Police arrest ten people from scam network of tourist apartments

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A joint operation developed by the Ertzaintza and the Guardia Civil called “Cheat-Stay” has made possible the dismantling of an international criminal organisation dedicated to committing scams in the rental of tourist accommodation over the internet. Ten people have been arrested, five of them in Madrid, two in Guipuzcoa, two in Malaga and one in Sevilla, another 20 are being investigated, and five house searches have been carried out.

The Basque Department of Security has reported that those involved are charged with the alleged crimes of aggravated fraud, belonging to a criminal organisation, money laundering, identity theft and document falsification. The main activity of the dismantled organisation was the scam through the false holiday rental, the cloning of credit cards and the fraudulent sale of holiday packages.

As reported by Andalucia Informacion, the beginning of the investigation dates back to 2018 when a series of scams in tourist rentals were detected, with the common denominator being that the homes offered were fraudulently advertised in different locations on the Cadiz coast. The Guardia Civil and the Ertzaintza collected multiple complaints related to the events and from that moment the joint investigation began.

The scam was carried out through advertisements on different web pages, created for this purpose by criminals, where, through fictitious companies, fake rentals of tourist accommodation were offered. In addition, the members of the criminal organisation also committed scams related to the purchase of real estate and fraudulent charges on third party credit cards. This investigation revealed that the activities carried out by the organisation would have provided benefits of more than €4 million, affecting more than 300 people through the fraudulent rental of flats and vacation packages, credit card cloning, or intervention in purchase and sale operations of hotel complexes.

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Diane Burke

Diane is from Limerick, Ireland and has previously lived in Seville. Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism and Public Relations she has a keen interest in digital media. As well as her passion for news, she enjoys learning about human psychology, practising pilates and has a soft spot for tapas!

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