Home News Major Money Laundering Ring Broken by Europol

Major Money Laundering Ring Broken by Europol

money laundering

Online trading scams are no novelty nowadays. Many fake trading platforms have emerged, especially in recent years. Cryptocurrency investments are often at the centre of such scams. However, trusted and well-established platforms such as Forex were also targeted by fraudsters.

There are many ways to carry out investment fraud online, be it on legitimate trading platforms or fake ones. Usually, the hook that grabs investors’ attention and makes them open their wallets is high returns.

Generally, the bigger the promised profit and the more guarantees, the more cautious you should be. Neither the stock market cryptocurrencies can ensure constant returns. Trading and investing money in shares or crypto coins is risky. You could lose money as fast as you’ve made profits. This is only natural since these markets are volatile.

A political decision or a company’s change of policies can drastically influence a stock’s value. A big investor selling most of their crypto coins can make their value crash too. Therefore, there is no guarantee when you invest money in trading.

Moreover, there are many hidden dangers. Cunning fraudsters are always waiting to prey on investors. Learn how to avoid them by looking into a real case. A European money-laundering ring that caused losses of $36 million.

Recommended article: Online Scams and Identity Theft in 2022

Where Did the Fraud Occur?

It all happened last year in Europe. The money laundering ring included fraudsters of different nationalities. Therefore, it was necessary to involve a superior authority with jurisdiction at a European level – the Europol.

To trace and seize the fraud’s authors, Europol collaborated with national law enforcement agencies. Some of the agencies were located in Germany, Poland, Israeli and Bulgaria. Additionally, the Swedish, Spanish, Latvian, and Macedonian police also contributed.

The authorities put a lot of time and effort into this case. They searched dozens of different locations. Moreover, these locations were in different parts of Europe, which further complicated things. Furthermore, Europe was not the only ground where scammers operated. Some of the authors were in Israel.

What Was the Activity of the Fraudulent Ring?

To defraud investors, the criminal group used trading platforms. They set up four websites for trading. Additionally, to make their offer appealing, they promised high profits. Here, people could invest in cryptocurrency. Other high-risk assets were available too.

To lure people to the four shady platforms, criminals used advertisements. They posted ads on the most popular social platforms. Consequently, many people took interest in the offering and invested money. Furthermore, the ads were also present on popular search engines. Hence, scammers boosted their victims’ pool even more.

The Staff

Just like any scam that poses as a legitimate business, the platforms needed representation. In other words, investors needed to see the human face of the business. They needed to realize there were real people behind the platform. Scammers provided this. As a result, they boosted people’s trust and willingness to invest.

To accomplish their goal, some of the criminals posed as vetted brokers. They claimed they had extensive trading experience. Moreover, they also contacted investors by phone. This is an efficient marketing tactic. Many consumers prefer to talk to a seller before making a purchase.

The same principle was also applied in this case. Investors felt safer after talking to the alleged brokers. They started believing in the platforms’ efficiency even more. Also, they trusted they could make significant profits. Just like the brokers who reached out to them. The scammers’ call centre operated out of North Macedonia and Bulgaria.

The Consequences

According to a European Union law enforcement agency, this scam generated 30 million euros. This means approximately $36 million. To get hold of their illegal gains, fraudsters used accounts from various shell companies. These companies were also registered in various European countries. There were hundreds of victims involved. Hence, fraudsters could gather the hefty amount.

The largest number of victims came from Germany. Investors from this country lost around $8 million. However, fraudsters operated around Europe. Therefore, complaints came from different countries. In Spain, the police registered 300 complaints.

After the investigations concluded, the police arrested 11 suspects. Moreover, they managed to seize lots of valuable goods. These were items fraudsters purchased from the illicit gains. The list included jewellery, luxury cars, and even houses. Additionally, authorities also seized $2.4 million in cash.

How to Stay Safe

Trading platforms are increasingly popular these days. Both for the traditional stock market and cryptocurrencies. However, fraud cases like this one are not rare. There have been numerous trading scams and hacks in recent years.

Therefore, to stay safe, choose trusted platforms. Look for the biggest names in the industry. Also, read customer reviews before you invest. Avoid new or less-known trading websites. And don’t access such platforms from ads. If you want to create an account, access official websites.

For financial security and professional wealth management, contact Clearwater Management.

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