An alleged theft and fraud racket against a number of high-profile Australian distributors is being investigated by Sydney police, but not before at least three companies have suffered the trauma of seeing tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise disappear before their eyes.
In the last three to six months it is alleged that two groups - SuperEdge Technology and Ho Electronics - have ordered and received a range of products, in some cases to the value of about $50,000, without the funds to cover such purchases.
One of the distributors worst affected was Dicker Data. The company is believed to have lost about $48,000 worth of Toshiba notebooks. ARN can also reveal that Digiland and Elite Industries also fell victim to the tactics employed by SuperEdge Technology and Ho Electronics.
But according to Fiona Dicker, Dicker Data's general manager, the distributor's predicament was not helped by the fact that its bank, National Australia Bank, processed payment for the notebooks, which prompted the company to hand over the products.
"This sort of thing happens every week to just about any distributor," Dicker said; however, the dollar values at stake aren't nearly as great.
"As distributors, we need to ensure that any payments for products need to be made upfront. Quite simply, we should have smelled a rat earlier," Dicker said.
To make matters worse, Dicker believes that the Toshiba notebooks were placed on a plane bound for Vietnam on October 17.
Careful fact checking saved another distributor, Agate Technology, from a similar fate. According to Hugh Evans, Agate's managing director, SuperEdge Technology and Ho Electronics allegedly tried to purchase about $47,000 worth of storage products but were thwarted by Agate's accountants who questioned both company's ability to pay.