Law enforcement agencies in Italy and Spain have dismantled an arranged criminal offense group linked to the Italian Mafia that was associated in online fraud, revenue laundering, drug trafficking, and house crime, netting the gang about €10 million ($11.7 million) in illegal proceeds in just a yr.
“The suspects defrauded hundreds of victims by way of phishing attacks and other forms of on line fraud this sort of as SIM swapping and enterprise electronic mail compromise before laundering the cash by means of a vast network of money mules and shell providers,” Europol claimed in a statement released right now.
The team operated out of Tenerife, positioned in Spain’s Canary Islands.
The progress comes pursuing a calendar year-long sting procedure that observed as a lot of as 16 dwelling searches, ensuing in 106 arrests — largely in Spain and Italy — and seizure of digital products, 224 credit score cards, SIM cards, stage-of-sale terminals, a marijuana plantation, and tools utilised for its cultivation and distribution. 118 financial institution accounts have also been frozen as a outcome of the bust.
The felony network is said to have been fashioned as a pyramid structure, with distinctive customers roped in for specialised roles, like personal computer industry experts, who produced phishing domains and facilitated cyber fraud, as nicely as recruiters who were associated in revenue muling pursuits, and experts adept in cryptocurrencies and money laundering.
The arrested customers, a vast majority of whom are Italian nationals with inbound links to mafia cartels, lured their victims into transferring big quantities of dollars to financial institution accounts underneath their regulate. The illicitly obtained earnings were then laundered through a wide network of money mules and shell businesses.
The investigation was undertaken jointly by the Spanish Countrywide Police (Policía Nacional), and supported by the Italian Countrywide Police (Polizia di Stato), Europol, and Eurojust.