Australian investors have sent at least $2.4 million to a bogus Dubai-based investment company operating a fake website, according to Western Australia police.
Consumer Protection and the WA Police Major Fraud Squad are conducting inquiries into a website being operated by a group claiming to be Larosa Holdings Ltd, trading as Larosa Group.
The joint inquiry revealed that at least five Western Australians have sent $120,000 to the company in recent months, with over $2.4 million sent by victims across Australia.
The investigation has so far confirmed that Larosa Group is not registered as a provider with the Dubai Financial Services Authority and images of executives used on the website have been stolen from legitimate websites, said the joint statement.
"Addresses in Dubai and Canada listed on the website are confirmed to be phoney. Attempts are being made to close down the website," said the statement.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll urged investors not to deal with the Larosa Group while inquiries are underway.
"We need to urgently warn would-be investors to be aware that this website and the company behind it, Larosa Group, appear to be an elaborate fabrication to deceive and defraud investors whose money is likely to be lost," she said.
"Anyone who has had dealings with Larosa Group is urged to make a report to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN). I would also strongly recommend that investors only use licensed financial investment operators when looking to invest their money.
"Doing random searches on the internet for investment opportunities is a risky exercise as some professional looking websites could be fake and operated by criminals seeking to defraud would-be investors," Ms Driscoll said.