Phishing gang of 6 sentenced in The Netherlands – sentences ranging from 3 years to 30 days

Five men and one woman have been sentenced by the Central Netherlands Court to prison terms ranging from 3.5 years to 30 days. The six were guilty of defrauding account holders of various banks in 2019 and 2020. They mainly focused on the over-65s. The Public Prosecution Service demanded much higher prison sentences, but according to the court there is insufficient evidence for the involvement of the individual suspects in a large number of reports.

The suspects from Veendam (2), Amersfoort, Nieuw-Buinen, Nieuwegein and Hilversum each had their own role within the fraudulent practices. Usually, the victims received an email that appeared to come from their bank. Those emails stated that a third party was authorized to debit their account. The recipient then had to click on a link if that permission was not correct. After clicking the link, the account holders were called by a man posing as an employee of the bank. He managed to convince the account holders to transfer the money to a ‘safe account’. In reality, the money disappeared into suspects’ accounts that acted as so-called “money mules” and was immediately withdrawn by “cashers.”

Partly on the basis of the reports, chat conversations and camera images from banks where the money was withdrawn, the court arrives at proven facts in the cases of the six suspects. The 32-year-old man from Veendam is seen as the main suspect. He played a major role in everything. For example, he managed the callers, cashers and money mules and divided the proceeds. According to the court, it appears from the file that his own proceeds were of a large size. In a chat conversation he mentions that he had tons of cash every week. In the end, the court in his criminal case came to a conviction for defrauding 19 account holders for an amount of more than € 563,000 and for laundering this amount. According to the court, there are also indications that he was involved in defrauding more victims.

The court ruled that the five men participated in a criminal organization. The 32-year-old Veendammer has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. He must serve that sentence immediately. The court finds it socially unacceptable that this suspect should be allowed to freely await a (possible) appeal. In addition, he must pay compensation to the defrauded account holders. The suspect from Amersfoort was involved in defrauding 15 account holders. The court imposed a prison sentence of 2.5 years, of which 6 months were suspended. The other suspects had a smaller role in the whole and therefore received lesser sentences.

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