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Cyber ​​fraud, a criminal organization busted. Economic damage of almost three million euros

The State Police carried out six precautionary custody measures, five between Rome and the province and one in Turin, in execution of an order issued by the Gip of Rome, for the crimes of computer fraud, digital identity theft, money laundering and self-laundering, for forgery in public deed and material forgery

© Agenzia Nova - Reproduction reserved

The State Police carried out six precautionary custody measures, five between Rome and the province and one in Turin, in execution of an order issued by the Gip of Rome, for the crimes of computer fraud, digital identity theft, money laundering and self-laundering, for forgery in public deed and material forgery. The investigations of the Cybernetic Security Operations Center of the Lazio Postal Police coordinated by the Rome Public Prosecutor's Office made it possible to identify a criminal association made up of nine subjects and operating in Rome, dedicated to the perpetration of computer fraud to the detriment of financial institutions through the creation of false virtual identities and the consequent work of laundering the huge sums illegally stolen.

The long and complex investigation that lasted two years began by investigating a series of criminal episodes relating to the fraud known as Sim Swap (criminals take over the use of the victims' telephone SIM cards, take possession of the home banking device codes sent to telephone bills and use them to empty the current accounts of the victims). The searches against the suspects, with the execution of a first precautionary custody order, and the analysis of the seized devices allowed the investigators to reconstruct a much more complex system of computer fraud to the detriment of credit institutions, one of which was consumed with an economic damage of approximately 2,9 million euros. Sums of money proceeding from the crime passed through current accounts attributable to the criminal group and were then collected or transferred to current accounts held by accomplices, in many cases with money remittances abroad, for sharing the criminal proceeds. The copiousness of the elements collected by the Cyber ​​Security Operations Center in Rome has made it possible to reconstruct the operational protocol created by the perpetrators of the fraud, which reveals a profound knowledge of the dynamics of interbank services and of Sepa - business to business (B2B) - electronic payment instrument , created with the aim of speeding up and facilitating commercial transactions between industrial, commercial or service companies.

The organization set up companies registered in the name of compliant subjects by making bank and postal current accounts to them, often using telephone SIM cards fictitiously registered in the name of third parties unrelated to the facts, to access home banking services. Commercial agreements were then made between the companies, with Sepa B2B payment mandates and invoices in their name, false documentation created to mislead financial institutions. Payment orders were often filed using online entry through web portals made available by lenders to their customers. The documentation filed made it possible to use a current account on which the amount corresponding to the payment mandates filed was generated. As soon as the availability of the sum was received, and before the credit institution could verify the non-genuity of the documentation filed, the criminals hastened to transfer the funds to current accounts held in the name of other companies created ad hoc for the completion of the fraud and the subsequent transfer of illicit proceeds to foreign accounts. Among these foreign accounts, the Swiss account held in the name of a foreign company operating in the sale and purchase of medical equipment, of which one of the main suspects appears to be the president, on whose current account, the criminal organization has laundered around 700 euros in financial assets for the purchase of real estate.

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