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One of the Biggest Cryptocurrency Scammers in Europe Arrested in Spain

  • Spanish police managed to apprehend the thief in Valencia, who is accused of scamming dozens of people using false investments into crypto assets.
  • The assets seized from the fraudster amounted to 2.5 million euros.

The cyber-criminal of Portuguese nationality, who was arrested by the Spanish Civil Guard in Valencia, was wanted throughout Europe, and stands accused of being involved in several scams related to the investment of cryptocurrencies, according to the police.

From the 45-year-old man, whose identity has not been disclosed, the authorities seized bank accounts holding more than 2.5 million euros, which were presumed to have been obtained through the multiple scams carried out across Europe.

The man is being charged with seven counts of fraud and money laundering. The false investments were promoted by the detainee through a website that was in turn advertised on various forums, in the media, and at sporting events and charity auctions.

Scams on the Rise

Most of the criminal activity was carried out in Spain and Portugal, where dozens of people were caught unawares and defrauded of their money. The investigations leading to the ultimate arrest of the criminal began in August 2021.

The police were informed that the accused had been operating in Spain through a web platform on which he applied the classic Ponzi scheme. To attract its unsuspecting investors, it offered minimum earnings of up to 2.5% per week, depending on the amount invested.

The confidence of his victims steadily rose due to the profits being generated, as each time the performance of their investments grew further. The scammer then used the stolen money to live a millionaire’s life, spending lavishly on trips, banquets and luxury cars.

Following the investigations, the Civil Guard managed to identify several victims in Spain. However, it was also discovered that the criminal had already scammed other people through the same method in Portugal, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

During the raids carried out by police at the offender’s house on December 2nd, which also operated as the “company’s” workshop, the police managed to seize hidden assets that the detainee had acquired by using the illegally acquired money.

 

The authorities blocked the cyber-criminal’s bank accounts and proceeded to close the web pages that hosted the alleged legal investment platform. Various documents, computers, tablets, mobile phones and USB devices for cryptocurrency wallets were also seized.

Among the assets seized were 13 high-end cars, though a further 7 were not present. The total assets in the possession of the blocked fraudster were worth an estimated 2.5 million euros between cash and vehicles.

The case file was sent by the police to Examining Court number 3 of Valencia.

On the Flipside

  • Ponzi scheme scams have been on the rise around the world. As investment into cryptocurrencies has continued to rise globally, so too have the number of hacks performed on crypto exchanges.

Why You Should Care

  • In the investigation and subsequent arrest of the scammer, agents of the Technological Investigations Team (EDITE), the Economic Crimes Team of the Organic Unit of the Judicial Police (UOPJ) and the Valencia Civil Guard Command, collaborated. The operations similarly had the support of Europol.

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    This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed to be financial legal or tax advice. Trading Forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs poses a considerable risk of loss

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