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OFCANZ targets illegal debt collection by gangs

OFCANZ targets illegal debt collection by gangs

Four men, including three Hells Angels gang members, have been arrested in Auckland in an operation to target unlawful debt collection.

Two warrants were executed at addresses in Helensville, one in Manukau and one in Auckland city in an operation led by the Organised & Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ). This follows complaints about debt collection agencies Dirty Debtors Ltd and Rapid Recovery Ltd.

Two men, aged 51 and 21, will appear in North Shore District court this afternoon. The two others, aged 40 and 39, will appear in Otahuhu District court this afternoon.

Charges include aggravated robbery, burglary and theft in relation to crimes committed under the guise that they were recovering debts for their clients.

Three rifles and 650 rounds of ammunition were found hidden at one of the Helensville addresses and scene examinations are continuing at all the properties.

Detective Inspector Grant Wormald of OFCANZ says there are a number of people claiming to be debt collectors who trade on their membership of a gang.

"More often than not the gangs are used to collect debts in the knowledge that people will pay up through fear and intimidation.

"It is a crime when money is extorted or property taken from people in this way.

"Anyone acting as a debt collection agent needs to know the law and only engage in recovery work which is lawful.

"OFCANZ would like to hear from anyone who has concerns about their experiences with either Dirty Debtors Ltd. or Rapid Recovery Ltd.

"People may have had visits from these two companies seeking to recover money or assets. Alternatively people may have paid for the service and received little, if any, tangible result for the fee paid" said Mr Wormald.

Today’s operation is part of the ongoing focus by OFCANZ and Police to disrupt the illegal activities of gangs.

"People should be left in no doubt that these gangs are heavily involved in organised crime and they should be wary of having any business or social dealings with them" said Mr Wormald.

Anyone with information about illegal debt collection activity involving Dirty Debtors Ltd or Rapid Recovery Ltd can contact Detective Inspector Wormald by email at ofcanz@ofcanz.govt.nz or write to OFCANZ at PO Box 3017, Wellington, or call 04 474 1900.

Alternatively you can give information anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

END

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