European polymer distributors hit in purchasing scam

Hamish Champ
PRW

Published: February 18, 2014 12:42 pm ET
Updated: February 18, 2014 12:45 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Legal, Materials Suppliers

A number of United Kingdom and Italian plastics businesses have been hit by a scam operated from the United Kingdom that has cost the firms an estimated 1 million euros ($1.37 million), according to PRW.

Several of the companies known to have been affected are prominent members of the British Plastics Federation's (BPF) Polymer Distributors and Compounders trade group.

The firms were approached late last year by individuals claiming to represent a company called Kreate UK Ltd.

Representatives of the fake business said they wanted to buy materials such as polypropylene and polyethylene and offered what appeared to be bona fide credentials.

The existence of a Belgium-based company of the same name — which turned out to have no connection with the 'company' that made the approaches — lent credibility to its story, said a senior executive of one of the businesses caught up in the scam.

The fraudsters claimed the Belgian firm was their parent company and provided a UK-registered number which the legitimate business used.

"They were well-spoken, they offered a good story, said they were looking to start manufacturing in the UK, and appeared to be legitimate," said the executive, who asked for anonymity.

"The fact the fraudsters gave the registered number of the genuine Kreate Europe business being cloned effectively meant credit checks came back strong," he added.

Placed orders were collected by the fake company but the fraud came to light when suppliers began to chase "Kreate" for outstanding payment, only to find that the telephone numbers it provided were now dead.

Combined, more than half a dozen companies supplied the bogus firm with between 700 and 800 metric tons of material.

Duped firms approached the Belgium-based Kreate, which was being chased for payment by several other scammed companies. The scam was then quickly reported to the authorities and fraud bodies.

Suppliers also discovered that personnel working at the Midlands-based premises where the fraudsters claimed to have been operating had never heard of the company.

After one company caught up in the scam was offered material fitting the description of some of the stolen product police raided unmanned premises in Walsall and uncovered 30 metric tons of material identified as having come from two of the firms hit by the fraud.

But despite removing computer equipment the trail to find the scam's perpetrators had since gone cold, said the director.

"We contacted Action Fraud UK [a service run by the National Fraud Authority — the government agency that helps co-ordinate the fight against fraud in the UK] but things appear to have reached a dead end.

"All we can do is urge people that if they are approached with offers of material [polyethylene and polypropylene] which they suspect might be dodgy that they check it out thoroughly and if in doubt contact the Northamptonshire police, asking for PC Chris Pettitt, or PRW, with the details," he added.

Another UK distributor hit by the scam also believed the fraudsters knew exactly what they were after.

"These people ordered specific grades. They knew what they were doing and appeared to have identified a market for the material they wanted," said a source at the firm who wished to remain anonymous.

Companies who spoke to PRW about the case said they would be revising their sales procedures in future in order to try and spot potential fraudsters.

The scam operated by "Kreate" bears some similarity to that which hit Louth-based compounder Luxus last year and which PRW reported at the time.


Comments

European polymer distributors hit in purchasing scam

Hamish Champ
PRW

Published: February 18, 2014 12:42 pm ET
Updated: February 18, 2014 12:45 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

DSM planning North American nylon plant

July 22, 2014 11:41 am ET

Materials firm Royal DSM NV plans to build a new nylon resin plant in North America, but no decision has been made on the plant's exact location.    More

China launches investments in Belarus

July 21, 2014 10:10 am ET

China is preparing to invest in a major bottle grade PET production project planned by the Belarus PET and polyester fibers producer...    More

Image

Polynt, CCP create composite resins giant

July 18, 2014 10:13 am ET

France's Total SA has agreed to sell CCP Composites to Polynt Group SpA, based in Italy, for an undisclosed price.    More

Image

PET prices climb 2 cents

July 17, 2014 2:22 pm ET

After holding their ground in May, North American PET prices rebounded to show an average increase of 2 cents per pound in June.    More

Image

PolyOne closing 2 plants in Brazil

July 16, 2014 12:40 pm ET

Materials maker PolyOne Corp. is closing two of its four Brazilian plants in order to streamline operations and improve its financial performance in t...    More

Market Reports

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Market Review & Outlook 2014

This special report from Plastics News examines the North American plastics recycling industry and provides insight into indicators that impact market viability, including Resin pricing trends for virgin and recycled market material and historical Resin production trends for post- consumer and industrial waste.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events