Article: Police Across Europe Crush Ponzi Schemes, Recover Lost Money

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Police Across Europe Crush Ponzi Schemes, Recover Lost Money

ZDRAVKO LJUBAS, 18 May 2021

Authorities in Europe have dismantled several investment fraud schemes across the continent and recovered some of the money victims lost. Confiscation of proceeds from crimes is a strategic priority of the European Union, Europol said.

With the help of U.K. law enforcement and Europol, Spanish police recovered some of the over 15 million euro (US$18,2 million) hundreds of victims had lost in a ponzi scheme after a Spanish national living in the U.K. tricked them into making seemingly safe investments with high returns.

Police recovered about six million euro ($7,28 million) or some 40 percent of the money people invested, according to Europol.

“An investigation was launched at the beginning of March 2019 after a complaint was filed in Gerona, Spain, after the main suspect disappeared,” read the statement.

Other complaints soon emerged, detailing a pyramid scheme committed by the missing suspect.

U.K. authorities helping the investigation found more than £642,000 ($904,900) in U.K. bank accounts and froze them to ensure they can be confiscated. British investigators have also traced back a portion of the redirected funds that had been deposited in online gaming firms, a luxurious car, jewelry, and IT equipment.

“Confiscation is a strategic priority in the European Union’s fight against organized crime. The recovery of proceeds from crime deprives criminals of what they have strived to acquire and strengthens the notion that ‘crime should not pay’,” read the statement.

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