• Italian and Albanian law enforcement authorities have busted a cryptocurrency investment scam estimated to have netted 15 million euros.
• Assets worth 3 million euros were seized and more than 160 electronic devices were confiscated by a joint investigation team.
• Victims of the scam were asked to create an account and transfer an initial sum, which showed an immediate financial gain.
Italian and Albanian law enforcement authorities have recently busted a large cryptocurrency investment scam that is estimated to have netted 15 million euros (US$16 million). The operation was carried out by a joint investigation team, Eurojust, the European Union’s cross-border agency for fighting organized crime. Police officers seized assets worth 3 million euros, as well as more than 160 electronic devices including computers, servers, digital video recorders and a cellphone.
The organized crime group behind the scam ran a call center in Tirana, Albania. Victims were contacted by the perpetrators posing as brokers and were proposed advantageous investments in cryptocurrencies with zero risk. The victims were encouraged to invest larger sums, often their entire economic capital, and were subsequently locked out once the larger deposits were made.
The crypto market has seen a decline this year, however this has not stopped criminals from taking advantage of the situation. Crypto investment scams have become increasingly popular and they target victims seeking to make sizable short-term financial gains. In the U.K., crypto tactical advisers have been stationed in police departments to investigate and seize digital assets linked to crime.
Eurojust was unable to provide further details on the case as the investigation is still ongoing. However, the agency stated that it is committed to tackling cross-border financial crime and will continue to work with law enforcement authorities in Italy and Albania to bring the perpetrators to justice.