A fraud ring in Latvia purchased personally identifiable information in bulk on darkweb forums, according to an announcement from the Latvian State Police.
The takedown was the result of an investigation led by the Cybercrime Division of the Economic Crime Department of the State Police in February 2020.
The fraud ring–established in 2015–purchased stolen information on the darkweb in bulk, including passwords, payment information, and access to accounts on other platforms. According to the announcement, the group primarily focused on defrauding PayPal and eBay. Investigators have identified only 1,000 suspects but believe the actual number of suspects in the United States and Western Europe is much higher.
After completing a scam, the group laundered their proceeds through gold and cryptocurrency. During the execution of search warrants at the suspects' homes and properties, the police found:
- $125,000 in Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, and Tether;
- More than €280,000 in cash;
- More than $37,000 in cash
They also seized 11 properties worth more than $360,000 and three vehicles worth more than $34,000.
The police are holding two of the three suspects until their upcoming court appearances. All three face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and could serve up to 12 years behind bars.