Police link cybercriminal group to Italian mafia and arrest more than 100 people

Modernization reached one of the most traditional criminal organizations in the world, when Europol announced the arrest of 16 people, belonging to a gang of cybercriminals that would have a direct connection with the Italian mafia. The group would have been responsible for fraud equivalent to more than US$ 10, 7 million only last year, from attacks that involved the cloning of smartphone chips, fraudulent emails and credential theft.

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The operation that led to the end of the gang involved Europol’s cooperation with the authorities in Italy and Spain. Most of the arrests took place in Tenerife, Spain’s Canary Islands region, where police said the central base of the operation was located, which involved an organized pyramid structure and different individuals with well-defined positions.

The accused, mostly Italian citizens, had roles ranging from recruiting new members for intrusion and money laundering activities, oranges to receive the stolen amounts and, of course, cybercrime specialists. The group also seemed engaged in the cloning of credit cards from compromised little machines, and in the planting and distribution of marijuana.

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According to the authorities, hundreds of victims were victims in a series of scams that mainly involved fraudulent e-mails aimed at Italians. The focus was to convince victims to send large amounts to bank accounts under the control of criminals, with the amount subsequently being sprayed through ghost companies and oranges, in addition to the purchase of cryptocurrencies.

The 16 arrested in the operation will be charged with crimes such as money laundering, bank fraud, online fraud and drug trafficking, among others. The work also involved the freezing of 106 bank accounts that were part of the gang’s work and search and seizure warrants in 12 addresses, where they were seized 106 credit cards and various other electronic devices, as well as payment terminals, cell phone chips, marijuana plants and equipment for the cultivation of the weed.

In the communiqué on the arrests, Europol praised the cooperation between the police forces of Italy and Spain, with forensic and cybercrime experts being sent to Tenerife to assist in searches, seizures and arrests. Authorities, on the other hand, did not say how long the gang had been active, while the accused now remain at the disposal of justice.

Source: Europol

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