THREE foreign nationals have been arrested in Galicia after trying to scam a Guardia Civil plain clothes officer out of €200,000.
The two Croats and an Italian have been operating a complicated scam which to some extent depends upon the greed of their victims and their agreement to become involved in a sale of a property for cash.
One of the men would approach a person trying to sell their property by telephone and explain that they represent a cash buyer who is looking to invest in property and is prepared to pay more than the advertised price using ‘dirty cash’ which has not been declared for taxation.
If the seller agrees, they are also asked to assist by exchanging small bank notes for €500 notes at a discounted price which are also being laundered and anxious to please this potential purchaser they may well agree.
In this event, at least two member of the gang would meet with the seller and hand them a wad of genuine €500 notes, for counting and then placing into a bag.
By sleight of hand, the genuine notes were taken out of the bag and handed over for counting again as if a new batch and would be substituted by counterfeits.
In this case, once the scam had been completed but before the men were able to make their escape, they were arrested as well as their accomplice who was in a car outside the meeting place.
Officers discovered 804 fake €500 notes, €44,500 in genuine notes as well as a counting machine in the seized car.
It later transpired that this same gang had been arrested by the Guardia Civil some months earlier but were still at large and practising the same con.