On 6 October 2022, a Croatian scammer was arrested in Tenerife, Spain, by the National Police (Policía Nacional) following an extensive investigation involving law enforcement agencies in four countries. The 50-year-old suspect is believed to have been running a large-scale, multi-layered investment fraud scheme that siphoned at least €5 million out of unsuspecting investors. Over 70 German victims have been identified so far.
This arrest follows a complex investigation initiated in December 2019 by the German Police Headquarters Ludwigsburg with the support of Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre, which supported the investigation by bringing together the national investigators to establish a joint strategy and to organizing the intensive exchange of evidence needed to prepare for the final phase of the investigation.
The investigation uncovered how this criminal would pose as an employee of a real, Geneva-based investment company and would reach out to unsuspecting victims to persuade them to part with their savings, promising lucrative investment companies.
To fabricate a sense of legitimacy, the scammer had set up a ‘spoofed’ website that looked nearly identical to the real company’s website. Forged investment documents that appeared to have been made by recognizable banks and insurance companies were also provided to prospective victims to trick them. The investors were instructed to send funds via wire transfer to bank accounts controlled by the criminal.
Once the payments had been made, the scammer would disappear with the money, moving the stolen funds from one jurisdiction to the other to conceal their illegal origin. The investigators were able to track down the stolen funds all the way to Türkiye.