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False Moscow CCTV feed scam leads to fraud charges

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The discovery that some CCTV cameras around Moscow streamed prerecorded images, instead of live pictures, has resulted in criminal charges against StroyMontageService, the firm that maintained the network.

Dmitry Kudryavtsev, a director of StroyMontageService, has been arrested and charged with fraud over the alleged scam, which recalls fake image trickery used in films such as Ocean's Eleven. Kudryavtsev, who denies any wrongdoing, alleges he has been framed by rivals.

Problems with the feed from some CCTV cameras in the Russian capital were reportedly first uncovered during a routine inspection. This led to further checks that uncovered widespread malfeasance.

"From May to September 2009 CCTV cameras in several districts of Moscow streamed pre-recorded pictures instead of real-time video," police spokeswoman Olga Dumalkina explained, as reported by the English language website of Russian TV station TV-Novosti.

As well as allegedly streaming false images, StroyMontageService is also accused of distributing an unspecified computer virus in an alleged bid to screw up the operations of a rival in the western districts of Moscow. StroyMontageService ran a $1 million contract to run CCTV camera in the north-east of the Russian capital.

Moscow's mean streets boast an estimated total of 80,000 security cameras, many of which were first set up as part of a $17 million public safety project begun by former Mayor Yury Luzhkov a few years ago. ®

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