Time is up for loan scam gang

Organized crime squad officers have arrested 10 Greeks and two Syrians in Athens in connection with a gang that allegedly paid drug addicts to pose as bank customers and take out loans or agree on finance deals to buy luxury cars, police said yesterday. The gang allegedly set up a business as a front to provide drug addicts and homeless people with proof of employment, which, along with other forged documents, they used to obtain loans or buy cars. The business was owned by a Corfu woman, who official records show to be dead. Recruits taking part in the scam were spruced up and coached by the gang before being sent to banks, where they were accompanied by a female member of the group. Using this method, the gang bought more than 50 cars, which were then traded several times between members so their original source could not be detected. They were then sold through a used-car dealership the gang set up on Syngrou Avenue in Athens. Police said the scams were worth several hundred thousand euros. They arrested 10 men and two women and are looking for one more man.