Massive Roma second hand car fraud network dismantled

24 people are now under arrest as a result of a major investigation into a gang of car thieves after no fewer than 1,200 police officers raided 200 different premises across Belgium on Tuesday.  In all 52 people were detained. 

The investigation is believed to be the biggest probe into fraud perpetrated in Roma circles in two decades.  The gangsters responded to newspaper ads for second hand cars, paid for the vehicles using a bank app and then sent the sellers proof of the payment.  The proof of the bank payments turned out to be false.  In two years the gang claimed 620 victims and raked in over 6.5 million euros.

During the operation 91 vehicles were seized as well as houses, flats, 90 caravans, luxury watches, an automatic firearm as well as other guns and a million euros in cash.  The 24 people arrested, mainly French and Belgian nationals, are suspected of membership of a criminal gang, though other charges may follow.

After the news of the arrests broke a groups of Roma people gathered outside the Brussels courts of justice to protest.