Police bust massive global credit card fraud ring

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Police in 12 countries have arrested 178 individuals linked to an international credit card fraud ring.

According to a statement from the Spanish Interior Ministry, the arrests were the result of a two-year investigation that included 84 raids carried out in France, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Romania, Australia, Sweden, Greece, Finland, Hungary and the United States.

The gang used stolen bank card numbers to create counterfeit cards and make ATM withdrawals and retail purchases, officials said. Police raids yielded more than 5,000 counterfeit cards and 120,000 stolen card numbers. Additionally, authorities found 11 laboratories where members of the group produced the fraudulent cards.

Police also believe the gang engaged in other criminal activities, including robbery with force, fraud, extortion, sexual exploitation and money laundering, earning $24.5 million from its illegal activities.

The fraud ring was based in Spain, but also consisted of additional subgroups located in 14 countries, according to law enforcement. For security purposes, each subgroup had a leader who was the only member with contacts to the head organization.

Eight individuals suspected to have been part of the group were arrested in the United States.

Seventy-six people were arrested in Spain, 30 in France, 16 in both Romania and Germany, 12 in Ireland, seven in Italy, four in Hungary, three in Finland and two each in Australia, Sweden and Greece.

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