The Spanish Civil Guard reported that the international criminal organization ran a massive scam through crypto.
The Spanish Civil Guard managed to dismantle an international criminal organization specialized in money laundering through cryptocurrencies and scams. This was reported by the institution in a press release.
He reported that in addition the group materialized a massive cryptocurrency scam on people unrelated to any criminal actwhose digital assets were offered to other criminal groups
Civil Guard Operation
The operation, called operation MAUNA, achieved the total dismantling of the criminal organization that was based in Madrid, and was specialized in money laundering through cryptocurrencies, coming from different crimes committed by other criminal groups
The research, carried out by the Central Operative Unit of the Civil Guard, had its origin in possible activities linked to money laundering from drug trafficking, of one of the members of a previously investigated organization.
As the investigation into this person progressed, a network of permanent collaborators was formed, perfectly distributed in different hierarchies within the criminal network, ranging from technical profiles in the field of cryptocurrencies, to experts who controlled a complex commercial and banking entrance. at the international level, in charge of designing complex money laundering operations, says the police.
Money from many organizations
The guard says that at first these operations were carried out by a small number of people always linked to drug trafficking. However, both the number of laundering activities and the amounts of cash invested in them gradually increased, becoming this criminal group a reference to which the money of different criminal organizations was directed located throughout the national territory.
In this way, those investigated were modifying the ways of acquiring large amounts of cash and their relocation through their money laundering network, achieving that their commissions were increasingly large and profitable for the performance of these “services” to the other criminal organizations.
The police statement adds that members of this now disjointed group initially supplied themselves with capital in cryptocurrency from various providers, who in turn obtained the same through financial scams mainly. That is to say, they also used people outside the world of crime whom they swindled in order to obtain money.
“The criminal organization carried out intense fraud activity in parallel with money laundering, which allowed it to become its own supplier of cryptocurrency as the main mode of laundering, committing scams in our country worth several hundred thousand dollars. euros”, says the guard and adds:
“The professionalization of the organization reached the point of offering individualized solutions to the fraudsters in order to perfect the deception, such as opening accounts or virtual wallets where cryptocurrencies are stored and software for monitoring investments.
Once the victims became familiar with this type of investment, and obtained a certain return, the criminal organization disappeared with all the cryptocurrency investment, capital that was finally exchanged with other criminal organizations, thus achieving a double criminal return.
He adds that the criminal organization converted the cryptocurrencies obtained into the stablecoin USDT (Tether), and in this way he did money laundering, since his ultimate goal was to obtain fiat money. This is his explanation:
“Once the organization had a large amount of assets in cryptocurrency, it offered third-party criminal organizations the possibility of exchanging this digital asset for cash as a result of their criminal activities, for which meetings were held between members of both organizations. in one of the offices that they had in Madrid”.
The press release adds that, as support for its money laundering and fraud activity, the criminal organization had figureheads, as well as a complex international banking and cryptocurrency circuit supported by front companies located in countries such as Spain, Belgium, Sweden , Germany or Lithuania, among others, some of which supplanting real companies.
“Globally, the MAUNA operation has resulted in the arrest and investigation of 8 people in 9 searches carried out in the provinces of Madrid and Valladolid, as well as 9 real estate blocked, close to 300,000 euros ($340,000 USD) in cash seized, several “cold wallets” of cryptocurrency on USB, 30 blocked bank accounts, as well as assets obtained from illicit activity exceeding 1,000,000 euros (USD $1.1 million),” reports the police.
scam + mockery
The guard also says that, during the investigation, the agents were able to corroborate how the people who materialized the scam bragged about having done it about the victims, that many were people in a precarious economic situation or even elderly, “all this without any hesitation”.
It adds that the operation, which is still open with a view to identifying possible citizens harmed as a result of the massive fraud, has been carried out by the Money Laundering Group of the Central Operational Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard together with the Judicial Police Technical Unit, with the collaboration of EUROPOL in international coordination, mainly in the European environment, as well as the contribution of a mobile office during the practice of arrests in Spain.
Also, participated Colombia National Policewhich allowed the execution of an international arrest warrant for a Colombian citizen linked to the organization under investigation.
As far as drug trafficking is concerned, they also had the collaboration of the United States DEA, in order to obtain as much information as possible about the origin of the money laundered by this criminal organization.
It is worth noting that the Spanish Guard and Police seem to be very active this year in relation to bad actors who use crypto in their criminal acts. On February 8, we reported that the Spanish National Police, in a joint operation with the Civil Guard of that country, arrested seven people living in Seville, in the south of the nation, as alleged perpetrators of a crime of belonging to a criminal organization, against public health, illicit possession of weapons of war and money laundering through cryptocurrencies.
Sources: Spanish Civil Guard and file
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