Finance

Alleged leader in crypto scam with celebrities arrested

It concerns a 29-year-old Amsterdammer, who was already arrested on September 22. Among other things, he is suspected of leading a criminal organization.

His arrest was only announced today so as not to alert any accomplices. “It is not wise to hang around the big clock that you have caught one of their people,” says a spokesperson for the tax investigation service Fiod.

The Public Prosecution Service still has a few suspects in the picture. The spokesperson would not say why they have not yet been arrested. There could be several reasons for this, he explains. It is possible that someone is abroad and therefore out of reach of the Dutch police. Another reason could be that he or she is deliberately not arrested in the hope that the suspect will do something that will provide even more evidence.

Watch and expensive cars

However, millions of euros have been seized on buildings, expensive cars and watches, a scooter, cryptocurrencies and bank accounts in the Netherlands and in other countries. In addition, house searches were carried out in Velserbroek and Sweden.

The gang led by the arrested man also operated on an international level. Cunningly, the gang supplied data from unsuspecting consumers to scammers who then defrauded them of tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros. The sale of the data brought in tens of millions of euros for the gang, according to the Fiod.

The gang seduced people with made-up success stories from celebrities about tricks to invest in cryptos. The celebrities such as John de Mol, Jort Kelder and Ali B knew nothing about this. The ads played on people’s fear of missing out on this opportunity by saying that banks would quickly ensure that this investment trick would be banned.

Risky investments

Those who clicked on the ad were then called by other scammers, who then sold them so-called CFDs. This is an investment product where the risk of loss is already very high, warns the Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM).

The providers of the CFDs in the crypto scam also worked illegally. They were in cahoots with the intermediaries who called people, something that is not allowed because the provider of a CFD has an interest in the buyer losing.

Always big losses

When that happened, the intermediaries often called again, persuading consumers to invest more to make up for the losses. The money they lost went to the rogue providers of these investment products.

The money quickly disappeared. Based on the data that the Fiod seized during the raids, the investigation service assumes that tens of thousands of people have been defrauded with the data that the gang took. The gang’s server contained personal data of more than a million people.

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