Dutch police take down fake English webshops; two arrested

Police equipment, including handcuffs, baton, and two-way radio, on a Dutch squad carphoto: twixx / DepositPhotos

The police took down 10 fake online stores which were made to look like English versions of real Dutch stores on Tuesday. Two suspects, a 40-year-old man from Leeuwarden and a 21-year-old man from Groningen, were arrested.

These English-language sites looked like the websites of real Dutch stores, with web addresses that were very similar to those of recognized stores with a Chamber of Commerce registration. Visitors bought products like milk powder, energy drinks, shampoo, deodorant and alcohol. After payment, the products were never delivered.

The Leeuwarden man is suspected of laundering money obtained through fraudulent activities. The police believe that he laundered money earned both through the fake websites, and through scamming companies' financial employees by sending them fake invoices. 

The Groningen man was tracked down through the Leeuwarden man. He is suspected of setting up the fake websites. The police are investigating how the two suspects are connected.

The two men's homes were searched and the police seized computers and hard drives. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests may follow.