European law enforcement agencies have arrested six suspects as part of an investigation into an alleged cryptocurrency investment scam operating out of Spain.
Europe-wide agency Europol, in partnership with Spanish and Catalan police, detained the suspects as part of a coordinated raid on an Andorran investment training firm.
Suspected to be operating as nothing more than a digital currency scam, the company reportedly used the cover of providing investment training in forex and cryptocurrency markets to deflect from its alleged crimes.
According to Europol, the suspects were all aged between 20 and 34, and have been detained by local police in Spain pending charges. As part of the bust, authorities raided two houses, uncovering €70,000 (approximately $84,000). The funds were split between BTC, ETH and XRP, with some held in fiat cash on the premises.
Alongside the money and digital currency, authorities also seized a number of electronic devices, as well as eight vehicles thought to belong to the group.
Authorities established that “the nabbed suspects allegedly defrauded thousands of clients via an investment training company,” according to the Europol report on the incident.
The scheme, thought to have been operating globally, may have been active for some time. Investigations into the scheme and the individuals behind it are now ongoing.
The case is the latest example of a high profile digital currency based fraud, no doubt fueled by the speculation craze of recent months which has sent markets to fresh all-time highs.
The scam serves as a warning to other unsuspecting investors to be careful of digital currency investment schemes, and to be wary of any investment that purports to offer massive returns over a short period of time.
Law enforcement authorities will now look to recover any funds identified in connection with the scam, as investigations continue.
Follow CoinGeek’s Crypto Crime Cartel series, which delves into the stream of groups-from BitMEX to Binance, Bitcoin.com, Blockstream, ShapeShift, Coinbase, Ripple and Ethereum—who have co-opted the digital asset revolution and turned the industry into a minefield for naïve (and even experienced) players in the market.
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