Officers from the National Police have prevented a “large-scale” scam in which a group intended to target car hire companies in Spain, arresting 24 members of an organization criminal group. The officers believe that the gang were involved in activities relating to hiring a “significant number” of vehicles in Spain, falsifying the documents, and then exporting the vehicles to other countries.

The investigation began in late January 2014 when a car rental company contacted the police to report their suspicions after two people, both French nationals, arranged the rental of several vehicles. The investigators then found that the individuals were involved in a mass rental operation from an office in Madrid, as well as having a warehouse in the suburb of San Fernando de Henares.

As the police then monitored their activities, they found that they had visited numerous car hire companies with a view to hiring several vehicles at a time. As part of the scam, the hirers would be driven to the company premises in a luxury car, with chauffeur, believed to be part of their elaborate staging of gaining the confidence of the companies involved. The gang would also hold meetings in high class restaurants, and had created a website to give the impression of legitimate business practices.

As the surveillance and monitoring continued, the officers stopped two flat-bed trucks, loaded with cars, which were on their way to France. The 16 vehicles being carried on the trucks all corresponded with vehicles rented by the group, and had been stored in the warehouse. The two truck drivers were arrested in the vicinity of Pamplona, and the vehicle seized.

At the same time as the trucks were being intercepted, another team of officers raided the business premises in Madrid, arresting a number of other members of the gang. Finally, through collaboration with the French police, five other vehicles were recovered in the French towns of Charleville and Cambrai.

Those arrested are charged with crimes of fraud, misappropriation, forgery and being members of a criminal group. During a search of the premises, officers found a variety of documentation relating to the export of vehicles, fake driving licences and other materials, whilst also identifying the gang leader as being a French national, wanted on a European Arrest warrant for fraud and for absconding from prison.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43307/

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