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Man arrested in Almería for scamming more than €140,000 in citrus sales

The Civil Guard has arrested a 49-year-old Italian resident in El Ejido (Almería) and has taken a statement from a 48-year-old Spaniard from Santomera (Murcia), who is also being investigated, as alleged perpetrators of a continued fraud in the sale of different varieties of citrus for more than 143,000 euro (12 crimes in total), as well as the crimes of asset stripping, money laundering, and belonging to a criminal group.

In March of 2019, the Civil Guard of Callosa de Segura and of Almoradi received various complaints from different people that claimed to have been victims of various scams related to the sale of citrus. A team from the Civil Guard of Torrevieja was in charge of investigating the robberies committed in the field (ROCA).

The alleged authors always followed the same modus operandi: they had created several companies, located in different provinces of the Spanish geography, in order to make police work more difficult, should they be investigated.

They would work with a neighbor of the area in which they intended to act, who played the part of a minority partner and was used as a hook to earn the trust of the businessmen that were also residents of the district.

After having forged a friendship with the different citrus producers in the region and, using their minority partner as a decoy, the true architect of the scam proceeded to carry out the different operations of buying and selling the production of small and medium farmers.

To do this, he gave them a minimum amount of cash, as a deposit. To pay the rest of the total amount agreed, he issued different bank checks that lacked funds.

In addition, the ringleader would liquidate or cease activities of the company in the area, then activate a new company in a different area where he would start a new scam with a different victim.

After more a year of investigating, the agents of the ROCA Team in Torrevieja managed to untangle this complex financial framework, the flow of capital within and outside Spanish territory and determined what personal and real estate assets the main individuals and legal entities investigated had amassed.

After being detained, the ringleader of the scan was released to await trial. Authorities took away his passport, and blocked his 17 bank accounts, from 3 different entities, and seized his movable and immovable property.



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