Israeli police arrested 26 people overnight Tuesday on suspicion of defrauding foreigners out of millions of dollars, as part of a worldwide joint investigation with the FBI, a police statement said Wednesday.
The Tel Aviv district fraud unit of the Israel Police worked with the FBI to conduct the undercover investigation over the past month, which began after they received a tip from the United States.
According to that tip, a group of Israelis conned tens of millions of shekels from dozens of U.S. citizens under the guise of foreign exchange cryptocurrency transactions.
At the end of the month-long investigation, detectives from the fraud unit and Border Police forces located an office in Tel Aviv from which the scam was operated.
They also identified the fraud network, which employed more than 20 Israelis, and seized computers and digital storage devices as evidence.
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The fraud unit intends to extend the detentions of two main suspects – residents of central Israel in their 30s – later on Wednesday.
In addition to the 26 Israelis, a number of suspects in other countries were arrested in the operation by local law enforcement agencies around the globe.