Darknet Bust: Global Law Enforcement Raids Massive Counterfeiting Organization
Many law enforcement agencies, each with their own name for the operation, just arrested an extensive counterfeiting organization. Most of the investigation took place in Naples, Italy. During the hunt for the distributor of more than 600,000 counterfeit euros, the investigation crossed borders. From Naples, notes traveled to Spain—with law enforcement close behind—then Portugal, Malta, France, and Germany. Europol arrested eight key players and several countries identified suspects of their own.
In Naples, the Special Unit Currency Police and Tax Police Unit of the Guardia executed the first arrest warrant. The Public Prosecutor of Brescia Republic’s warrant disclosed information about 16 suspects within Italy. Each suspect elicited a potentially different investigative scope. For instance, the warrant ordered the capture of four individuals—officials jailed one suspect and placed three under house arrest. The warrant also called for the seizure of 7,700,000 euros.
The Judge for Preliminary Investigations charged seven suspects with conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering, money laundering, and unauthorized financial (also credit) collection. The investigation—carried out under the constant guidance from the Public Prosecutor at the Ordinary Court of Brescia, law enforcement in Lugano, and authorities from the Republic of San Marino—identified many Italian members of the organization. Italian authorities followed the money; they traced bank account transfers and searched banks for suspected criminal holdings.
As a result of the extensive search, authorities identified a criminal organization that originated—and majorly operated—in Italy. According to the Public Prosecutor of Brescia Republic’s indictment, the criminal organization stole 7,600,000 Euros from Italian citizens in Italy and Dubai. The group, operating under several pseudonyms, including “NapoliGroup,” sold counterfeit Euro notes and conducted investment scams. (Note: Some discrepancy between types of Euro notes that the group faked. (References unanimously agreed the team forged 20-notes, but some sources mention 50-notes and 100-notes).
The organization sold the counterfeits on the darknet markets and shipped to customers via DHL. One member appeared to operate an individual vending account under the pseudonym “Warrior.” Carmine Guerriero and three accomplices (One with the last name “Warrior”) manufactured and shipped the notes at 30 percent of the actual bill’s face value. Guerriero attracted Europol’s attention several years ago for the counterfeiting scheme. He traded the Bitcoin for Maltese currency and released the funds over time.
Police released names/initials of eight suspects:
- Carmine Guerriero, 30 years old
- Anna Sorrentino, 22-years-old
- Salvatore Caldarelli
- Carmela Cavallaro, 48-years-old
- Filomena Warrior
- R.C., roughly 46-years-old
- R.C., 57-years-old
- V.F., 52-years-old