Thoroughbred trainers and bloodstock agents in North America and Europe have been receiving telephone calls from a scam artist purporting to be a representative of a major businessman and stud farm owner from India who said he wants to enlist their assistance in buying horses at upcoming sales.
The caller, who has been using a blocked telephone number and has gone by the name “Raj,” explains who his supposed client is (the Paulick Report is not publishing the name of this prominent businessman, who is not active in American racing but is a significant player in his native India), then sets up a phone interview at a later time with an individual posing as the client.
“Raj” then explains that his client has established a $7-million line of credit with Keeneland for the upcoming September Yearling Sale, providing documentation of an application for credit.
Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales operations, is familiar with the scam. “We have contacted the principal and he has informed us he has not requested any credit and has no intention of purchasing horses at this year's Keeneland September sale,” said Russell, who said Keeneland has alerted other sales companies of the scheme. Russell said European horsemen have received similar calls from an individual purporting to be representing the Indian businessman.
If the trainer wants to be retained as an agent for the purported buyer, “Raj” has told them, it is necessary for them to allow the scammer to install software on his or her computer to ensure “secure” communications with the Indian businessman. If the trainer balks at that procedure, he or she is then asked to wire $700 via Western Union to an address in Georgia, the former Soviet bloc country.
“The person they are representing is real,” a trainer who was contacted in the scheme told the Paulick Report, “but I wasn't going to give someone access to my computer. And then as soon as they said to wire them money via Western Union, I knew the whole thing was a scam.”
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