PayPal has been swindled out of more than €12 million by a network of 54 linked accounts registered in Belgium, Le Vif/l’Express magazine reported on Wednesday evening.
A judicial investigation is underway for “fraud” and “money laundering,” the Liège prosecutor’s office confirmed to Le Vif.
The accounts were linked to refund scams totalling almost €12.5 million, organised between March 2018 and June 2020. A total of 57 suspects were identified, 13 of whom have been charged by an investigating judge.
“This fraud consists of making online purchases or bank transfers and then cancelling them, while benefitting free of charge from either the goods purchased or the transfers made,” a spokesperson for the Liège public prosecutor’s office said.
The investigators were able to determine that a large part of the embezzled money had been laundered through property investments, bank movements between suspects and cash transactions.
The police were also able to establish direct or indirect links between all the suspects, based on information such as home address, IP address and an identical modus operandi.