Spanish authorities have arrested 35 people for bank and credit card fraud as well as money laundering. According to a report by local outlet La Verdad, the suspects had laundered over €1 million ($1.12 million), raking in over €600,000 ($674,000).
The Civil Guard, Spain’s oldest law enforcement agency, revealed that the criminal organization was directly linked to over 1,000 crimes. The operation was conducted in several cities in Spain including Barcelona, Madrid, Albacete, Las Palmas, Malaga and Zaragoza.
The arrested suspects hailed from Spain, Morocco, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria. They had scammed over 200 people in Spain, the authorities revealed. They had also managed to steal from 20 more victims, spread across Denmark, France, Greece, Israel and Germany.The suspects had fraudulently used over 100 bank cards in Spain and 12 other countries.
The police were alerted about the criminal organization by a car rental company in Alicante, which filed a complaint alleging the fraudulent use of a credit card. The Civil Guard then set out to investigate the issue, leading them to an extensive crime ring which used SegWitCoin (BTC) as the medium of money laundering.
The criminals allegedly used three methods to steal from their victims. The first was phishing, a popular scamming trick in which fraudsters disguise themselves as representatives of a legitimate company. They then ask the victims for their details and credentials after which they take over a victim’s account.
The second was skimming which involves the copying of the magnetic stripe of a credit card. The criminals then use the information to clone the card. The third method was the credit card BIN attack fraud where the criminal gets hold of a valid card number and then uses it to generate other valid card numbers.
According to the authorities, the crime ring used the cards it obtained to pay for hotels, flights, rental vehicles, train tickets and more for their customers at a lower price. Once they got hold of the money, the criminals would use their companies in countries such as Estonia, the U.K, the U.S, Equatorial Guinea, Benin and Finland to buy BTC.
This is just the latest money laundering case involving cryptos. Last month, Europol aided the arrest of a crypto money laundering ring in Spain. The ring had laundered over $10 million, with the police seizing drugs, jewelry, two crypto ATMs and 11 vehicles in the operation. In April, prosecutors in the state of New York secured their first conviction of crypto money launderers after the suspects pleaded guilty to the crime.
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