The Guardia Civil has carried out Operation Necha, which culminated in the arrest of an individual who attempted to defraud a resident of Villena out of €60,000, as well as previously defrauding another citizen of Madrid out of €20,000, using the well-known ‘washwash’ or ‘tainted bills’ method.
The scammer tried to convince his latest victim that he possessed ink-stained money from African development aid funds, promising that through a complex system, the invested amount could be recovered and doubled.
Operation Necha began on June 7, when a businessman filed a complaint at the Guardia Civil Main Office in Villena to report a business proposal made by a friend from Madrid, involving a third party. According to the proposal, he was offered the opportunity to double his investment through the use of chemicals and legal tender money, which supposedly would help recover a large sum of ink-stained money from Africa development aid. All parties involved, namely the businessman, his friend, and the third person, had agreed to carry out a demonstration of this process at a residence in Villena on the same date.
In response to this situation, the Territorial Judicial Police Team of the Guardia Civil in Villena identified the case as a scam known as ‘washwash’ or ‘tainted bills.’ Consequently, in order to identify the perpetrator and prevent this person from defrauding others, they decided to initiate Operation Necha.
In the initial phase, the agents, after learning the location and time of the demonstration, began surveillance in the area. Then, after more than four hours of delay, the fraudster arrived at the agreed location with a suitcase. Inside the house, the criminal requested a two-hundred-euro note from the victim, which the victim had previously marked with an almost imperceptible sign. Once the demonstration with “tainted bills” and various chemicals was concluded, the scammer requested €60,000 from the businessman to proceed with the business. However, the victim realised the deception when the swindler returned a different, apparently counterfeit banknote.
Faced with this situation, the victim expelled his friend and the scammer from the house, at which point the agents were waiting to proceed with the arrest of the criminal. The con artist was a 49-year-old man of Cameroonian nationality, residing in Belgium, with a criminal record for various frauds. Subsequently, the businessman’s friend realised and acknowledged that the same person had defrauded him of €20,000 using the same modus operandi.
Once at the police station, the investigators examined the contents of the detainee’s suitcase, where they found various elements related to the type of scam he was carrying out, such as liquid and solid substances, as well as envelopes with hidden compartments used to deceive the victims. In addition, fake bundles of genuine-looking banknotes were discovered in a small safe, and a Belgian identity document in someone else’s name was also found, which the criminal had used to reserve a room in a hotel establishment in Villena.
Searched and seized
On June 8, a search was conducted in the room used by the detainee, where a large quantity of counterfeit banknotes was found.
The agents seized a suitcase, a Belgian identity document, the elements used to commit the fraud, 3,413 counterfeit €200 and €100 banknotes, all “tainted” with the intention of deceiving the victims, as well as €800 in cash.
The alleged perpetrator of these crimes is being charged with two counts of fraud totaling €80,000, one count of counterfeiting currency and stamps, and another count of identity theft.
The detainee, along with the proceedings and seized evidence, has been handed over to the Court of Investigation No. 2 of Villena, which has ordered his release on bail.
Moreover, the Guardia Civil, in order to prevent these types of crimes, reminds the public to be wary of strangers offering suspicious deals, not to give money to unknown individuals, and to immediately report such incidents to the authorities to prevent others from becoming victims. Remember, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!
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