A NETWORK of fake gas inspectors has been busted by police for defrauding nearly 2,000 people, mostly pensioners, out of millions of euros.
Police have arrested 12 fraudsters so far, who formed part of 60 false companies dedicated to conning pensioners, foreigners and disabled people. The operation included raids on homes and businesses in Malaga, Granada and Almeria.
The con artists would call unannounced at a home, then demand money for a ‘necessary’ repair and if the owner refused they would threaten to cut the gas supply off and issue a fine.
More than €4,000,000 has been officially registered as taken from victims with the police but that actual amount is likely to be much higher, as many do not go to the police.
Occasionally they would obtain as much as €2,500 from a single home, but usually it was between €50 and €390.
There have been reports of ‘inspectors’ purposefully cutting tubes before demanding a fee for replacing it.
The network operated across Spain and Andalucia and the criminals are said to have lived luxuriously with multiple properties and cars.
Police raided homes and businesses in places such as Madrid, Elche and Leon. They have impounded 10 luxury cars, 19 computers, 12 hard discs and 14 mobile phones.
They have also shut down a total of 227 bank accounts opened at 19 different branches.
Police advise that gas equipment is inspected by law every five years and that nobody is allowed to turn up unannounced and inspect gas fittings.