According to The National News report, the investigation from the German police was initiated after locals accused a gang of stealing over 7 million euros ($8.5 million) in the country through fake online trading platforms, which promoted high yield returns from investing in cryptocurrencies. According to the news report, five of the six people involved in the crypto scam were taken into custody by the authorities in Bulgaria and one in Israel.
The criminal group ran several fake trading platforms.
Europol issued a statement about how the multi-million crypto scam operated. The Europol noted, “the criminal group ran at least four such professional-looking trading platforms, luring victims through advertisements on social media and criminal group members of the criminal group were posing as experienced brokers when contacting the victims via the call center they had set up. The suspects were using manipulated software to show the gains from the investments and to motivate the victims to invest even more.” Raids were also done in Poland, North Macedonia, and Sweden as part of the investigation.
Authorities believe criminals laundered stolen money via shell companies based in the EU.
The law enforcement confirmed the seizure of properties, jewelry, luxury vehicles, electronic devices, and 2 million euros ($2.4 million) in cash allegedly connected to the scam’s masterminds. The call centers where the scammers ran their fraudulent investment scheme were based in Bulgaria and North Macedonia, ran mostly by Israeli citizens. Authorities also believe the criminals laundered stolen money via shell companies established in European Union countries. But the extent of the victims reached Spain, where 300 complaints were reportedly filed by people who allegedly were scammed by the same fraudsters.