By Chris King •
Updated: 03 Jun 2023 • 0:54
Image of Guardia Civil officers carrying out an arrest.
Credit: Guardia Civil
A total of 13 people have been arrested for the commission of more than 600 criminal acts that affected at least 200 people across Spain.
As reported in a statement from the Guardia Civil this Friday, June 2, those detained carried out identity theft of citizens by falsifying personal documents while using more than 700 telephone lines to commit scams in obtaining credits.
The detainees used photos of the victims’ DNI and falsified pay slips to obtain personal credits with which they acquired goods that they later resold.
‘Operation Ponus’ resulted in the arrest of 13 individuals between the ages of 19 and 59, for a total of 629 criminal acts involving at least 209 victims throughout the national territory.
They have been charged with the crimes of fraud, documentary falsification, identity theft, disclosure of secrets, misappropriation, against public health, and belonging to a criminal group.
Officers from the @ Team of the Guardia Civil discovered that there was a large volume of fraud complaints in which the perpetrators were using the same modus operandi.
The criminals, after obtaining a photograph of the DNI of their victims, supplanted their identity and acquired products through the internet, financing them in their name.
Later, when they received these goods, they resold them through applications and pages for the sale of second-hand items.
Given the similarity of the criminal acts, the operation was launched and investigative procedures were put into practice to find out the perpetrators’ operations and completely clarify their identities in order to bring them to justice.
It was possible to verify that the authors falsified pay slips and other documents that are also required to open bank accounts and contract telephone lines.
With this, they managed to create a criminal network that affected at least 209 victims who created debts with various credit institutions and telephone providers and from which the perpetrators managed to obtain more than €1 million.
The Social Security Treasury examined all the payslips and personal data provided by the police. Thanks to this first study, this administration used the same parameters and managed to identify a higher number of affected than those that existed at the beginning, clarifying that the total number of victims amounted to 209.
Those affected resided throughout the national territory: Valencia, Castellón, Alicante, the Canary Islands, Madrid, Ciudad Real, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Granada, Córdoba, Segovia, Cuenca, Murcia, Gijón, Zaragoza, Teruel, Navarra, the Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Lleida, Sevilla, Bizkaia, A Coruña, Cantabria, and Albacete.
A joint operation was designed that allowed clarifying the identity of the components of the criminal group and its operations.
In this way, it was possible to verify that the group had regional operational cells in other parts of Spain: Huelva, Valencia, Tarragona and Barcelona.
These groups infiltrated their staff in strategic jobs with which to obtain the necessary documentation from their victims to perpetrate the crimes.
For the exploitation of the operation, a total of seven searches were carried out in homes and one in an establishment in the Valencian towns of Játiva, Benetússer, Quart de Poblet, Hospitalet de Llobregat, San Pere de la Molanta, and Valencia city.
Almost 100 Guardia Civil officers were deployed to carry out these searches. As a result, various documents were seized that proved the commission of the crimes investigated, in addition to the goods that they acquired with the credits that they requested in the name of the victims and that they had not yet sold.
During the searches, 10 kilograms of marijuana, several doses of cocaine and precision scales were also confiscated.
Thanks to these searches, it was also possible to find out that the heads of the different regional cells had leaders who coordinated to commit the crimes, transferring the Autonomous Communities to try to hinder police work.
The members of the organisation constantly changed homes, sent money abroad, and used more than 700 different telephone lines to communicate and commit crimes.
One of the top bosses of the organisation had 23 judicial requisitions from various courts throughout Spain against his name.
Another of them, who also falsified medical prescriptions to obtain prescription drugs, tried to flee, hiding in an illegally occupied social centre. He was arrested when he was in a vehicle that was stolen in 2022 that was able to be recovered.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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