The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) has arrested five men for money laundering, fraud and participating in a criminal organization. The FIOD conducted its investigation in collaboration with the Belgian police. The authorities searched six houses, five in the Netherlands and one in Belgium, and two storage boxes in the Netherlands. After the searches, they have seized physical and digital administration, mobile phones, a car, cash and drugs, among other things.
The FIOD began its investigation after a bank report. One of the suspects, from Amsterdam, sold COVID-19 protective equipment in 2020 through fraudulent websites. The FIOD suspects that he used money mules to get the money and withdrew the funds into his personal account. The suspect never delivered the products that he sold online. A money mule allows financial criminals to use their bank account to divert illicitly obtained money for a small fee.
The Amsterdam-based suspect was allegedly participating in a criminal organization committing fraud in the name of selling COVID-19 protective equipment. Authorities suspect that the criminal organization may have used more than 10 money mules to conduct their illicit activities. Moreover, some of the detainees may also be abusing government funds through the Fixed Cost Allowance Scheme that is meant to support entrepreneurs who have faced losses due to COVID-19 measures.