Saturday, August 15, 2009

Israeli Nationals Posing As Locksmiths? What Is Going On Here?

I found the following article under www.lasvegasnow.com, and I have so many questions about it. Here is the article, and my questions to follow:

Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp and Photojournalist Matt Adams

I-Team: Police Breaking Up Phony Locksmiths

Updated: Aug 14, 2009 5:28 PM

Just look at the phone book or online and you'll see hundreds of fly-by-night locksmith outfits using phony names and bogus addresses to fleece millions of dollars each year out of locals and tourists.

The scam emanates from New York and Florida and appears to be a highly organized criminal enterprise that flaunts local laws and has been known to use threats and intimidation against customers who are invariably in vulnerable situations.

An undercover police officer posing as a shopper locked out of car calls a company named Right On Time Locksmith. She is routed to another company, S and S Locksmith. When help arrives 15 minutes later in an unmarked van, the man says he works for a 3rd company, Mega-Locksmith.

The $30 fee mentioned on the phone gets bumped. "$50 bucks," says "locksmith" Eli Levy on hidden camera. I just say $50. Other companies are charging over $100 to open doors."

As soon as they hear a price mentioned, detectives who've been monitoring the exchange move in. Levy is an Israeli national and says this is his second day on the job. He has no business license, work card, or a valid driver's license.

He says he doesn't know how the three companies are linked and also says he doesn't need a business license. There's a very simple reason why the law requires a criminal background check for anyone working as a locksmith. Joe Esposito owned liberty lock for 29 years. "Locksmiths have the keys and the knowledge and the expertise to basically break into anybody else's house. A locksmith is basically a licensed burglar," he said.

Esposito and other legitimate locksmiths are appalled by the invasion of Las Vegas and other large cities by shady, unlicensed locksmith operators who are little more than a phone number. They take out huge ads in the Yellow Pages, have dozens of numbers under single listings, and essentially take over the market.

There are no background checks or work cards for the employees. Taxes aren't paid and the whole operation seems to be routed back to a central dispatch in New York. "It's millions of dollars. It's big. That's why they are doing it," said Esposito.

Even Metro doesn't know who owns these companies. "No not yet. It's definitely big. It almost seems like it's a human trafficking deal. You know, ‘Come here, we're going to set you up in these, work when we say, do what we say,'" said Sgt. Lenny LaRusso with Metro's Privileged License Team.

Sgt. LaRusso's team has turned up the heat in recent months, using stings to send a message and to gather information. Two of the drivers busted Tuesday afternoon were sent out by the same dispatcher to the same location.

Like Ely Levy, Sal is also from Israel. "I'm a sick person, sir. I work part time. I have to eat. I'm not stealing," he said.

But it has all the markings of a scam. The most common complaint is that the locksmiths quote one price on the phone, and then something else in person.

Cheryl Delhagen needed new locks after her home was burglarized -- a job that should have cost $150. "Finally at the end he presented me with a bill for $610," she said.

Customers say if they balk at paying, locksmiths threaten them or refuse to leave. Consumers have nowhere to go to complain.

LaRusso's team says few, if any, of the companies have actual offices. Search Google for Las Vegas Locksmiths and hundreds pop up, but the addresses are bogus. They're actually the addresses of fast food joints, Caesars Forum Shops, the Mandalay Events Center, or McCarran Airport. The office that sent out two of the men who were busted is, in fact, a locksmith shop but it's been closed down for many months.

One of the bogus companies listed the address of its office and it seemed very familiar to our I-Teamproducer Ian Russell. That's because it is his home address. He assures us there is no locksmith operation in his apartment.

Esposito says he's appealed to the phone company to at least ask for a business license before listing a locksmith company. He was rebuffed every time. "These people are very much taking advantage of the community and the phone company is basically assisting them in doing this," he said.

So how can you figure out which company is legit? Ask for advice from AAA, your insurance company, and know the signs of a scam.


NTS Notes: Interesting article, and shows how people are scammed by crooked business practices constantly. There is comments in the article from legitimate locksmiths that question the motives of these phony locksmiths, and these scam artists as being nothing more than "licensed burglars" that are ripping the public off!

