After following their trail and building their case over several months, Spanish police have taken down a group running a sports betting scam in the country. They arrested five people and are investigating another three as the case continues.
The Civil Guard of the Spanish municipality of Huesca launched its investigation at the end of 2021. In the process, it uncovered a criminal organization that defrauded a number of victims of €72,000 (US$71,640) from all over Spain. Members of the gang range in age from 20 to 25.
The investigation began after one of the victims reported an alleged scam worth €2,000 (US$1,990). The victim reported that he had contacted a person through a well-known social network who promised him profits in online sports betting that could amount to a large amount of money. However, it was only a ruse.
Hot On The Scent
After that alarm, the agents of the Advisory, Prevention and Response Team on Cybercrime of the Civil Guard of Huesca conducted various inquiries. They determined that different people had deposited €48,000 (US$47,750) into a certain bank account. Then, others immediately withdrew the money from ATMs located in Madrid.
From this analysis of the extractions, investigators found another 19 people residing in different locations who they identified as potential victims of the same scam. When the police contacted them, they corroborated the same modus operandi the initial victim described.
The scam targeted people all across the country. Police found victims in Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Granada, Ceuta and other communities. Then, with all the information the investigators collected for more than six months, they moved in.
The Civil Guard identified all of the perpetrators and, on June 7, arrested the main member of the criminal network in Malaga. The man was already on the run from the police and frequently moved around to avoid detection.
After that first arrest, police carried out a raid on a house the gang leader frequented. There, the agents seized several mobile devices used in the management of the different accounts created on the betting platform, as well as cash.
Next, in Madrid, they arrested four more people and began the investigation of another individual. Finally, on August 5, with the collaboration of agents of the Civil Guard of Ceuta, they tracked down two more people.
Next Stop, the Courthouse
All face charges of fraud, membership in a criminal group and money laundering. In addition, they blocked seven online sports betting accounts that had conducted 480 fraudulent movements. The Civil Guard didn’t name the platform the criminals used.
The case, including the perpetrators and all the evidence, has been handed over to prosecutors in Huesca. However, for now, all members of the criminal group – even the one previously wanted by police – are free as they await a date with a court judge.
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