Spanish law enforcement arrested 35 people for allegedly counterfeiting banking cards and laundering the proceeds through bitcoin (BTC), local media La Verdad reports on June 14.
Per the report, the organization obtained over €600,000 ($674,000) and laundered over €1 million ($1.2 million) using bitcoin. Furthermore, the Command of Alicante reportedly solved a total of 1,020 connected cybercrimes during the operation. The alleged actions of the suspects — who are from Equatorial Guinea, Spain, Nigeria, Cameroon and Morocco — had a total of 219 victims in Spain, with 20 more in Israel, Denmark, Germany, France and Greece.
According to La Verdad, law enforcement noticed the unauthorized use of 104 banking cards in Spain and 12 other countries. The investigations were then spurred by a complaint filed by a car rental company that detected unauthorized use of their banking cards on online services.
The group allegedly operated in three different ways: phishing via email (pretending to be a trustworthy individual and asking for banking credentials), cloning the physical cards, or obtaining credentials from credit card receipts in what is often referred to as credit card bin attack fraud.
The group reportedly paid for hotels, flights, train tickets and rental vehicles with the cards obtained this way, ordering them for its customers for much lower prices. Companies under the group’s control located in Estonia, the United Kingdom and Finland bought bitcoin with the profits.
As Cointelegraph reported at the time, eight people were arrested in Spain for allegedly operating a money laundering scheme involving cryptocurrencies in March.
As Cointelegraph explained in a recently published analysis, law enforcement groups are also taking action against cryptocurrency anonymization services known as cryptocurrency mixers, or tumblers.