ROME—One of Italy’s most prolific fraudsters of the Nineties has been extradited from Venezuela after being tricked into leaving his fingerprints on a recording of the Sixties hit tune Girl From Ipanema.
Roberto Vivaldi, who fled Italy after being convicted of money laundering and fraudulent chapter, had been residing below a false identify on the island of Isla de Margarita off Venezuela, the place he was running a vintage-record store.
During the pandemic, Vivaldi started doing a booming business promoting data online, simply as police within the Tuscan city of Prato reopened his case to attempt to monitor him down.
In late 2019, Italian authorities launched a mission referred to as “Wanted” to deal with a quantity of harmful worldwide fugitives. The COVID-19 pandemic made their process tougher with journey restrictions, however many officers concerned started focusing consideration on social-media profiles of mates of recognized criminals in hiding.
Working off a tip after recognized associates posted birthday greetings on Vivaldi’s faux persona’s social media accounts on his precise beginning date—as an alternative of his false id’s specified birthday—police put in an order for classic vinyl data—together with a Sixties recording of Garota de Ipanema by Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim—from Vivaldi’s online store. When the LPs arrived by mail in Italy, they had been had been lined with the fugitive’s fingerprints, officers stated.
Satisfied that that they had discovered their man on the lam, Italian investigators posing as report collectors traveled to Venezuela and pretended to be emigrating there, asking for Vivaldi’s assist to purchase a restaurant. The veteran conman, positive he might make a buck off the collectors, agreed to be the center man within the real-estate deal, even promising he might minimize corners.
“When Vivaldi confirmed up on the restaurant for an appointment, he found the Venezuelan police had been ready for him,” Alessandro Gallo, who led the investigation, instructed the Times of London.
Police additionally managed to arrest a second Italian fugitive who had befriended Vivaldi. Flavio Febi, 33, needed for cocaine trafficking since 2017, had additionally escaped justice in Italy and was hiding out on Isla Margarita. He’s additionally been returned to Italy to serve out his sentence.