Ukraine Dismantles Crypto Fraud Ring

Published: 04 June 2024

Ukraine Fraudulent Call CenterUkraine's National Police dismantled a fraudulent call center. (Photo: Національна поліція України, License)

By Zdravko Ljubas

Ukrainian authorities have dismantled a criminal ring that defrauded citizens in Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan, and the European Union through deceptive call centers promising lucrative cryptocurrency investments.

The country’s National Police stated Monday it detained 14 suspects, including the alleged organizers of the criminal scheme.

In a sweep across the Kyiv region, police seized 12 luxury cars, including Mercedes, Porsche, and BMW models, alongside 136 units of computer equipment, 951 SIM cards, 455 starter packs, and a stash totaling US$64,500, over 311,000 hryvnias ($7,650), and 4,600 euros ($5,007).

Authorities have also emphasized that they are actively working to determine the number of victims and the total amount of damages inflicted.

Two Georgian nationals, aged 49 and 51, with significant clout in criminal circles, are alleged to have organized a network of fraudulent call centers and recruited 12 others for illegal activities, according to police. Their mission was to lure unsuspecting citizens from various countries into investing their money in cryptocurrency schemes.

In a typical tactic for such crimes, call center operators would skillfully pose as stock exchange experts, engaging with individuals and persuading them to invest their personal funds in cryptocurrency.

Police explained that employing psychological tactics, the criminals skillfully convinced citizens of the investment’s profitability. Consequently, lured by promises of lucrative returns, the victims promptly transferred their funds to criminals’ electronic wallets and bank cards.

Each accomplice, according to police, had a specific role: devising fraudulent schemes, recruiting staff and supplying them with the personal information of “clients,” providing cover for the “business,” and distributing the proceeds among the gang members.

As Ukrainian authorities have indicated, the suspects are currently behind bars, with the Kyiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office taking charge of the procedural management in the ongoing criminal proceedings.