POLICE have made 10 arrests as part of an investigation into residency fraud in El Ejido and Roquetas de Mar.
Police said the detainees included the heads of a network dedicated to providing and managing documentation for foreigners in Spain who did not have the necessary paperwork to qualify for residency permits.
The investigators discovered the network was charging non-EU citizens between €500 and €2,200 to obtain fraudulent contracts and documents so they could regularise their situation in Spain.
Police first started looking into the possible fraud in November last year with the collaboration of the Almeria Immigration office. The investigation established that residency and work permit requests for exceptional circumstances were being presented by supposedly self-employed individuals, backed up by fake documents.
The fraud consisted of foreign residents seeming to comply with the requirements on having the capacity to mount their own business project, which turned out not to exist.
It transpired that the requests for said authorisations were all being handled by a consultancy in Aguadulce, as was getting hold of fake documents like property and business rental contracts and certificates and diplomas from foreign businesses to try and prove a foreigner had been living in Spain for more than three years.
Police identified the Moroccan-born man and his lawyer wife who run the consultancy as the organisation leaders; the Moroccan was in fact arrested last October and has a police record for similar criminal activities in 2014.
During the operation police seized abundant incriminating documentation related to the processing of residency requests from 25 Moroccans, two Senegalese and one Gambian.
As well as the 10 detentions, police are investigating a further 20 individuals for false documentation, fraud and crimes against foreign citizens.