Suspected Costa del Sol cryptocurrency scammer arrested | Spain
Police arrested a suspected cryptocurrency fraudster who is believed to have defrauded his victims over â¬ 500,000 (Â£ 421,000) while living a life of luxury on the Costa del Sol, staying in hotels and exclusive villas, eating in expensive restaurants and buying a designer. clothes.
The Guardia Civil force described the Latvian man, who had been wanted by Interpol since 2015, as “one of the biggest cryptocurrency scammers based in Spain”.
He was arrested in Latvia last week after an operation carried out by the Cybercrime Department of the Guardia Civil and its central operational unit.
The force said more than 1,000 people were victims of the alleged scam, in which investors in a new virtual currency known as “Hodlife, the Unicorn Token” were promised a share of the fees collected. on transactions using electronic money.
The Guardia Civil said: âTo publicize the project, the arrested man used the most popular digital communication channels to organize aggressive advertising campaigns on Twitter, Telegram and on a bespoke webpage.
âHe quickly built up a large community of users who, thanks to the messages sent from these platforms, were tricked into depositing their crypto-currencies into the new business.
To appear even more convincing and professional, the alleged con artist also employed an actor to appear in promotional videos posing as the creator of the currency.
In late June, however, Hodlife investors discovered their money was gone and realized they had been duped. The “rug pull” – or cut-and-run – led the Guardia Civil to open an investigation.
Their investigations led them to portfolios linked to a 29-year-old Lithuanian man who had spent long periods in Spain since 2020. By analyzing the various internet connections used in the scam, police established that the suspected con artist had operated from one of the most exclusive areas of the Costa del Sol.
“Agents on the trail of the suspect discovered the upscale lifestyle enjoyed by him and his accomplices,” the statement said. âThey lived in luxury villas that cost over â¬ 1,000 a day to rent, they rented high-end cars and spent huge sums of money in designer clothing stores and the best restaurants in town. Costa del Sol. â
Analysis of the various internet connections used by the gang also revealed that they alternated between villas and hotels, using the internet to access different cryptocurrency sites and transfer the stolen funds to their own wallets.
Eventually, the agents realized that the suspected con artist had been using false documents for years and was in fact Latvian and not Lithuanian.
The statement continued: âOnce his identity was established without a doubt, the Guardia Civil activated all relevant mechanisms of international police cooperation and tracked down the fraudster across different countries while he was renting cars and mansions and got credit cards and bank accounts with false documents.
Officers also discovered that the United States had issued a search, arrest and extradition warrant against the suspect in 2015 in connection with suspected fraud.
A Guardia Civil spokesperson said investigations were ongoing, adding it was not clear what charges the man might face and in which jurisdictions.