More than 2 million euros obtained as proceeds of cybercrime

In just several months, the Romanian, Hungarian and Hellenic law enforcement  authorities successfully finalized joint investigation code-named OPERATION WALL STREET related to an organized crime group dealing with cyber criminality, drug trafficking and money laundering. 

The activity of the criminal group, having more than 15 members, consisted in opening a number of approximately 200 bank accounts in Hungary by using forged foreign identity documents and controlling flows through at least other 100 bank accounts opened in Spain, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries, through which amounts totaling at least 2 million euros obtained from cybercrime were transferred and subsequently withdrawn.

Following information exchanged via SELEC channel and organizing operational meetings supported by SELEC, the Romanian and Hellenic authorities held an operation (action day 07.07.2021) based also on intelligence provided by the Hungarian Police. 

As a result, 29 house searches were conducted, numerous evidences being identified, large sums of money – approximately 220,000 euros in cash, bank cards, mobile phones, laptops, but also luxury cars on which the seizure was instituted. 

The organized crime group used several modi operandi, one of them was obtaining by phishingmethods the access data in the accounts of online stores that use the Amazon platform, accessing the user account of the online store, followed by changing the data of the bank account belonging to the victim with a bank account controlled by criminals. In this way, customers interested in a certain product advertised by the online store, transferred sums of money to the account controlled by the group, and then withdrawn with the card.

Another method was posting fictitious ads on various sites specialized in selling high value cars (over 50,000 euros), presented as being offered by a real German company.  In reality, using forged documents, members of the group set up such legal entities in Germany, but also in other countries, whose bank accounts were used in the fraudulent activity. For example, through such a company opened in Germany, only in about 2 months, amounts totaling 440,000 euros were obtained.

The members of the organized crime group were also posting fictitious advertisements on real estate rental platforms, claiming, under fictitious identities, that they own real estate properties in different tourist destinations, and they were offering them for rent. Thus, the victims interested in those services were misled by creating the appearance that the transaction will be carried out through well-known renting real estate services (such as Air Bnb).

The judicial proceedings in this case are currently ongoing.