Crime: Process for online fraud in Koblenz

Easily increase your money online? A trial for investment fraud on the Internet with a total of almost ten million euros in damage and around 200 victims began on Tuesday in Koblenz.

Crime: Process for online fraud in Koblenz

Easily increase your money online? A trial for investment fraud on the Internet with a total of almost ten million euros in damage and around 200 victims began on Tuesday in Koblenz.

According to the 208-page indictment, the seven defendants defrauded investors across Germany in call centers in Israel, Bulgaria and North Macedonia and via websites.

A victim says as a spectator during a break in the process in the largest hall of the district court: "It was done very professionally." With technically excellent graphics and statistics on the Internet as well as with telephone advice and also smaller payments to his account. "I take my hat off to that," adds the 61-year-old from North Rhine-Westphalia. Despite commercial knowledge, he lost tens of thousands of euros. "I'm angry with myself."

The money was never invested

According to the indictment, the customers should first deposit 250 euros each to open a trading account. They were allegedly offered risk-free investments of various kinds with extraordinarily high returns. In addition, according to the indictment, many investors concluded a “capital guarantee agreement”. This fooled them into thinking that they could not lose their money at all.

According to the indictment, the employees of the call center are said to have used false names. Your place of business was not correctly stated. Software has shown customers false increases in the value of their investments. In fact, their money was never invested, but flowed into the company network of the seven accused between 33 and 67 years.

The Rhineland-Palatinate state central office for cybercrime at the Koblenz public prosecutor's office investigated the complex, allegedly fraudulent online trade in financial products in 710 cases. According to their information, eight of the victims lived in Rhineland-Palatinate. The case of a cheated customer in Cochem on the Mosel triggered the investigation.

The accused five men and two women of different nationalities are said to have founded and operated a criminal organization for fraud between 2014 and 2020. Several defense attorneys announced statements by their clients on the matter on Tuesday.

A former employee of a Bulgarian call center for financial products makes the start. He wanted to work legally, he emphasizes. But the call center lacked a license. The boss did not comply with the regulations for financial transactions. "We've lost control," adds the man, who, like several other defendants, is in custody.

The defense attorney Gerhard Prengel says on the sidelines of the process that the financial transactions such as cryptocurrencies, commodities, currency fluctuations and options were carried out with hundreds of employees worldwide. Two of the suspected fraudulent bosses were charged in Koblenz, a third was on the run. Those primarily responsible "destroyed hard drives in good time".

The presiding judge, Thomas Metzger, initially had to deal with a completely different problem: one of the interpreters turned out to be unsuitable because he did not translate despite being asked to do so. "We're dismissing the gentleman here," says Metzger. "That will not do."

The 61-year-old victim from North Rhine-Westphalia said during a break in the process, which was initially scheduled to run until December 29: "Today I still get calls from Switzerland, Luxembourg and England: "Your platform broke. But we can get your money back.""

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