In India, a gang of scammers set up a fake cricket championship, with farm workers playing players, to trick a group of people betting on matches from Russia. Last week, Indian police arrested 4 men accused of organizing the scam, which was very complex: the games were actually played on a cricket pitch built for the occasion, and were broadcast live on a YouTube channel.
Russian bettors, from three different cities, were lured through a Telegram channel created specifically by the scammers: one of them had contacts in the country, after having worked there for some time, and had managed to spread the word about Indian cricket betting. . The story is reminiscent in some ways that of the famous film with Paul Newman and Robert Redford The Sting, in which two scammers organize a system to deceive a powerful gangster through a fake betting agency.
The fake league invented by Indian scammers was called the “Indian Premier Cricket League” and mimicked a real cricket championship, the Indian Premier League, which is the richest in the world and is actually being broadcast on YouTube, but ended in May. Three weeks after the end of the real championship, the fake one had begun, which went on for several weeks and had reached the quarter-finals. Instead of the players, laborers and other unemployed young people were hired, wearing the uniforms of some real Indian Premier League teams and were paid 400 rupees per game (about 5 euros).
The scammers had rented a farm in a remote place in the western state of Gujarat, where they had created the field where the games of the mock tournament were held. They had put the lines of the pitch on the ground and the spotlights like in a stadium, installed high-resolution cameras and used computer graphics to represent the score on the screen, like in a real game.
In the background, plausible noises for a game in a stadium were inserted, downloaded from the internet, and a fake commentator was even hired who could imitate one who really commented on the Indian Premier League. The cameras never tried to frame the entire pitch, but only a few players at a time or close-ups.
The referee on the pitch during the match was in contact with one of the scammers, who according to the Russians’ bets on the Telegram group told him how to distort the match, warning the players about what to do with prepared signals. At the moment there is only one video circulating on the internet of one of the fake games set up by the scammers, in which the game actually appears rather amateur and patchy.
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