Clubs ‘cleaned’ by contractor scam

May 15, 2024
Clyde Mooney

Clubs in Sydney have been targeted by a sophisticated scam involving kitchen cleaning, with would-be contractors allegedly conning money out of unsuspecting staff.

ClubTIC has learned of a case where two men entered a club in the inner west under the guise of being contracted cleaners of kitchen rangehoods.

A man called the club (name withheld) around 8pm on a Friday, explaining they needed to come in to complete the “last bit” of regular scheduled works.

CCTV image of one of the men

The men that arrived were described as polite and professional, wearing high-vis and PPE. It’s said they “appeared legitimate”.

They instructed staff to stay out of the kitchen, which was closed for the evening, as they would be using toxic chemicals, and asked relevant questions about the job, such as the location of the grease trap.

When the work was apparently done, one of the men emerged from the kitchen with a carbon-copy invoice book and proceeded to complete the total, saying the final amount depended on the quantity of chemicals required.

The man casually explained that they had been promised cash payment on the night.

Despite this being not in line with usual protocols, the men convinced the duty manager and were paid for works supposedly totalling $3,900.

Maintaining the charade, the brazen bandits were in no hurry to leave, and hung around afterward.

It was not until after they had left that it was discovered they had not actually cleaned anything.

The incident was quickly reported to local police, but shortly after, the club management heard that another club had also been duped.

Another manager spoke with ClubTIC about a ‘near miss’ incident in late 2023, where the men entered the premises on a busy Sunday armed with a purchase order for the work. After changing the rangehood filters they requested cash payment, only to be told all accounts are paid by direct deposit – at which point they put the old filters back, and left.

Similarly, another club received a phone call early on a Friday evening from a man who called himself Nick, claiming to be from a company that cleans the kitchen vents and hoods. He was instructed to arrange access through the operations manager, who received no contact.

On receiving the incident report police told the affected club that the offenders were known to them, although no details were provided. ClubTIC contacted the officer involved, but no further information was made available.

It has been speculated that the men quite likely do this kind of work for a living, given they have the vehicle and equipment required and seem to be familiar with the process of carrying out this work in clubs.

The vehicle used by the men appears to be a Nissan Navara
Nissan Navara

Operators should be wary, given that the ‘confidence’ men have demonstrated they can potentially sway staff not prepared to handle such situations.


Tags

Contract cleaning, scam


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