Police arrest members of a gang who coerced elderly people into buying collections of books

They faked contracts in their victims’ names and then threatened to take them to court for non-payment

Álvaro Frías


Friday, 25 February 2022, 13:03

They obtained databases of clients who had bought something from certain companies and examined them in minute detail. They knew what they were looking for: elderly people, those who were dependent on others or had some type of disability. They turned up at their homes, threatened them and coerced them into purchasing collections of books and other items for prices up to 25 times higher than their real value.

This gang has just been broken up by the Guardia Civil’s Operation Mendacium, which began when they received several reports of fraud which showed the same modus operandi. They then discovered that a gang was illegally acquiring databases from companies which contained personal information about their customers, such as their financial circumstances, their purchases, their ID details and their signature. This enabled the gang to produce fake purchase and financing contracts, which the individuals knew nothing about.

Once they had selected their victims they would turn up at their homes, pretending to be lawyers for the company, and coercing them into buying products they didn’t want, which usually cost between 1,500 and 3,000 euros, far more than the real value. They told them that if they didn’t agree to buy the items, they would take them to court for non-payment and their pensions would be embargoed.

So far, the police have found 231 victims so far, most of them in Malaga and Ciudad Real, but also some in Almeria, Cordoba, Toledo and Madrid, and believe there may be more. Ten people have been arrested for belonging to a criminal organisation, fraud, falsifying documents and using a fake identity. The two leaders of the gang have been remanded in custody.




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