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Spain: Costa Blanca fruit fraudsters arrested

The Almoradí Guardia Civil arrested two people in connection with the illegal sale of 7 tonnes of lemons and 125 tonnes of pomegranates. An investigation was launched last November, after five farmers were the victim of a scam involving the sale of fruits.

The location of the scam operation was found to be in El Pinós, and officers raided a warehouse and made two arrests.

According to an article on Euro Weekly News the two detained Spaniards went around the local growers drumming up business and claimed that they ran a wholesale company in Orihuela City that distributed fruit and vegetables. They even wrote promissory notes over future payment for the fruit to the five farmers, but the due date passed without them getting any money from their new customers. The out-of-pocket growers then came together to make a joint complaint to the Guardia Civil in November, who launched an investigation.

It also emerged that other complaints had been filed in the past against the duo over not paying their suppliers. Officers from the rural crimes division, ROCA, based in Torrevieja, went to visit the warehouse in Orihuela supposedly owned by the two Spaniards. All they found was an empty building with no obvious signs that anybody had traded there recently.

The men, aged 50 and 56, actually operated out of Pinoso and used an Orihuela address to show the farmers that they were locally-based and to gain their trust. The value of the unpaid fruit was over €46,000, and the arrested men have been charged with committing fraud.

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