Famous Turkish cardiologist Karatay defrauded by gang

Famous Turkish cardiologist Karatay defrauded by gang

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Famous Turkish cardiologist Karatay defrauded by gang

Canan Karatay speaks to reporters after testifying at the police station. DHA Photo

Turkish cardiologist Canan Karatay, who is known for her long-debated “Karatay Diet” book, has become the last victim of a fraud gang targeting people via phone calls pretending to be police working on a secret case.

The fraudsters called Karatay and introduced themselves as a police officer and prosecutor. They asked the professor to leave $50,000 and $10,000 Turkish Liras for collection in two separate parks in Istanbul, after telling her that a terrorist organization was transferring money from her account and convincing her that the plan was a secret operation.

Meanwhile, the real police were conducting an operation against phone fraudsters in the southeastern provinces of Urfa and Adana when they detected that the gang was swindling someone in Istanbul. Police spotted a courier that would take the money from parks and began to track them. Two suspects, identified only as 33-year-old Ahmet Ö. and 23-year-old Mehmet K., who were identified as members of the gang, have been detained by police in Istanbul’s Kalamış Park, where they went to take the money left by Karatay.

Police discovered that the victim was Karatay after following a lead suggesting that the fraudsters reportedly made the victim buy a new mobile phone to communicate. The professor learned that she had been defrauded when the police called her. She then came to the police station to file an official complaint and testified.

“I believed that people on the phone were real police and prosecutors. I was hypnotized. I was doing what they told me,” Karatay told reported while leaving the police station. “I was excited about being part of a secret operation with the state. I never thought I had been defrauded.”

The investigation into the incident is ongoing, officials said.

Turkish police often urge citizens not to leave their money or gold in the garbage, saying they should ignore phone calls from fraudsters telling them to do so. A total of 10 million Turkish Liras have been stolen in 53 cases in the first seven months of 2013, according to police data.