Law enforcement and judicial authorities from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, the Netherlands and Ukraine, supported by Europol and Eurojust, teamed up against an organised crime group involved in binary fraud.
Operating between May 2019 and September 2021, the criminal network lured German investors into making transactions worth a total of at least € 15 million. The criminals advertised their financial services online and via social media, while using over 250 domain names.
Part of the scam involved two call centres, which were reportedly set up in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, where roughly 100 employees posed as financial advisors and attempted to sell fake binary options - a type of financial betting.
Employees had scripts containing predefined conversations and key messaging to convince clients to release more funds. However, an investigation revealed that most employees were unaware that the company they were working for was involved in a fraud scheme.
Initial profits shown in the user interface encouraged the clients to invest large sums of money. However, clients did not receive payment of their winnings or credit balance once they requested it.
The investigation has so far led to 246 criminal proceedings across 15 German federal states.
An action day on October 6, saw involvement from law enforcement and judicial authorities in Bulgaria, Cyprus and Ukraine, in addition to Europol and Eurojust, and resulted in:
- Eight house searches
- The questioning of 17 individuals in Bulgaria
- One high value target arrested in Cyprus
- Seizures included phones, electronic equipment, bank accounts and data back-ups
Want to hear more about financial crimes? Make sure to register to FinCrime Global to hear subject matter experts discuss the landscape and more.
Must see sessions include:
- The Complex Web of Financial Crime | 27 October at 1:45pm BST
- Connecting the Dollar Signs | 27 October at 3:15pm BST
- Welcome to the eLaundry | 28 October at 10:15am BST