Fifteen Brits are accused of ripping off victims from a boiler room scam in Spain.
We hear of Spain mentioned in connection with boiler room scams all too often, and sadly there can come with it the suggestion that the Spanish authorities are perhaps a little less vigorous than they could be when it comes to tracking down crooks in their sunny country ripping off victims back in dull grey Blighty.
So it comes as a very pleasant surprise to hear the news that a gang of 15 Brits is now up before the Spanish beak on charges of running one of Europe's biggest boiler room rackets, which is thought to have involved cold calling thousands of targets in the UK and trying to get them to hand over some of their hard-earned.
Suspects recruited in bars
The alleged perps were picked up in a raid in Mallorca, which netted our Balearic plods a gang of mostly young men from around the UK who are thought to have been recruited in English speaking bars on the island.
Boiler room schemes are thought to be responsible for relieving gullible UK investors of around £200m every year. They will often use real companies as their bait, and will sometimes even use victims' funds to run pump and dump operations, creaming off the profits from illegally elevated share prices for themselves.
But the simpler scams just make up fake companies and persuade their victims to hand over cash to invest in the nonexistent shares -- that really is how simple it is. And that's what this lot are alleged to have done, using a number of bogus companies including Viking Gold Resources, Dyno Medical, and Inca Pacific Gold and Mining.
The City of London police, who worked with the Spanish authorities in the investigation, reckon around 300-400 people might have been conned out of as much as £4m, and they urge anyone who thinks they might be victims to get in touch.
And for the rest of us -- just remember, that impressive-sounding salesman trying to convince you he has the secret to great profits might just be some yob picked up in a Spanish bar while drinking himself stupid on holiday. Hang up the phone!
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