Civil Guard agents have arrested 29 people and are investigating another 13 linked to a criminal organization specializing in computer scams related to holiday accommodation, led by a man from prison.
Within the framework of this operation, called 'Rent scam', the Civil Guard has managed to dismantle the organization made up of 42 people, 30 men and 12 women, thus managing to clarify more than 128 scams throughout the national territory, especially in the province of Madrid.
Thirty arrests have been carried out simultaneously in the provinces of Madrid, Toledo, Ciudad Real, Pontevedra, A Coruña, Valencia, Alicante, Castellón, Ibiza, Bilbao, Santander, Huelva, Cádiz, Málaga, Granada, Murcia , Barcelona and Tarragona, while all the members of the group are charged with crimes of computer fraud, integration into a criminal organization, identity theft and money laundering.
Specifically, the operation began last September, when the Civil Guard detected an increase in complaints related to vacation scams on various specialized platforms and web pages.
With the information provided by the victims, an exhaustive study of the pages where the accommodation was offered was carried out, verifying how those responsible inserted advertisements on legal platforms and pages in which they offered accommodation at a lower price than the market to capture the attention of the victims. victims and then collect the money in advance.
Thus, the Civil Guard was able to verify the existence of a complex criminal organization that was divided into subgroups and that operated throughout the national territory, locating and relating them to more than a hundred criminal acts.
In addition, it was found that the network acted in different groups and was led by a man with a long criminal record for computer scams who directed them from a Penitentiary Center where he was an inmate.
To commit the scams, a part of the organization travels to places where there are attractive properties, obtaining photographs of them to later be used by another subgroup, which was in charge of inserting the advertisements.
In addition, another of the cells was in charge of capturing false documentation to open bank accounts where the money from the scams would end up, as well as emails and telephone lines that were associated with the advertisements.
Finally, there was a network of "mules" in charge of transferring the money from the crime between other bank accounts and thus making it difficult to trace the money, while another ID was in charge of making money withdrawals from ATMs, the Civil Guard has detailed. it's a statement.
In addition to the arrests, the operation has resulted in various searches, finding numerous computers, electronic devices and documentation in a home that is currently being analyzed, and in the blocking of more than 75 bank accounts that the organization used for criminal activity.