Man arrested for impersonating an estate agency and scamming €150,000
The National Police have arrested a 57-year-old man for creating a fake website and posing as an existing estate agent, through which he managed to swindle €150,000 from a foreign citizen intending to purchase a property in Lanzarote.
According to a statement released on Friday by the Superior Police Headquarters, the detainee, who has a history of similar offences, is facing charges of fraud and money laundering, stemming from an investigation initiated in June last year after the victim herself reported the incident to the police.
The police inquiry revealed that the suspect had successfully acquired a domain name very similar to that of the legitimate real estate company the victim had been in contact with for the property purchase, using a method known as 'cybersquatting'.
Cybersquatting involves unlawfully exploiting trademarks or services of others by securing a domain name nearly identical to the requested service, often by altering just one letter, leading to confusion among potential victims.
Upon his arrest in Madrid, €76,000 were seized from one of his bank accounts, and judicial authorities froze an additional seven bank accounts under his name. Furthermore, an RV, valued at €64,000 and purchased with part of the fraudulent funds, was confiscated. The suspect had registered the RV under a proxy's name to avoid detection.
During the search of the RV, which the suspect used to travel around Spain, officers discovered several mobile phones, a USB drive, and various documents deemed relevant to elucidate the ongoing investigation.
The inquiry remains ongoing, with the police not ruling out the possibility of uncovering more victims and additional arrests. The suspect, who was also subject to an outstanding warrant from a court in Murcia, has been brought before the competent judicial authority.
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