110 people arrested in major crackdown on share fraud scam
110 people have been arrested across the world in one of the biggest operations into tackling gangs who tricked people into investing in worthless or non-existant shares. There are 850 confirmed victims of the gangs in the UK alone.
Ever been cold called by a hard-selling "stockbroker" offering a high return for an investment that sounds "too good to be true"?
If you have, you may have been the intended victim of a boiler room operation.
The practice, which takes its name from the high-pressure nature of the selling, sees professional-sounding but bogus callers attempt to gain investment in shares that are either non-existent or so worthless they are impossible to sell.
Victims are promised discounts and "secret" stock tips by the persuasive callers, who supply them with fake documents, direct them to mock websites and confuse them with technical jargon to make their fake investments seem credible.
The callers usually operate from overseas and doggedly pursue an increasing scale of investments before quickly severing all contact once they deem enough money has been obtained.
The alleged fraud network busted by UK and Spanish police this week is said to have conned more than 1,000 victims.
UK and Spanish police have arrested 110 people in one of the largest operations into tackling gangs who are accused of robbing millions of pounds in savings by duping people into investing in worthless or non-existant shares.
The crackdown on so-called "boiler room" fraud saw 84 people held in Spain, 20 in the UK, two in the United States and four in Serbia this week. The arrests can now be reported after a reporting ban was lifted by a Spanish judge.
Investigators from the City of London Police joined Spain's national police in targeting a number of organised crime gangs, aiming to take out the top levels of the networks as well as dozens of the alleged conmen who work for them.
Officers claim the gangs spent the stolen money on sports cars, designer watches, drugs and prostitutes, while one of the suspects was believed to be paying £40,000 per month to rent an apartment.