Latvian police dismantle major money laundering group – Baltic News Network

The Latvian State Police dismantled a criminal group that used a network of over 90 “money mules” to provide professional money laundering services in the country.

In February 2022, the Latvian National Police Cybercrime Service launched criminal proceedings after receiving information from a Latvian-based credit agency that it had become aware of systematic fraudulent payment activity on some customer accounts. Did.

Investigations revealed that there was a wide network of “money mules” in Riga, made up of young people between the ages of 16 and 20, who were receiving flash payments in their accounts. These payments were primarily from German citizens. Money from these accounts was then rapidly withdrawn in cash. Most of the time this happened around midnight.

Victims have said that when they found their accounts empty, they tried to cancel transactions that were usually made the next night. However, only a few victims were able to intercept and retrieve the stolen money, given that the organizers of this criminal group ensured immediate withdrawal of money from the accounts of the “money mules”. was.

Data analysis shows about 30 such crimes per month. Authorities say the gang may have been active in Latvia since September 2019.

Latvian police have carried out a number of investigation-related activities to stop criminal groups and identify suspects.

An investigation revealed that the criminal group consisted of 14 members. One of them was a citizen of Germany. This person coordinated a group from Germany. The organizers had recruiters look for “money mules” with bank accounts in Latvia. This group used these people to receive and move illegally obtained money.

Money withdrawn from “money mules” was distributed in the form of virtual currency.

Following instructions from the organizers, the members of the group also distributed the earned money among themselves. A money mule was paid between €50 and €250 for his services if he participated in the activity multiple times.In this way the criminal group was able to launder more than €555,600.

In April 2020 police detained 13 members of the group.

Among the individuals detained was a leader of a criminal group. both were arrested.

The group’s leader was detained in Germany in May 2022 thanks to a European arrest warrant issued as a result of long-term international cooperation between law enforcement agencies of various countries. The German citizen was detained and arrested after several searches, interrogations and special investigations. Germany will extradite him to Latvia for criminal prosecution in the summer of 2022.

In August 2022, the Latvian police handed over the criminal case to the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Other Branches to initiate criminal prosecution.

In view of the large number of young people who have agreed to support criminal groups by becoming “money couriers,” the state police emphasize to society that such acts carry criminal liability.

Those who agree to become “money couriers” not only face criminal liability, but also for the rest of their lives because banks close such people’s access to bank accounts and access to the Internet. You have to keep in mind that you are going to experience difficulties. banking services. Latvian police dismantle major money laundering group – Baltic News Network

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