Money Laundering Crime Ring Busted in Plovdiv, Sothern Bulgaria
The Plovdiv District Prosecution Office has broken a criminal operation for money laundering related to computer fraud (phishing) outside Bulgaria. This emerged at a news conference in Plovdiv on Monday given by District Prosecutor Roumen Popov, anti-organized crime unit chief Dimiter Alexandrov and supervising prosecutor Peter Petrov.
Over a period of two years, the criminal operation withdrew or rechannelled 1.2 million US dollars and 200,000 euro by using
computer fraud methods against companies in various countries, including one in Hong Kong. After hacking the victims' bank accounts, the group transferred the money to front men. The financial flow sometimes went through several countries and the final destination was China, Popov explained.
The prompt actions of Bulgarian law enforcers led to the freezing of 1.75 million dollars and 1.4 million euro in bank accounts before the money could be withdrawn or rechannelled. The investigators learned that about 40 million euro was to be
remitted in three weeks. The criminal group chose their front men from among people of low social status. Fifteen companies
were registered to the front men's names and accounts were set up for them in two banks.
A 42-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman were arrested in Bulgaria last Thursday and taken into 72-hour custody. They both have police records for past offences and are suspected of having recruited front men for this scheme. Two other persons
are wanted internationally: a Lebanese, declared wanted by the British authorities on a red notice for phishing and money
laundering, and a Danish national of Arab origin.
The arrested suspects are charged with money laundering through computer fraud. In Bulgaria, they could face a prison term of 3
to 12 years and a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 leva on conviction.
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