Top European Crypto Scammer Arrested in Spain

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  • A wanted cryptocurrency scammer has been arrested in Spain following a police operation
  • European police forces have been working to arrest the Ponzi scheme operator since August last year
  • He was found with 13 luxury cars and €2.5 million in his possession

A Portuguese man described as one of Europe’s largest cryptocurrency scammers was this week arrested in Spain following an investigation involving Europol. The unnamed scammer allegedly had victims in Portugal, Spain, Luxembourg and Switzerland and utilized a classic Ponzi scheme to collect millions of dollars which he spent on funding a lavish lifestyle. 13 luxury cars were found in his basement garage at the time of his arrest, while his assets amounted to some 2.5 million euros ($2.8 million).

Crypto Scammer Advertised Ponzi scheme Through Charities

Not much has been released by police about the depth of the scammer’s operation, although they have said that he operated through an online cryptocurrency investment platform which he publicized at sporting events, on radio programs, and even through charities.

Marks were promised a minimum return of 2.5% per week and more if they could persuade friends and acquaintances to join, but in typical Ponzi scheme form, withdrawals for early ‘investors’ came from later investors’ deposits. Guaranteed returns is one of the red flags potential investors should always be wary of when considering a crypto investment platform.

Funds Contributed to Lavish Lifestyle

What is clear to anyone however is just how lucrative his venture was. Police are in no doubt that he used victims’ money to lead a high standard of living, enjoying top-end vehicles and luxury travel. Following numerous complaints, the fraudster came under the Guardia Civil spotlight in August, and a task force was set up, given the name Operation Bitdrop.

The scammer faces seven charges of fraud and money-laundering following his arrest this week, but it is not known if he is being held in custody or has been freed on bail, although with other funds potentially at his disposal he could pose a significant flight risk.