The Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, have dismantled a criminal gang that organised over 25 illegal raves at rural tourism homes throughout Catalonia during the period of Covid-19 restrictions. Three people have been arrested for alleged fraud and forgery, and the police estimate the approximate fraud to be €200,000.
According to the Mossos, the alleged gang leaders were engaged in the organisation of illegal parties in rural tourism homes, without the consent of the owners, without paying any rent for the space, the hospitality equipment or contracting basic services such as catering or beverages. The properties were also left with damage and mess from the illegal raves [see video via Tweet from the Mossos below].
They therefore obtained the full economic benefit of the paying attendees, derived from the sale of tickets and drinks.
The group contacted rural tourism companies or service companies hiding their identities under false names. In some cases, they used copies of other people’s documents, or used a third party as an intermediary who did not know the real intent of the group.
Once contact was made, they pretended to pay rental fees by bank transfer which turned out to be fake. They sent e-mails or instant messages showing bank transfer receipts with false information which usually convinced the recipient that, due to the proximity of the upcoming weekend, the payment would not be delivered until a few days later.
This whole criminal process took place in a very short space of time, approximately 24 hours, from the beginning of the contact with the people in charge of the houses or companies until the party took place. The group never let attendees know the exact location of the party until late into the night of the event to reduce the risk of possible police action.
Capacities for the accommodation spaces where the parties were held was usually between 10-15, but the number of people who attended the events is believed to be 300-400. The group typically threw such parties in rural areas, in the counties of Maresme, Noguera, Garraf, Pla de l’Estany, Alt Camp, Baix Empordà, Gironès, Bages, Osona, La Selva, and Tarragonès.
Police said the criminal group was perfectly organised, and they had assigned the specific functions of each of them: renting space, convening attendees through social media, hiring catering, security and control access to the property, sound equipment and light, as well as waiters.
The three detainees were taken to court on 8 April with more than 25 charges brought against the group. They were then released from custody on charges.
In addition to fraud and forgery, complaints were also processed against them for violations of the law on the administrative regulation of public events and recreational activities, for the holding of these types of events without authorisation, and for the non-compliance with health regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Desmantellem un grup criminal que va organitzar més de 25 macrofestes il·legals durant el període de restriccions sanitàries per la Covid-19 arreu de Catalunya. S'estima que els 3 detinguts van defraudar uns 200.000€ https://t.co/7DqQZ3oDy7 pic.twitter.com/gzoAziMSh3— Mossos (@mossos) April 13, 2022
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