With the support of Europol and Eurojust, the Latvian State Police (Valsts policija) and the Lithuanian Police (Lietuvos Policija) have detained over 100 people in Riga and Vilnius on suspicion of being involved in an international boiler room and broker scam. On 24 and 25 March hundreds of officers, including special intervention teams, raided a total of three boiler rooms operated by this cybercrime organization. Its members are accused of defrauding victims across the world. It has not yet been confirmed whether the target of this action day was the so-called Latvian Racket cybercrime organization.
According to the Europol announcement, “an army of up to 200” boiler room agents speaking English, Russian, Polish, and Hindi, called unsuspecting victims to persuade them to invest in their promising lucrative scheme. However, the investments in bitcoin, commodities, and foreign currencies were all fake. No trading or investment ever happened. Surprised? We are not! According to preliminary findings, the suspects arrested are believed to have generated illicit profits of over €3 million per month.
The coordinated strike against them resulted in:
- 80 people detained in Latvia and 28 detained in Lithuania;
- Seizure of cash, bank accounts and luxury vehicles;
- €95 000 in cryptocurrencies seized.
Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre supported the investigation from the onset by bringing together the national investigators from Latvia and Lithuania to establish a joint strategy and to organize the intensive exchange of evidence needed to prepare for the final phase of the investigation. Europol experts from both its European Financial and Economic Crime Centre and European Cybercrime Centre were deployed to Latvia and Lithuania to assist the national authorities with the action days.
Eurojust supported by setting up a joint investigation team (JIT) into the case within one week and organizing a rapid coordination meeting. Further assistance was given with the execution of a European Investigation Order during the action day.