Gang busted on charges of bank fraud, ATM money laundering

A two-year-long cyberfraud investigation in Europe has culminated with the arrest of 20 suspects in a series of coordinated raids, according to a Europol press release.

As of March 28, nine suspects remained in custody in Romania and 11 were jailed in Italy on charges of bank fraud that netted 1 million euros ($1.23 million) from hundreds of customers of two major banking institutions.

Europol said that the organized crime group, comprised mostly of Italian nationals, used spear phishing emails impersonating tax authorities in order to harvest the online banking credentials of their victims.

The criminals allegedly used the stolen online banking credentials to transfer money from the victims’ accounts into accounts under their control, and then withdrew the money from ATMs in Romania.

In addition to bank fraud and money laundering, the gang is accused of drug and human trafficking, Europol said.

Participating authorities included the Romanian National Police, the Italian National Police, Europol and its Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce, and Eurojust, according to the release.