Ten Dutch addresses raided in international fraud investigation

Money seized in FIOD raids as part of international fraud investigation, 1 June 2016 (Photo: Openbaar Ministrie)Money seized in FIOD raids as part of international fraud investigation, 1 June 2016 (Photo: Openbaar Ministrie)

The Dutch tax investigation service FIOD raided ten locations in an international fraud investigation involving six Dutch companies on Wednesday, the Public Prosecutor announced. 

According to the Prosecutor, the main suspect in this case presumably does not live in the Netherlands, but the Dutch companies played a facilitating role. The six companies involved are suspected of operating 300 mailboxes being used for fraud.

The authorities believe that the main suspect sent millions of letters to people in various countries claiming that they won a cash prize, or that they were given a amount in charity or won a lottery. In order to transfer the money to the recipient, the recipient had to send a cash amount or check of between 20 and 45 euros. Recipients were instructed to send these amounts to one of the some 300 mailboxes in the Netherlands.

The six Dutch companies role in this fraud was to manage a large part of the mailboxes, empty them and process the mail. "Presumably the companies were allowed to keep part of the money as payment for services rendered, but the larger part of the money was transferred to bank accounts which allegedly belong to the main suspects", the Prosecutor writes.

The raids were done at six businesses in Amsterdam, Heerlen, Utrecht, Wijk bij Duurstede and Hoorn (2). FIOD also raided three houses in Wijk bij Duurstede, Drecterland and Heerlen as well as a safe. Administration, thousand of envelopes containing cash and checks, hundreds of thousands of fraudulent letters, about 500 thousand euros in cash, watches, art, cars and bank accounts were seized or frozen.

This investigation was launched in cooperation with the American Department of Justice late in 2015 after a large quantity of letters was seized at Schiphol airport by Customs. The U.S. department filed civil complaints against two of the suspected Dutch businesses and one director.