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Cybercriminals Linked to Italian Mafia Arrested by European Police

Spanish and Italian authorities have dismantled an organized crime group allegedly involved in online fraud, money laundering, and other illegal activities.

Spanish and Italian authorities have dismantled an organized crime group allegedly involved in online fraud, money laundering, and other illegal activities.

With help from Europol and Eurojust, authorities made 106 arrests — mainly in Spain, with some in Italy — performed 16 house searches, and froze 118 bank accounts. They seized various electronic devices, 224 credit cards, point of sale terminals and SIM cards, and more.

The group, which was linked to the Italian Mafia, defrauded hundreds of individuals through attack techniques such as phishing, SIM swapping, and even business email compromise (BEC). The proceeds were laundered through a network of shell companies and money mules.

According to Europol, which was involved in coordinating Spanish and Italian National Police, the crime ring made around €10 million (roughly $11.7 million) last year alone.

Organized in a pyramid structure, the group included computer experts, who were in charge of the phishing pages and cyber fraud operation; recruiters and supervisors for the money mules; and money laundering experts, some of which were experts in cryptocurrencies.

Most of the suspects are Italian nationals, some linked to mafia organizations. Operating out of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), they tricked victims into sending large amounts of money to bank accounts controlled by the criminal group.

Related: Canadian-US National Sentenced to Prison for Cybercrime Schemes

Related: ‘Money Mule’ Operator Gets Seven-Year Prison Sentence

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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