Police in the eastern Dutch city of Arnhem arrested six men on Tuesday on suspicion of defrauding businesses by posing as tax office employees.
The suspects told their victims that they were due large amounts of money in payment arrears. They demanded that the money be paid immediately. Many businesses paid up thousands of euros. Last year, Fraud Help Desk issued warnings about this type of scam following several reports from businesses.
Lists of telephone numbers found
Assisted by regional police, the Netherlands Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) searched five homes in Arnhem, seizing a Mercedes luxury car, several documents, a stash of 500-euro bills, debit cards and PIN codes from money mules. A telephone list was found giving details of how to scam businesses. The arrested suspects are aged between 20 and 39.
€ 2.2 million stolen
It is expected that 30 money mules will also be arrested soon. These are people who allow their bank accounts to be used for criminal purposes. More than 200 other money mules will be summoned to FIOD offices for questioning. The police and the FIOD are investigating 170 reports from duped businesses. In total, the scammers are believed to have stolen more than € 2.2 million.
The gang pretended to tax office employees. They demanded that businesses pay tax arrears or fines immediately. If they failed to comply, their businesses would be seized. The money had to be transferred during the telephone conversation to bank accounts belonging to money mules. Immediately after the online bank payment, the money was withdrawn from ATMs by accomplices.