, a local newspaper, asked its readers yesterday to respond to a poll asking if “technology is giving [students] an advantage”, or whether it is just “the same stuff using new tools”.

Another student, Tanvir Singh, also 18, is accused of conspiring with Mr Khan and faces up to three years in prison. The pair allegedly exchanged text messages last month while organising a break-in.

Jim Amormino, of the local sheriff’s department, said that he was astonished by the sophistication of the scheme, especially given the age of the defendants. “I think they [now] wish they would have put their talents into studying,” he said.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article4168112.ece
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gncxxOffline
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PostPosted: 20-06-2008 17:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thirty-eight years?! Matthew Broderick did the same in WarGames and he didn't get that much!
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rynner
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PostPosted: 03-07-2008 06:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner wrote:
Hedge fund fraudster hunted after suicide 'mystery'


Fugitive hedge fund fraudster surrenders
By James Quinn in New York
Last Updated: 6:42PM BST 02/07/2008

An international man hunt has ended after a fugitive hedge fund fraudster handed himself in to police after three weeks on the run.
Samuel Israel III, who tried to fake his own suicide last month in an attempt to avoid a 20-year prison sentence for his part in a $450m fraud, surrendered at a police station in Southwick, Massachusetts, this morning.

Israel, 48, disappeared on June 9, the same day he was supposed to report to prison to begin his sentence. His four-wheel-drive was later found parked close to the Bear Mountain bridge, in New York state, a common suicide spot.

He had daubed "Suicide is Painless" in dust on the bonnet of the car, the keys were still in the ignition and prescription medication was found in the glove box.

Police monitored the Hudson River below the bridge in a search for his body, but there were immediate suspicions he had faked suicide and the US Marshalls, the FBI and Interpol began a manhunt.

Debra Ryan, his girlfriend, was charged on June 19 with assisting him, with prosecutors alleging that she helped him load his belongings into a motor home and attached a scooter to it in the days before he was due to go to prison.

She has since also admitted that he woke her up early on the morning of June 9 to ask her to follow him in her car, as he dropped off the motor home at a highway rest area before returning home with her. Later that day, he left the house in his four-wheel-drive, but Miss Ryan said she never saw him again.

Police suspect he fled in the motor home, but his exact movement have not yet been established. In the end, he turned himself in just 95 miles from the federal prison in Ayers, Massachusetts, where he is due to serve his sentence.

The fraud at the Bayou Group of hedge funds, of which Israel was founder and chief executive, ranks among the worst in the industry, with investors losing more than $450m between 1998 and 2005, after directors hatched a scheme to conceal losses by faking audited accounts.

In addition to Israel, Daniel Marino, Bayou's former chief financial officer, and James Marquez, a hedge fund manager, were sentenced to 20 years and 51 months respectively. All three had pleaded previously pleaded guilty.

In sentencing Israel in April, US District Judge Colleen McMahon, who referred to him as the "mastermind" of the scheme, said: "Financial fraud, white-collar crimes are every bit as heinous as every other type of crime and they will be punished severely."

Hedge fund managers specialise in investing money in a variety of complex ways that should lead to higher returns that the traditional fund management industry.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/2236255/Fugitive-hedge-fund-fraudster-surrenders.html
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rynner
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PostPosted: 03-07-2008 08:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Priest faces questions over how '£350,000 destined for Lourdes ended up in his bank account'
By Peter Allen
Last updated at 1:32 AM on 03rd July 2008

The treasurer of the Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes was yesterday at the centre of a major fraud inquiry.

Father Raymond Zambelli, 65, rector of the site of 66 recognised miracles, has been asked to explain how at least £350,000 raised for the sick and dying ended up in his account.

More than six million pilgrims visit the town in south-west France every year, many of them donating huge amounts of money to its upkeep.

Police confirmed that an inquiry into the ' misappropriation of funds' had been launched, looking at several individuals including a priest.

Much of the money was raised for the sick and the dying who visit the shrine in the foothills of the Pyrenees in south west France every year because they believe it is a place of miracles.

Father Zambelli, who last night denied all wrong doing, was due to welcome the Pope to Lourdes in September to celebrate its 150th anniversary as a place of Christian pilgrimage.

Instead he will now be asked to explain how at least £350,000 destined for Lourdes came to end up in his personal bank account.

As a priest Father Zambelli’s annual salary would be less than £10,000, with his food, accommodation and other living costs all taken care of.

In was in 1858 that schoolgirl Bernadette Soubirous is said to have witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes.

Now more than six million visitors a year flock to the town, many of them contributing huge amounts of money towards its upkeep.

Thousands of British people are among the pilgrims, many arriving via coach or at the nearby airport of Tarbes.

The authorities were first alerted to 'unusual money movements' at Lourdes by Tracfin, the money-laundering arm of the French finance ministry.

Transactions involving Father Zambelli were picked up on June 5th, and have been tracked every since.

The case was so sensitive, however, that the prosecutor general in the nearby town of Pau wrote to French justice minister Rachida Dati asking for the enquiry to be postponed until after a visit by the Pope in September.

Jean-François Lorans wrote in the leaked note: 'This affair is particularly sensitive because Lourdes is preparing to welcome the Pope, Benedict XVI on September 13th 2008.'

Mr Lorans added that the 'arrest and questioning of Father Zambelli should not take place until after the Pope’s visit to France.'

since schoolgirl Bernadette Soubirous apparently witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary in 1858

Visitor numbers to Lourdes are rising each year, especially because of this year's 150th Jubilee Year.

With a population of just 15,000, the town has two and a half times that number of tourist beds - more than anywhere in France except Paris.

Since Bernadette’s apparitions - she had 18 in all - more than 200 million pilgrims have made their way to the town, and there have been 66 officially-recognised miracles.

The last miracle, involving a middle-aged Frenchman with multiple sclerosis, was ratified by the Church following medical recommendations in 1999.

Today Father Zambelli said: 'I am innocent, and will clear my name.'

Local police confirmed that a preliminary enquiry into the 'misappropriation of funds' had been launched.

He added: 'A number of people, including a Roman Catholic priest, are being investigated.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1031229/Priest-faces-questions-350-000-destined-Lourdes-ended-bank-account.html
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PostPosted: 03-07-2008 08:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner wrote:
....Father Raymond Zambelli, 65, rector of the site of 66 recognised miracles, has been asked to explain how at least £350,000 raised for the sick and dying ended up in his account.....



Father Ted LIves!
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 03-07-2008 08:20    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timble2 wrote:
rynner wrote:
....Father Raymond Zambelli, 65, rector of the site of 66 recognised miracles, has been asked to explain how at least £350,000 raised for the sick and dying ended up in his account.....



Father Ted LIves!

Craggy Island awaits!
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