Six detained in police swoop on suspects in €40 million real estate scam

 In Crime, News, Real Estate

Six suspects in a fraudulent scam to acquire 300 properties in the Algarve worth €40 million with dodgy finance have been detained.

A statement from Portugal’s Judicial Police (PJ) issued a statement on Thursday states: “To date 20 companies controlled by the various suspects identified in the investigation have been identified in the investigation through which were acquired 300 properties through fraudulent financing contracts.”

The PJ organised a swoop through Operation Orange in which four men and two women were detained suspected on crimes of fraud, criminal association, capital laundering and falsifying documents in the Algarve property market.

According to the PJ involved in the operation, six swoops were made at homes and two companies, seizing scores of properties, 14 vehicles, one boat, IT equipment, and a collection of documents.

The organised criminal group involves various nationalities resident in the Algarve with links to the Portuguese diaspora in other countries who created “an economic organisation in the real estate sector in the Algarve that was totally financed in a fraudulent nature by bank loans”.

The PJ explains that the organisation’s modus operandi involved setting up Portuguese companies through which they acquired hundreds of properties through simulated deals that were then transferred to third parties.

“In the name of these companies, and using false documents, they took out mortgages with Portuguese banks for amounts much higher than the value of the acquisitions and stole the difference and made money from the properties from tourist and residential accommodation”, explains the PJ.

The searches were made in Albufeira, Carvoeiro (Lagoa), Portimão, and Quarteira (Loulé). According to the PJ those held will be subject to a first judicial interrogation with a view to considering enforcement measures such as bail terms and confiscation of passports.