Pair busted for selling fake masks; 80,000 euros defrauded

Two men were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly defrauding customers of more than 80 thousand euros by claiming to sell mouth masks that did not exist, financial crimes inspectorate FIOD confirmed. The suspects, a 51-year-old from Schiedam and a 26-year-old from the Hague, had allegedly been posing as mask suppliers selling their wares online.

Clients paid for their orders, according to the FIOD, only to receive nothing in return. "Customers who placed an order have transferred money to an account number of a [private business] belonging to one of the suspects. More than half of the money was withdrawn in cash. The remainder has been frozen by the bank," said the financial crimes investigators.

Both suspects' homes were searched, with officers seizing bank accounts, telephones and digital documents, the FIOD said. The men were being held on charges of fraud, forgery and money laundering.

"The corona crisis brings out the best in many people. Unfortunately, some see opportunities for fraud. Abusing the corona crisis is socially unacceptable. The investigative services and the Public Prosecution Service give priority to combating the abuse of this situation and take action against it. If possible with a quick intervention aimed at stopping this," added the FIOD.