AN Irish gang ripped off businesses and public bodies across Spain by laying down poor quality asphalt surfaces but charging for a vastly superior product.
Over two years of Guardia Civil probes led to five Irish nationals either being arrested or still being investigated with the help of foreign countries.
No details have been given as to where in Spain the group was based, but the gang leader is said to be out of the country.
In just one year, the gang made over €2.1 million with no taxes paid or records of any registered employees.
Operation Ricadona was launched by the Guardia after a Valencia Province businessman from Picassent complained in June 2019 that he had been scammed by a group of Irish nationals.
The con saw one of the members of the criminal group pretending to be a representative of a construction firm.
He would see potential clients which besides private businesses, would also include schools.
He’d offer asphalt resurfacing at well below the market rate.
Victims took advantage of what appeared to be a great bargain and the rep would produce bogus documents to show he was from a legitimate company.
Once a deal had been struck and signed, around ten people- mainly Irish nationals- would appear at the site with machinery to do the resurfacing.
Customers paid the firm but days later discovered the asphalt was of poor quality or not thick enough.
Clients also discovered they paid for more asphalt than they needed after being given overestimated quotes.
Payments went to the bank account of one of the gang members who then laundered the cash to avoid tax.
Transfers were made to foreign accounts or sums were withdrawn in their entirety from ATMs.
The gang face charges before a Picassent court of defrauding tax authorities and social security as well as money laundering.