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Crime and Policing

Fraudulent loan gang dismantled



In a joint operation between the Guardia Civil and the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, a criminal organisation has been dismantled that operated mainly in Tarragona, and that obtained money through the fraudulent use of DNI stolen or photographed from third parties, with which they took out online loans and bought high-end mobile phones and other luxury products on the internet.

So far, it is estimated that the approximate total defrauded by this organisation amounts to one million euro with more than 700 victims. It is not ruled out that these figures will increase since many people are not aware that they are on the list of ASNEF debtors. The investigation remains open.

The investigation began in 2023 when a significant increase in thefts and ID thefts was detected in various summer areas on the Costa Dorada. The two police forces formed a joint ECI investigation team that, in November 2023, identified the existence of a criminal organisation with a stable structure and a distribution of roles and functions among its members, with a single objective, that of committing large-scale fraud.

The modus operandi began with the purchase of the identifying data of third parties, obtained through theft or physical theft of the victims’ own DNI, or through photographic captures of those made by some of the members of the criminal organisation while they were working in various leisure centres of Tarragona and Reus.

Once the data was obtained, they entered the websites of credit companies and checked, through a simulation, if with that data they could have access to credit. If yes, and to formalise the credit, the credit company asked for other information such as job position, payroll or seniority. This task was carried out by other members of the organisation, obtained by entering personal data on the Social Security website.

With all this information they needed to carry out one last step, the falsification of the payroll and a bank certificate that accredited the direct debit of a bill for water, electricity or any other supply or service.

Once they got here, the criminal organisation, through false bank accounts, requested loans of between 3,000 and 5,000 euro and bought high-end phones and other luxury technological products online. On some of these websites where they purchased phones, they could sign up for credit cards, which they took advantage of to request them and use them later in casinos, ATMs and other services.

The luxury products purchased were sent to certain locations and collected throughout the national territory by other members of the organisation. In the case of mobile phones, they were later sold in stores in Reus and Tarragona with the connivance of their owners, who thus obtained cash.

During the course of the investigation, it was detected that in some cases, in order to obtain rapid financing for high-end terminals, the organisation had a collaborator who worked for an important telephone company, and who was responsible for ensuring that the documentation provided by the criminal organisation was approved and processed more quickly.

During 2023, the organisation began to have problems obtaining financing in some companies in Catalonia. This forced the perpetrators to travel to other parts of the state such as Valencia and Zaragoza, to continue carrying out the same criminal activity.

In November, agents from both police forces arrested 19 people as alleged perpetrators of various crimes of fraud and document falsification. In addition, a total of seven entries were made, six at homes and one at a company. Thus, 121 criminal offences were resolved.

In a second phase and thanks to the information obtained from the analysis of the evidence intervened in the different entries made during the first phase, a multitude of clues were obtained, which led to the identification and arrest of another 20 members. The fraudsters were brought to justice before the court.

Investigators discovered that this organisation had defrauded many more people. In this second phase, 267 incidents reported to the Mossos d’Esquadra have already been resolved, 38 of which correspond to crimes committed in Baix Camp and Priorat.

The post Fraudulent loan gang dismantled appeared first on Spain Today – Breaking Spanish News, Sport, and Information.



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