A court in Saarbrücken has sentenced a man to 12 years in prison for internet fraud. The Economic Criminal Court of the District Court held that it was established that the 29-year-old accused was one of two leaders of a fraud gang with fake online financial portals; The fraud gang caused damages of more than 32 million euros to more than 1,000 victims. With so much damage, this is one of the largest operations of this kind in Germany, and the prison sentence imposed is one of the highest nationwide in a fraud case, Tagesschau reports.

According to the court, the accused acted as co-head of a Kosovo-based call center, which persuaded the summoned clients to invest their money in fake online financial platforms. To do this, the scammers made great technical and personal efforts and repeatedly persuaded customers to transfer money back. However, the deposits were never circulated, the scammers withdrew the money themselves. The so-called trading platforms were called Option888, Zoomtrader and XMarkets.com, tagesschau.de writes in a report.

After 23 days of trial, the court held that it was established that the accused, as a prominent member of the fraud gang, had organized and maintained business operations, and therefore was largely responsible for the damage. The court justified the unusually severe punishment by the fact that the convicted man not only acted as the head of the call center, but also directly participated in fraud in a total of eight individual cases; He changed the deposit limits for these customers or gave them so-called bonuses. The total amount of damages has been reduced to 32 million euros compared to the 42 million euros mentioned at the beginning of the court hearing.

More than 30 witnesses testified in this process, including more than 20 victims. Evidence revealed that the fraud gang has more than 400 members. It is said that a comrade is imprisoned in Kosovo, and another escaped. On the other hand, a former telephone “adviser” from the call center is being held in Saarbrücken and will be charged. The verdict against the co-chair of the fraud ring is not yet final. The defense had requested seven years in prison and announced after the trial that they would appeal the verdict.

Such fraud with online sham investment platforms is a widespread business all over the world and fraud gangs operate across national borders. In a case from the summer of last year, scammers used a call center in Bulgaria to deceive hundreds of investors in German-speaking countries with millions of euros.


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