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Belgian police arrest gang of coronavirus lockdown scammers

A 13-member online crime gang who robbed over €100,000 from victims during the coronavirus lockdown has been arrested in a major bust by Antwerp police.

Using fake websites, the gang tricked at least 46 victims out of a combined €150,000, in a scamming feat that lasted from mid-March to early April.

Police conducted some 16 house searches in Antwerp, Essen and Schelle in the province of Antwerp and also in a prison in Molenbeek, Brussels, arresting a total of 13 suspects.

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The gang would send messages to prospective victims which would redirect them to a website in which they were tricked into leaving their bank details.

Gang members would then suck the money out of the accounts and reportedly launder it in casinos or in luxury online purchases.

The suspects arrested were all in their twenties and so far ten of them will be referred to an investigating judge.

At the request of prosecutors, a 23-year-old Dutchman living in Sweden was also arrested as part of the investigation.

During the house searches, police seized luxury designer goods, a vehicle, IT equipment, bankcards, casino passes and €10,000 in cash as well as over 1,000 grams of cannabis.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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