The Spanish Civil Guard has concluded an international operation to bring down “one of the largest known cryptocurrency cyber criminals” in the country.
The operation led to the arrest last week of a 30 year-old Latvian, who has been wanted by international law enforcement agencies, including Interpol and the United States, since 2015.
According to the Civil Guard press release, more than 1,000 people had fallen victim to the scammer, who baited victims with high returns from a new virtual currency known as “Hodlife, the Unicorn Token”, and who were promised commissions on transactions using the currency.
The force´s Cybercrime of the Central Operational Unit (UCO) began an investigation after Hodlife investors found that their money had disappeared and some subsequently reported this to the authorities.
The statement said: “to spread the word about the project, the arrested man used the most common digital communication channels to stage aggressive publicity campaigns on Twitter, Telegram and on a bespoke webpage.
“He very quickly amassed a large community of users who, thanks to the messages sent from these platforms, were duped into depositing their cryptocurrencies in the new business.”
The investigation revealed that the suspect spent long periods in Spain and lived a luxurious lifestyle on the Costa Del Sol and frequently visited holiday resorts in Ibiza and Tenerife.
To try and hide his tracks he had connected through hotel Wi-Fi networks in and around Marbella for his operation which is believed to have amassed an estimated 500,000 Euros in cryptocurrencies.