Police Duped by Contractor Offering Video Surveillance

Moscow police said Tuesday that a private contractor that it had hired to provide live footage from street surveillance cameras had in fact fed prerecorded videos to police computers because the cameras did not work.

The company, StroiMontazhServis, was paid more than $1 million last year for services that were never rendered, police said in a statement.

When police officers requested to view live footage from the street surveillance cameras on their computer monitors, they were instead sent prerecorded videos from a server controlled by StroiMontazhServis, the statement said.

Police also accused the head of the company, an unidentified Moscow businessman, of introducing a virus into the police’s computer system when they were testing surveillance cameras by a rival company. The virus caused the police computers to report that the cameras were not working, police said.

Police provided no details about how the businessman was caught or about the location of his surveillance cameras.

The businessman was arrested in late December and charged with large-scale fraud and the distribution of malicious software, the statement said. If convicted of both charges, he faces up to 13 years behind bars.

Police said several other company employees might also be charged in connection with the case.

Several companies called StroiMontazhServis are registered in Moscow and the surrounding Moscow region, and it was not immediately possible to determine which one of them was accused of wrongdoing.

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