In collaboration with Europol and Eurojust, European law enforcement has dismantled an extensive network of cybercriminals linked to the Italian mafia and has been able to deceive its victims, earning just € 10 million last year.
The Spanish Police (Policía Nacional), backed by the Italian Police (Polizia di Stato), Europol and Eurojust, disbanded an organized criminal group linked to the Italian Mafia involved in cyber fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking and property, "Europol said today.
The suspects deceived hundreds of victims through phishing attacks and other types of cyber fraud, such as SIM swapping and hacking of professional emails, before laundering money through a wide network of brokerage firms.
The law enforcement agents who worked on this investigation made 106 arrests (mainly in Spain and some in Italy), participated in 16 home searches and were behind the freezing of 118 bank accounts controlled by the criminal group.
The investigation also led to the seizure of several electronic devices, 224 credit cards, POS terminals and SIM cards, marijuana plantation and the equipment required for all of the above.
The link with the Italian Mafia
"Most of the suspected members are Italian nationals, some of whom have links to a mafia organization," Europol revealed.
"The Tenerife-based suspects (Canary Islands, Spain) tricked their victims, mostly Italian nationals, into sending large sums of money to bank accounts controlled by the criminal network."
The proceeds of cyber fraud, including breaches of professional e-mail and SIM swapping programs, were laundered using a network of companies and an even more extensive network of fraudsters.
"The Joint Cybercrime Action Team (J-CAT) at Europol has supported the operation," Europol added. "This permanent operations team is made up of cyber liaison officers from different countries working from the same office in high-profile cybercrime investigations.
Source of information: bleepingcomputer.com