But some things are not discussed in this episode. My first concern is of course, what the hell are Israeli "nationals" doing posing as locksmiths in Las Vegas in the first place? And how is it that legitimate Americans are right now out of work, and yet these companies are bringing in unlicensed Israeli nationals to be "locksmiths"? Is it just me, or is something very strange going on here?

Hmmm... Not to be paranoid here, but I remember reports of Israeli nationals posing as "moving company" employees just before the 9-11 attacks, and these "employees" turned out to be Mossad agents! Some were later caught filming the actual attacks on the WTC on 9-11! What about the Israeli "nationals" who ran the scam product kiosks in shopping malls right before the 9-11 attacks? After the attacks, these kiosk operators suddenly vanished! Most of them were most probably Mossad agents as well. Should not more Americans be concerned when Israeli "nationals" seem to surface suddenly in Las Vegas as Locksmiths?

More to come

NTS



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

They are all over the united states not just vegas. Yes they are Israeli run. They have hundreds of thousands listings all over the united states using phony addresses and even addresses of actual established locksmith shops. They use low balling price tactics and cheat many consumers. They seem to be moving large amounts of cash as these guys always demand cash. I have even heard that the employees were instructed to send blank money orders to their boses that are just under 1000.00 dollars.
They have put many smaller locksmiths out of business with their trickery and there deceptive advertising. I have been demanding action for about 6 years now. Some states have gone after them, but they are limited to their borders.
I have been Sued by one of these companys that use phony addresses. Its name is Dependable lock inc. Which was formerly Priceline locksmith or superb solutions was another name. David Peer is the flunky in charge or on record as the owner. The part of the case involving me was dismissed by a federal Judge. They alledged a conspiracy to put them out of business. It was all a bunch of crap and its main purpose was to intimidate me and the state of Illinois. Yes where is the FBI, US customs and The IRS.

Also some of these companys are infiltraiting carpet cleaners, tow trucks, and in the past were involved with the moving scams and florist scams.
Good morning america also did a piece regarding this story on 1-1-08 you can also find a piece done on NPR radio

Anonymous said...

NPR Radio story.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18573130


Good morning America showing Israeli scammers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYK7-3AJRZM

Anonymous said...

What can be done to stop them - they are in all major city throughout the United States- I have info - to help!! If you want it let me know

Northerntruthseeker said...

If there is more evidence of their nefarious actions, then I am all ears....

What can be done to help? Have them exposed and shown for what they really are!

nancy said...

Everything said is the truth about these people thier address is

407 S arcturas ave
clearwater, fl 33756

david peer is the man in charge
they were based out of Ny - but had to move to Fl -
they dont pay taxes and thier cc accounts are under false names- so they are not responsible, most of the guys working are here illegally-

these people are bad and dangerous - why won't our government do anything? this guys are placed in all major cities throughout the US, FRAUD, FRAUD- I see how the terroristswere able to do thier damage - NO ONE LISTENS

Anonymous said...

The clearwater main office was shut down today.

nancy said...

thank GOD -USA -USA -USA somebody better make sure that they are not still taking calls and working

Anonymous said...

mr peer got released i bet if they found drugs on him - he'd be under the jail- but steal from our citizens, lie, be in our country illegally, support his foreign war,and the El-Ad company thats buying up american soil,don't pay taxes or follow our laws, hate our country,be a terrorist cell,rob and intimidate our elderly people,money laundering, mail fraud, and all the victims of Dependable locks, and who knows what that money has supported,but its okay -just don't get caught with a joint-then your in real trouble

Don said...

I think you are generalizing here. No business is safe from scammers and as far as the locksmithing business goes as with any business, you must do your research. I work for an Israeli operated locksmith company and I can tell you with absolute certainty that we are legitimate. Customer service and satisfaction is our number one objective. If the consumer is concerned about being taken advantage of, as they should be, call the company, ask for business license numbers and other relevant information that proves there legitimacy. We, for instance, are registered with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and have a proven track record for quality work at reasonable rates. So when casting accusations, please try not to generalize a whole group of people.