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Con job Over 100 arrests as €10m-a-year Mafia fraud gang targeted by Spanish and Italian police

Based in the Canary Islands the criminal operation was involved in online fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking and property crime, according to Europol

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Spanish police

Spanish police

Spanish police

More than 100 people have been arrested by Spanish and Italian Police connected to a Mafia fraud gang making €10 million a year.

Based in the Canary Islands the criminal operation was involved in online fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking and property crime, according to Europol

The suspects defrauded hundreds of victims through phishing attacks and other types of online fraud such as SIM swapping and business email compromise before laundering the money through a wide network of money mules and shell companies.

Last year alone, the illegal profit is estimated at about €10 million.

Seizures include many electronic devices, 224 credit cards, SIM cards and point-of-sale terminals, a marihuana plantation and equipment for its cultivation and distribution.

Most of the 106 arrests were in Spain along with 16 house searches and 118 bank accounts frozen

“This large criminal network was very well organised in a pyramid structure, which included different specialised areas and roles,” according to a Europol statement.

“Among the members of the criminal group were computer experts, who created the phishing domains and carried out the cyber fraud; recruiters and organisers of the money muling; and money laundering experts, including experts in cryptocurrencies.”

“The suspects tricked their victims, mainly Italian nationals, into sending large sums to bank accounts controlled by the criminal network.”

The Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) at Europol supported the operation.

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