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The Mafia Finds a New Frontier for Crime: the Internet

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It’s got all the makings of a classic Italian mob movie—mobsters running a criminal ring from an island, drug trafficking, kidnapping, homicides, 10 million euros, dozens of raids, and 106 arrests.

There’s just one wrinkle: It was mostly happening online.

After a year-long investigation, European law enforcement busted criminals with links to the Italian Mafia for laundering 10 million euros through a flurry of hacking operations and violent coercion last year across Italy, Spain, Germany, Lithuania, Ireland, and the U.K.

Spanish police, who worked on the takedown operation, say some of the individuals are allegedly linked to the Casamonica clan—a violent crime family based out of Rome that is known for drug trafficking—which was determined to be a part of the Mafia in court earlier this week. The individuals are also linked with the Camorra napolitana, Nuvoletta, and Sacra Corona Unita clans, according to the police.

The criminals allegedly coordinated with computer experts to run spearphishing emails that duped victims into sending money to bank accounts. After the mobsters received the ill-gotten gains, they laundered the currency through front companies, money mules, and cryptocurrency assets, according to Spanish police.

“This large criminal network was very well organised in a pyramid structure, which included different specialised areas and roles,” Europol said in a statement earlier this week.

The gangsters and accomplices also used “vishing,” or voice phishing, in which criminals trick victims over the phone into coughing up personal information such as passwords or credit card details. And they also used SIM-swapping schemes, in which criminals convince phone service providers to transfer victims’ phone numbers to another device to access accounts.

In the raid—which law enforcement officials code-named........

© The Daily Beast

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