- The facilities were located in Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Germany.
- Authorities conducted interviews with over 250 suspects.
Authorities in Europe have shut down a fraud network of call centers that preyed on people interested in investing significant sums of money in cryptocurrency scams. The facilities were located in Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Germany.
According to a news statement issued by Eurojust on Thursday, the network was responsible for stealing tens of millions of euros from hundreds of victims in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, and Canada. Fourteen people were detained in Serbia and one in Germany after police there conducted searches of contact centers and other sites.
Million of Euros in Illicit Profit
In 2021, the Stuttgart Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Baden-Württemberg State Office of Criminal Investigations began looking into internet fraud.
Authorities conducted interviews with over 250 suspects and seized assets including 3 cars, 2 high-end apartments, 3 hardware wallets containing approximately $1 million in cryptocurrencies, over 150 computers, various electronic equipment, and data back-ups, and €50,000 ($54,000) in cash in a coordinated operation.
Europol stated that the true number of crimes committed was likely significantly greater than what had been disclosed. Given that the criminal organizations are responsible for at least four call centers in Eastern Europe, their illicit profits might easily be in the hundreds of millions of euros.
Criminals used social media to spread the word about their cryptocurrency investment scams, which they then used to direct victims to fake websites. According to Europol, the victims, who were mostly located in Germany, would deposit small, three-digit sums before being convinced to transfer much larger quantities by the criminal network.