In the Republic of Moldova, law enforcement agencies have uncovered another international crime scheme, disguised as an investment opportunity in the over-the-counter foreign exchange (forex) market.
The Office of the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Moldova revealed that five members of a criminal group from the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, and Israel have been detained in connection to a forex scam.
The prosecutor’s office seized documentation from the transnational group, finding that those involved falsely claimed to be representatives of brokerages operating in the forex industry. Altogether, the scam managed to rob residents of around 500,000 lei ($29,267) – quite a hefty sum, given that the average salary in the Republic of Moldova is around $350, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova.
Prosecutors and officers found that around 150 employees, who claimed to be working on behalf of a Cypriot transport company, were actually working to persuade residents of former CIS countries to invest their money through the forex trading platform.
As can be expected, these employees did not have the proper authorization to market financial products in the Republic of Moldova. According to the statement, their salaries were paid either via cash or through foreign financial institutions.
The organizers of the scam pocketed a fixed percentage of the money invested by unsuspecting residents. They then hid this money by taking it to Ukraine or transferred it to bank cards.
Five Members Are Detained in Connection with the Scam
Of the five members who were detained, one was brought into custody around two weeks ago and has been placed in pre-trial detention. The other four members of the group were detained on Thursday for 72 hours.
In the Republic of Moldova, money laundering fetches an imprisonment term of five to 10 years. Those found guilty can also expect a fine ranging from 650,000 lei to 800,000 lei.