Police in Spain have broken up a gang behind the “most active” counterfeit euro note printing operation that has ever been discovered in the country.
In a Europol-backed operation, officers from Spain’s Policía Nacional arrested four people and seized fake banknotes worth €15,500 ($17,371).
Investigators said the organised criminal network behind the conspiracy, which was based in Tenerife, ran a sophisticated operation in which they printed fake €10 and €20 notes, raking in some €7,500 every month.
Police launched a probe into the gang’s activities in July 2018 when banks in Tenerife reported a marked increase in the number of fake €10 banknotes in circulation on the island.
Officers working on Operation Malla soon discovered that the convincing fakes were also being distributed across Europe.
During a raid on one Tenerife property that resulted in the arrest of the four suspects, police found a sophisticated printing system capable of producing counterfeit banknotes and fake ID.
Officers also seized computer and printing equipment, along with fake banknotes at various points of the production process.
Specialist Spanish counterfeit investigators said they were surprised at the quality of the fake notes, as well as the sophistication of the equipment that was used to produce them.
In a statement, Europol said: “[We] supported this operation by providing financial, technical and analytical support from the beginning and deploying a mobile office on the action day for on-the-spot support.
“As the European Union’s Central Office for Combating Euro Counterfeiting, Europol facilitates the exchange of information and provides expertise, criminal and forensic analysis, training, financial and technical support to law enforcement agencies inside and outside the European Union.”
Spanish police have advised members of the public to follow EU guidance on how to spot fake banknotes.
The European Central Bank (ECB) recommends that consumers use its “feel, look and tilt” method if they have any concerns that a banknote in their possession might be counterfeit.
The bank says that euro notes should feel crisp and firm, and that some sections should feel thicker than others.
When held up to the light, a watermark should become visible in the portrait window of euro banknotes, as should a security thread close to their centre.
If a genuine euro banknote is tilted, its silvery stripe should reveal a portrait of Europa in a transparent window, while an emerald number displays an effect of light moving up and down.
Canadian police smash counterfeit currency network that flooded Surrey with bogus US dollar bills
Police in Canada have charged four people with various offences after breaking up a counterfeit currency ring that was circulating counterfeit US bills with a face value of thousands of dollars in the Metro Vancouver area.
The operation that resulted in the suspects’ arrest began at the beginning of January after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) received multiple reports of bogus US bills being passed off to several businesses in the Newton area of Surrey, a city in British Columbia.
The investigation, which was launched after it was established that counterfeit banknotes with a face value of more than $5,000 had been circulated in the region, culminated at the end of last month with a raid on a residential property.
Officers participating in the raid discovered fake US bills with a face value of more than £12,000, an array of weapons and equipment that had been used to print the counterfeit currency.
Kaymen Winter, Tassie Winter, Mitchell Coubrough and Terita Herbert have now been charged with a number of offences, including making counterfeit currency, possession of prohibited weapons, and possession of counterfeit documents.
In a statement, Surrey RCMP Corporal David Amerlinck said: “Counterfeit currency can be particularly harmful to small independent business owners.
“The victims of this type of fraud often find themselves paying out of pocket for the financial losses. It’s affecting their business, but in many cases they are affected personally as well.”
In a separate operation, a coalition of Canadian law enforcement agencies arrested and charged two people in Ontario in connection with various transnational scams, including the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) telephone scam, the Bank Investigator scam and the tech support scam.
The CRA scam involved callers identifying themselves as CRA officials and bullying victims into paying non-existent fines or taxes.
Operating from India, the fraudsters behind the scam are thought to have been actively targeting Canadians since 2014, and are estimated to have conned victims out of more than CA$16.8 million ($12.7 million).
Gurinderpreet Dhaliwal and Inderpreet Dhaliwal have both been charged with fraud and handling the proceeds of crime.
Phone fraudsters commonly target victims while pretending to be calling from government agencies.
