Police departments from Italy, France, and Belgium worked with Europol to stop a counterfeit banknote syndicate that ran what’s considered one of the biggest heists in the euro’s history.
Curtains fell on the syndicate on July 15, when law enforcement officers from the Italian Carabinieri Corps and its elite Anti-Counterfeit Currency Unit detained 44 suspects seizing assets worth 8 million euros in Italy.
Several assets have been recovered in the Italy crackdowns, including 50 real estate properties, eight business enterprises, two farms, one flashy yacht, ten corporations in various industries, 12 cars, and 22 banking accounts valued at around 8 million euros.
Tailing the Largest Counterfeiting Syndicate
The probe into the counterfeits crime group begun in Oct 2017 when authorities discovered fake €50 banknotes in Benevento, a province in the Italian City.
Criminological analysis disclosed that the fake notes were manufactured using complex printing techniques, which calls for advanced technical expertise, sophisticated equipment and raw materials.
The syndicated tried to match all the security aspects in legitimate euro notes and is believed to have processed and distributed over 3 million fake notes worth over 233 million euros.
That figure represents 25 percent of all fakes spotted in circulation in the euro’s entire history. This syndicate may as well be the biggest ever stopped since the inception of the euro.
The brains of the syndicate have taken part in currency counterfeiting for the past two decades. He used his years of experience to build the entire production network before organizing the counterfeits’ distribution to different markets in Europe.
Investigators also revealed that the crew has ties to the Camorra, a sizeable Italian syndicate.
In Feb 2018, a Naples crackdown seized nearly 450, 000 fakes in €50 and €100 bills valued at 41 million euros, found concealed in barrels. Later in July, an illicit mint shop of 50-euro cent coins was closed-down in Lombardy.
The two crackdown operations led to the detention of 4 suspects.
In the meantime, Europol coordinated similar operations in France & Belgium. Europol supported the law enforcement teams by enabling the exchange of information, offering investigative support, and ensuring coordinated operations in the various Member States.
Payment industry guru Taylor Cole is a passionate payments expert who understands the complex world of high-risk merchant accounts. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to stocks to cryptopay. He enjoys eating pie on his backyard porch, as should all right-thinking people.