In a recent revelation, Spanish authorities have cracked down on a criminal organization that executed a large-scale cryptocurrency scam. Sources reveal that the accused tried to embezzle more than €100 million ($110 million) from over 3,000 people across the globe.
According to local media reports, the Guardia Civil arrested a suspect in Mallorca, one of Spain’s Balearic Islands. The Guardia Civil known as Civil Guard in English is the oldest law enforcement agency in Spain and is one of two national police forces.
The investigating officers revealed that the individual under custody is considered to be a gang member of the criminal group which swindled approximately $110 million from thousands of people via investments in non-existent cryptocurrencies.
To stop these criminals from advancing their plans, the police launched the so-called operation “Mandoa.” Sources reveal that the police launched the operation as soon as they received a complaint from a person in the province of Alava who claimed to have been conned in a crypto fraud.
The investigation, which covered the Basque Country and the Balearic Islands, revealed that the recipient of these counterfeit investments was a firm based in Palma de Mallorca. For its part, the alleged company made separate transfers to nations outside the European Union (EU).
According to the Guardia Civil, the members of the organization attracted victims into their scheme through telephone calls, advertisements in newspapers, or SMS, promising them high returns without risk.
Once the contract was finalized with clients and the funds were received, the accused provided them access to a bogus website where they could check the profits of their investments with fake graphs. The criminals even instructed fraudulent brokers to stay in touch with victims so they could encourage them to keep investing in the scheme.
The speculations rose when the gang did not listen to people’s requests to obtain some of their profits. Instead, they instructed them to transfer more money with excuses such as the closing of annual balance sheets or tax payments. However, the police have so far arrested only one suspect in Mallorca for being a supposed member of the criminal group.
Notably, the cases of fraud have been increasing and have affected numerous individuals from different parts, churning out substantial sums from their pockets. Todayq News reported another similar incident in the UK wherein a British couple lost their life savings into a suspicious project after seeing a fake advert on Facebook featuring the British journalist and advice expert – Martin Lewis.
Another example is a Hong Kong resident who lost all her money ($900,000). She fell prey to a criminal who contacted her on Instagram and urged her to invest in digital currencies with the promise of great returns. When trying to withdraw her funds, she was requested to pay a certain fee. The woman even attempted to borrow money from her daughter before realizing she had fallen prey.
In particular, Spanish citizens are found to be keen towards cryptocurrencies and the region also marks the highest number of crypto ATMs within its boundaries. However, it is important to note that authorities and the masses need to carry out a strict approach towards these criminals who use cryptocurrencies to commit potential frauds and scams.