Police crack lucrative Athens fraud racket

Seven suspected members of a criminal racket alleged to have defrauded tax offices, banks, department stores and individuals through the use of forged police identity cards and other fake documents faced a prosecutor in Athens on Friday.

The six male suspects, aged between 38 and 52, and a 40-year-old female suspect who was a tax office clerk until March, were arrested following police raids on homes in Nea Smyrni, Voula, Glyfada, Peristeri, Ilion, Aghios Stefanos and Salamina. They were charged with being members of a criminal gang, fraud and forgery.

The racket, believed to have been set up in 2011, is alleged to have used forged personal documents to apply for tax registration numbers, known as AFM. Using the fake AFMs, the ring members would visit tax offices and submit tax declarations securing them rebates, according to police sources who said they also used the fake documents to apply for bank loans, purchase luxury cars and buy electronic appliances from department stores.

The gang is believed to have defrauded hundreds of thousands of euros.

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