Late on March 17th when St Patrick’s Day in Rome was in full flow, the American owner of Vatican City Tours, who occupy prime virtual real estate on Google for keywords ‘Vatican tours’, second in rank only to the official Vatican website http://www.vatican.va/, was arrested for fraud. For reasons best to known to himself, he was using his website to profit from non existent tickets offering access to St Peter’s Square on May 1st, when the beatification of late Pope John Paul II will take place. His price per ‘ticket’ was £150. In fact, the event is open to everyone and it is free.
The owner was also charged for running a cash rich unlicensed tour agency in Rome. Whether or not he did keep 21 firearms, 15 computers and 11 USB keys in his apartment remains to be seen, perhaps we’ll never know. For now, rumours abound that 3 other unlicensed tour agencies with websites on Google page #1 for ‘Vatican tours’ will be investigated by the same e-crime team which closed in on Vatican City Tours.
Vatican City Tours are also http://www.limoservicesrome.eu and www.italianservices.biz too, so all things being equal, these partner websites will be wound up in due course and removed from the internet.
Vatican City Tours as of March 20th 2011:
‘If you are the owner of this web site you have not uploaded (or incorrectly uploaded) your web site. For information on uploading your web site using FTP client software or web design software, click here for FTP Upload Information.’
All of the above means that the website has been pulled offline permanently for fraudulent activities. More to follow in the business of ‘Vatican tours’ provided by unlicensed tour agencies, no doubt.
Always use Google to check the name of your Vatican tours provider before paying online.
When In Rome Tours, Tour Operator license 7339 granted by the Provincia di Roma on 19/10/10