Last July, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) revealed that complaints to its Consumer Sentinel Network about government imposter scams had reached record levels over the spring
Back in 2016, it was reported that a prospective university student from Shandong province in China had died of a heart attack after she was conned out of her tuition fees in a phone scam.
Customs workers in US state of Minnesota find bogus bank bills with face value of $900,000 in Chinese rail container
US customs workers in Minnesota have discovered counterfeit bank notes with a face value of $900,000 in a container that is said to have originated from China.
Agents from US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) referred the shipment for further inspection after conducting an initial search of rail freight passing through the International Falls Port of Entry on the US/Canada border.
During a more detailed inspection of the container, border control officers found a total of 45 cartons, each of which contained fake $1 bills.
In total, the shipment of fake currency had a face value of $900,000.
After discovering the notes, CBP officers called in experts from the US Secret Service, who were able to confirm the currency was indeed fake.
Commenting on the discovery of the bogus bills, Pembina Area Port Director Jason Schmelz said in a statement: “CBP officers strive every day to protect the United States from a variety of threats.
“Those threats don’t always come in the form of terrorists or narcotics, but also in the form of counterfeit currency and other goods that have the potential to harm the economy of the United States.
“Thanks to the dedication of our officers and our partnership with the Secret Service, we were able to keep this currency from entering into circulation.”
The CBP has said preventing the flow of illicit goods and counterfeit currency into the US is one of its top priorities, not least on account of the damage such items can do to the US economy.
Last week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its first report on combatting counterfeit and pirated goods in America after US President Donald Trump issued a Memorandum on Combatting Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods in April of last year.
The report found that “the flood of counterfeit and pirated goods” now being sold to US consumers through online third-party marketplaces is threatening both public health and safety as well as national security.
“The lack of effective methods for addressing counterfeit goods stifles American innovation and erodes the competitiveness of US manufacturers and workers,” the study concluded.
“Despite increased efforts of both the US government and private sector stakeholders, the trafficking of counterfeit and pirated goods continues to worsen, in both the volume and the array of products being trafficked.”
Spanish police and Europol help smash counterfeit currency networks in Madrid and Bogota
Police in Spain have arrested eight people in a Europol-backed operation targeting a counterfeit currency network that investigators believe was responsible for the distribution of large quantities of bogus €50 ($56) banknotes in multiple locations across the country.
The suspects, the majority of whom are said to have been Senegalese nationals, were detained during raids on four properties in Madrid after law enforcement officers intercepted fake bills with a face value of €15,000 in a package addressed to the leader of the network.
Police said the contents of the package, which had arrived in Spain from Italy, was intended to be distributed primarily in Madrid and Barcelona, where members of the organisation employed mules to inject the counterfeit currency into local economies via shops and other businesses.
The investigation that led to the arrest of the suspects was launched back in March when Spanish police learned that a Senegalese national was selling fake banknotes as well as dealing heroin, cocaine and cannabis.
Surveillance of the man led investigators to members of the network, who were found to have been making regular trips to Italy to arrange shipments of the fake banknotes they sold.
After realising the international nature of the conspiracy, police in Spain approached Europol and requested assistance with their investigation into the network’s activities.
In statement, Europol said: “Over 60 police officers were involved in the action day [that led to the suspects’ arrests].
“Europol deployed a mobile office to Madrid, allowing for the real-time crosschecking of the information against the agency’s databases.”
In a separate operation, Spanish police and their counterparts in Colombia have dismantled a clandestine counterfeit euro and US dollar banknote printing press in Bogota.
The investigation resulted in the arrest of two people and the seizure of fakes banknotes with a face value of $20,000, electronic devices, a printer, inks, paper and various other tools used during the counterfeiting process.
Colombian police requested technical and operational support from Spanish investigators and Europol once they had established the network was involved in the production of fake euro notes.
Operation Malla resulted in the arrest of four people and the seizure of counterfeit currency worth €15,500 during a raid on a property in Tenerife that was used as a base by the gang behind the fake banknote plot.
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