In a raid that stretched from London to the US, from Barcelona to Serbia, police have uncovered and neutralized a massive boiler room operation in which investors were tricked into pouring their hard earned money into worthless or non-existent shares. The network of scammers involved totalled 110 people in various roles.
So far 850 British victims have been accounted for with the majority of them being pensioners. According to reports, one of the victims committed suicide after being defrauded.
In total, those involved made heavy losses of £15 million in total. Sums per person ranged from £2,000 to £500,000. That said, the authorities believe this is just the “the tip of the iceberg” and suspect thousands more people may have been duped. The police operation itself, one of the biggest ever staged, was two years in the making.
The raids took place earlier this week, but can only now be revealed after a reporting ban was lifted by a Spanish judge.
Speaking near the site of one of the searches in Barcelona on Tuesday, City of London Police Commander Steve Head said, “You see real victims in real communities whose lives have been devastated. Savings that they thought they could rely on in their old age have gone in a heartbeat.” Vigilance and extra care when doing research cannot be stressed enough.