By Sally Underwood • 16 September 2021 • 14:28
Guardia Civil arrests gang who defrauded nearly 600 elderly people. Image: Guardia Civil
Officers from the Guardia Civil have arrested and investigated 21 people during an operation to bring down a gang which allegedly defrauded nearly 600 people.
According to police, the gang made around €1.7 million from their crimes, with some victims losing up to €100,000.
Their investigation has found 592 victims in La Rioja, Asturias, Avila, Barcelona, Burgos, Cadiz, Cantabria, Galicia, Granada, Leon, Malaga, Madrid, Navarra, Basque Country, Segovia, Soria, and Valladolid.
Police have arrested and investigated 11 men and 10 women after they allegedly used aggressive sales tactics to generate confusion in the victims. In some cases, the scams left families bankrupt after making payments of €30,000, €50,000 and up to €100,000.
The criminal network acquired identity packs on the black market of people who had bought book collections before with others companies, or had been the victims of multiple scams.
They then told people who had previously purchased book collections from other companies that the purchase contract required them to buy the new editions, charging between €1,900 and €3,000. The gang even claimed to be lawyers for the publisher and told one person to pay the debt owed to the company.
The group also defrauded elderly and disabled people by posing as legal advisers and offering their services, offering an annual contract between €2,400 and €3,400.
As part of their investigation, police carried out a total of five searches in companies and homes in Madrid, Getafe and Mejorada del Campo, seizing computers, computer equipment suspected of being used by the gang before being arrested.
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Sally Underwood is a former aide to several former cabinet members and now contributes her views on Parliament’s ever-changing shape in her column for the Euro Weekly News.
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