The police broke up a Czech-Ukrainian gang of fake bankers and arrested 40 people

The police broke up a Czech-Ukrainian gang of fake bankers and arrested 40 people
The police broke up a Czech-Ukrainian gang of fake bankers and arrested 40 people
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Commercial presentation Update: 24/04/2024 11:21
Issued by: 24/04/2024, 11:21

Hradec Králové – The Hradec Králové police and their Ukrainian colleagues eliminated a Czech-Ukrainian gang of fake bankers, who are suspected of hundreds of telephone frauds with damages in the tens of millions of crowns. In the Czech Republic and Ukraine, the police detained 40 people last week, some of whom have already heard the accusations. Iva Kormošová, spokeswoman for the Hradec Králové police, told ČTK today. The police assume that the accused will prove several hundred more frauds, with which the damage caused will also increase. The police worked on the case for almost a year and a half. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian police reported on their part of the case.

The call center was based in Odessa. The callers were Czechs, their recruitment in the Czech Republic was handled by a fifty-year-old Czech woman. The police detained 23 Czechs, of which six were arrested in Ukraine. They are now awaiting extradition to the Czech Republic, where the police will charge them. The police have already charged those detained in the Czech Republic and three of them have been taken into custody by the court. The Ukrainian police detained 17 Ukrainians during an operation coordinated with the Czech police, the spokeswoman said.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian authorities reported different numbers of detainees and the amount of damage in the case. According to them, nine people were detained in Ukraine, six of them Czechs. From at least 16 victims in the Czech Republic, they lured more than three million crowns. The scams were organized by a 40-year-old Ukrainian, Ukrainian police said.

The callers pretended to be employees of the Czech National Bank. They claimed that their account had been hacked and that they needed to transfer their savings to a so-called rescue account. “In some cases, they tricked victims into installing a remote administration program, thereby gaining unrestricted access to their online banking,” the spokeswoman said. The defrauded lost not only their savings, but also the money from the loans, which they seem to have applied for themselves.

The accused used the real names of bank employees and fake bank and police phone numbers, so victims thought they were talking to a bank employee or a police officer. The accused mostly transferred money from the accounts of the victims to the accounts of mainly Ukrainians living in the Czech Republic, who in turn withdrew the money from ATMs and passed it on to other people.

According to the police, from October 2022 to October 2023, the group committed over 150 frauds with a loss of almost 30 million crowns. Of this, over 22 million crowns is complete damage, the rest is damage in the trial or preparation stage. The police assume that the accused will still prove hundreds of frauds. The investigation file has over 20,000 sheets so far.

According to the deputy director of the National Center against Terrorism, Extremism and Cybercrime Jiří Nový, Czech police officers also participated in the final event in Ukraine. All have already returned safely to the Czech Republic. “The complete structure of an organized criminal group has been broken. Criminal activity in cyberspace knows no borders, and its detection requires high expertise and a team approach,” said Nový.

A 50-year-old Czech woman, who, according to the police, was a recruiter of fake operators, also ended up in custody. “She posted job advertisements, communicated with interested parties, then trained them and ensured their departure to Ukraine. The operators earned an average of 80,000 to 200,000 kroner per month, depending on their skills,” said the spokeswoman.

The police worked on the case for almost a year and a half. “It was very difficult to get any information leading to the identity of the perpetrators,” the spokeswoman said. In the Czech Republic, over 100 police officers from various departments took part in the intervention last week. Together in the Czech Republic and Ukraine, they seized dozens of laptops and mobile phones, SIM cards, so-called crypto wallets, payment cards, almost half a million hryvnias, 80,000 US dollars, 1,000 euros, drugs and weapons. Police also seized three properties.

Of the 23 detained Czechs, of whom 16 are men and seven are women, the police accused 17 of participating in an organized criminal group, and 12 of them also face charges of fraud and unauthorized access to a computer system. If convicted, they face up to ten years in prison.

During the investigation of bank fraud, the police also discovered a cannabis cultivation facility in two houses in the Náchod region and arrested three men aged 31, 44 and 51. The oldest of them is the partner of the recruiter, the other two men are foreigners. They are at large under investigation.

Ukraine CR banks crime fraud Královéhradecky FLESH

The article is in Czech

Tags: police broke CzechUkrainian gang fake bankers arrested people

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