Spanish police dismantled a crypto scam organization that bagged over $110M
The international scam organization convinced people to invest between $275 and $1,100 in non-existent cryptocurrencies.
A resident of the Balearic Islands, an archipelago off eastern Spain, was arrested by the Spanish police on April 24 for scamming crypto investors across multiple countries.
The arrest was made at the request of law enforcement authorities from different countries that were investigating five other people connected with the criminal organization.
Several people in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, and Israel, where the money was ultimately sent, were involved in the scam operation.
According to the Spanish police, the organization could have scammed more than $110 million (EUR100 million) from more than 3,000 victims worldwide.
The Spanish police initially started investigating the scam after a victim lodged a complaint, which led them to a company located in Palma de Mallorca, part of the Balearic Islands. Further investigation revealed that this firm was transferring the loot from the scam outside the European Union, where the money was ultimately sent.
A sophisticated scam operation
According to the investigation by the Spanish police, the organization attracted potential victims through aggressive marketing strategies on well-known websites, phone calls, messages, and newspaper ads. As with all scams, the perpetrators promised high returns with no risk through investment in cryptocurrencies that did not exist.
The victims generally invested between EUR 250 and EUR 1,000 initially, the authorities noted. Once the victims made the investment, the scammers provided them with a website that displayed profits on their investments with false graphics.
This website helped scammers keep the victims hooked. The scammers would pose as brokers and inform the victims about massive profits on their investments, encouraging them to invest more money, sometimes even their entire life savings.
When investors wanted to withdraw their money, the scammers used different excuses to ask for even more money, for things like paying taxes or closing annual balances. This caused some victims to be duped more than once.
The entire scam operation was so sophisticated that some victims were not even aware they were being scammed.