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Friday, June 30th, 2023, 7:48 am

Response to the Economic Crime Victim Contact Unit (VCoA)

See disclaimer below* regarding this seemingly daring metaphor

Marilyn Monroe skirt: 'prevent them from becoming a repeat victim.'

Summary: Just 4 hours after escalating the matter of Sirius ‘Open Source’ fraud to its (previously) biggest client, which oversees police budget, the Economic Crime Victim Contact Unit (VCoA) got in touch with me regarding my Action Fraud crime report (many victims; not handled for almost 10 weeks despite escalation to my Member of Parliament), saying they “offer free [editor’s note: taxpayer-funded actually] help and advice to people who have been the victims of fraud and cyber-crime to try to help prevent them from becoming a repeat victim.” But we need action, we need law enforcement, not “advice” (action is well overdue, several months already).

MORE than a month ago I received an “(in)action fraud” message that was timed exactly 4 weeks after its submission (weekend outside working hours), specifying nothing about my crime report. I’m certain it was automated. Nobody bothered looking into that and it seems endemic at Action Fraud (it has been even worse for some; they’re literally being insulted by Action Fraud; the cops are attacking the victims of crime!** ). On Monday I received the following after Greater London Authority (London Municipality) got contacted, so it’s safe to assume someone there nudged the police to stop ignoring victims of crimes committed against staff of London Municipality (by contract; we worked on their system for many years).

Here’s a portion of what they sent (some redaction applied) and my response:

Action Fraud Report

ECONOMIC CRIME VICTIM CONTACT UNIT (VCoA)

To: Roy Schestowitz

The Economic Crime Victim Contact Unit (VCoA) is part of the Action Fraud National Fraud and Cyber Reporting Centre service. We deliver a support service for victims of fraud and cyber-crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We offer free help and advice to people who have been the victims of fraud and cyber-crime to try to help prevent them from becoming a repeat victim. We do not investigate crime and we cannot assist in the recovery of any losses. We will never ask you for anything as our purpose is to provide information, help and guidance.

We have received a referral in relation to the report you made to Action Fraud, crime reference number [redacted] refers.

A serious crime was committed. It was committed not just against myself but also against my colleagues. It went on for years. We’re not gullible, we are well-educated people who are literate in this domain. There was a chain of enablers in this crime. The legitimacy came from various separate factors, including some which are connected to the government. I can elaborate on this as the need arises.

The perpetrators of the crime have names. They have home addresses. You know where they live. They need to be interrogated and held accountable. The evidence is overwhelming and they do not deny the crime was committed.

If somebody gets raped, you don’t simply lecture them on how not to become “repeat victim”, you go out there and apprehend the rapist. Here too, a crime was committed, repeatedly, for years, against many people. They only found out about it this year, as there was obstruction and stonewalling, including from pension providers. The accountants and IFA refuse to even answer queries about it. They may be culpable too.

Anything short of action from Action Fraud would seem inadequate. I first contacted the police back in March after it got confirmed to me that a crime had been committed. I am not a law enforcer, so the role of the police forces is crucial.

We’re almost in July already. Is it considered normal for a case to take almost 4 months from initial report to action? You say you “do not investigate crime”, so who will investigate it and when? When will action be taken?

The message from the Economic Crime Victim Contact Unit (VCoA) — not from Action Fraud — came out of the blue as a reaction to escalation to Greater London Authority, GLA. In fact, only 4 hours passed since I contacted GLA on the matter. So it seems that in order to progress these things one needs to have special connections, e.g. working for GLA as a contractor for nearly a decade.

They have not even responded since then. Not a word. They have my postal address, my phone number, my E-mails.

But not a word. My response to them did not bounce, so it’s safe to assume they received it.

It also worries me that they got a person to respond to me only after months of efforts, including an escalation to my Member of Parliament, a former client (that it in charge of police budget), and public shaming. Not many people have time and capacity to do this. Some are too busy working all day long and are impatient, moody, helpless, and utterly frustrated.

How to get UK Action Fraud to take “affirmative action” against crime***? I can only speak from my own experience.

It goes like this:

Contact with crime report/evidence, wait 4 weeks, then escalate to MP, wait 4 weeks, then escalate to London’s authorities, then they might escalate to City of London Police (if you worked for London’s authorities) and there MIGHT be a chance of them actually taking action. Ridiculous.

If this is how law enforcement works here (or elsewhere****), then I am deeply concerned. This is the blueprint for monarchy-type regimes with immunity and impunity, where police exists only as a sort of “formality”.
_____
* Regarding the skirt thing, the metaphor is not mine but Rianne’s as she found their language rather patronising and offensive. “Not sure the skirt metaphor helps,” one person remarked, as “maybe it is better to just say right out that the cops are engaged in victim blaming” and one “might then add that they are patronising and offensive, too, in addition to blaming the victims, as it appears standard operating procedure for them across a wide range of crime categories.”

** Remember the undercover investigation of Action Fraud, which was accused of insulting victims instead of helping them. Inadequate training and poor recruitment can lead to such low standards of response. This needs to become widespread knowledge and even mainstream TV (public broadcasting) took note of it in recent years.

*** Cops should really be more than just some folks in uniform with a public-facing Web site. Work needs to be done, otherwise crime flourishes and criminals are emboldened to commit more crime, seeing they suffer no consequences. They become “repeat criminal“.

**** As we stated some hours ago, this isn’t some “uniquely British” thing. As Ryan from Illinois (United States) recalls: “You might mention that while the police had no time to take a report of Maricel’s murder-for-hire scheme and insurance fraud, they had plenty of time to come out and frame me for being the responsible party in a car accident, and they even cited a law and showed a diagram of the accident that showed I did nothing wrong. I still had to pay $700 to fix my car and $400 for a traffic lawyer to beat the ticket. They let people who were on parole in another state that didn’t have a driver’s license or any form of insurance go. They have plenty of time to come out and frame people they don’t like. Maybe the Waukegan police saw that I was gay (there with my spouse) and shoved the ticket in my hand and laughed. Maybe they really are that stupid. Who knows? When you call the police and they show up, they’re as dangerous to you as they are to anyone else. They may take no action against the criminal and frame you while they’re there. They seem to have a rule in Waukegan that every time there’s an accident, someone gets a ticket. It’s a way for them to make money. You should see how the traffic courts work here. Boom boom boom. Hundreds of thousands of dollars a day in ticket revenue. Everyone pleading guilty to something to avoid their insurance going up. The judge doesn’t even pretend to care if any of them have done something wrong or they just want it to stop. It’s like criminal court only worse. I think I was the only one to fight them and they were so unprepared to stop and handle it that they actually let me go.”

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