A network of hackers falls after cheating about 25 million euros

Agents of the National Police have dismantled an international organization dedicated to defrauding commercial companies around the world

The arrested were a highly specialized group in all types of scams - Nigerian letters, fraudulent charges in bank accounts of individuals or fraud of the CEO - and had a high degree of specialization, which has allowed them to cheat 25 million euros more of one hundred companies. The criminal group used the modality known as "Man in the middle", consisting of computer attacks directed against companies with high turnover, to which they intercept their communications to divert money from their transfers to an account of the organization with documentation false Through the "fraud of the CEO" the organization contacted an employee who had the ability to access the accounts of the victim company, posing as their boss or director to request a supposedly confidential and urgent financial operation.

Scams in companies around the world in the last three years

The investigation began when the agents learned of the existence of several victims of scams of this type in Jerez de la Frontera, in the province of Madrid and the island of Mallorca, which required coordination from the Financial Fraud Section of the UDEF Central with the Local Commissariats of Jerez de la Frontera and Manacor. Advanced the researches the investigators could verify that victims of the organization existed throughout the Spanish geography, as well as that they had been carrying out their illicit activity for more than three years.

To commit the scams, those investigated were previously made with false documents with which they opened accounts in different banking entities. Later, through computer attacks, they managed to intercept the emails of the victim companies, using one of the following three methods: phishing, which consists of modifying some detail of the mail account of the supplier company to pass itself off as , and then contact the client company and indicate an account number of the organization to which they had to pay; directly from the customer's email, that is, they seized the provider's email and from that account they sent an e-mail to the client, indicating where to make the payment; and finally, intercepting the communications through e-mail that were produced live between supplier and client, so that when it came time to send the data of the account in which the payment had to be made, they made them arrive those of the fraudulent account of the organization.

In all cases, the ultimate goal was to seize the payment made by companies and public bodies, including the Autonomous Communities, Local Corporations and large private merchants, both Spanish and foreign.

Once they diverted the money to their bank accounts, the members of the organization distributed it in turn using three methods: by cash withdrawals at ATMs made by members of the organization who, after keeping their percentage of commission, delivered the rest to the leader of the group in Spain, whose domicile was in Manacor; through money transfers to different accounts located in European Union countries and then transferred back to the organization's accounts to finally return to the accounts of those investigated in our country, but with a legal appearance; and, finally, by sending the money to a company in Castellón where its owner bought material that was later exported in containers destined for Nigeria, to be finally sold in that country and whose profits returned to Spain in the form of commercial transactions of legal course, distributing the money already laundered between the different members of the organization.

Ten detainees and 16 bank accounts blocked

This police operation has concluded with the complete dismantling of the criminal structure and the detention of 10 people from Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Spain, among whom are those most responsible. The arrests took place in the provinces of Toledo (1) and Castellón (1) and the Balearic municipality of Manacor (8) for the crimes of belonging to a criminal organization, fraud, computer intrusion, document forgery and money laundering.

On the other hand, 16 bank accounts have been blocked and, in the records made in Toledo (1) and Manacor (4), seven forged Spanish identity documents that the detainees used for the opening of the fraudulent accounts have been seized, as well as three vehicles and numerous computer equipment. The researchers believe that the organization would have cheated in Spain an amount greater than 600,000 euros, a figure that could be increased with the analysis of all the material seized.

Contacts of more than 500,000 Spanish companies

As a result of a first study of the computer material seized, listings with contact data of more than 500,000 Spanish companies have been detected. They also had email accounts of 1,000 of these companies and their access codes.

They have also found data of dozens of people obtained without their consent that the detainees had prepared to be used in future scams, as well as bitcoin wallet accounts. The use of this type of virtual currencies is used as a method to invest their profits and whiten them more easily. Finally, emails have been found with information on transfers made by international companies to other companies controlled by members of the organization. Most of these illegal transfers correspond to scams type "CEO fraud" and "Man in the middle", worth about 25 million euros. This money went directly to the bank accounts that the organization had open in tax havens.

31 criminal acts, including those committed in other countries of the European Union, have been clarified, although information continues to be received on possible fraud in third countries, so that no further arrests are ruled out.


Date update on 2019-01-11. Date published on 2019-01-11. Category: hackers Author: Oscar olg Fuente: andaluciainformacion
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