Georgia Busts Fraudulent Call Center Ring

Published: 06 February 2024

Call Center Ill

Georgia dismantled an organized crime group that organized and run fraudulent call centers. (Photo: Rolf Dietrich Brecher, Flickr, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

The Prosecution Office of the country of Georgia announced the arrest of seven suspected members of an organized crime group operating transnational fraudulent call centers and laundering “large amounts of money” made through criminal activities.

The group set up companies and call centers throughout Georgia and to promote their operations, the suspects subsequently created e-commerce platforms—electronic trading platforms—using various brand names to enhance credibility, alluring victims with numerous lucrative financial deals, the investigation showed.

This is how they allegedly embezzled “several million Swiss francs belonging to citizens of the Swiss Confederation,” read the statement.

To facilitate the laundering of the fraudulently acquired funds, the suspects reportedly transferred them to their bank accounts and then invested them in real estate.

During the investigation, supported by Eurojust and Swiss law enforcement, Georgian law enforcement conducted searches at the call centers, as well as the residences, workplaces, and vehicles of dozens of individuals associated with the case. They seized hundreds of electronic devices, documents, and cash, as detailed in the statement.

The suspects' real and movable property, valued at up to five million Georgian laris (US$1.87 million), were also seized to “effectively prevent their ability to dispose of or conceal these assets further.”

If convicted as charged of fraud and money laundering, the suspects may face a prison term ranging from nine to 12 years, the Prosecutor’s Office stated.

The office emphasized that between 2021 and 2024, Georgian authorities, in collaboration with their European counterparts, brought charges against 72 suspects and three legal entities for fraud and money laundering, highlighting the extent of international cooperation in combating these crimes.

The office also said that, in collaboration with international partners, it is actively conducting investigations into the proliferation of fraudulent call centers across multiple countries. The objective is to identify and expose more individuals or legal entities involved in such transnational crimes.