THREE fraudsters ran a online ‘made-to-order’ sofa shop in Valencia Province that netted €543,095 in orders which were never fulfilled.
The Guardia Civil have arrested a man and two women in the Asturias and Valencia areas.
175 people were defrauded by paying for custom-made sofas at competitive prices which were never made.
Authorities believe many more customers were scammed.
A San Juan de Alicante resident complained to the Guardia in late 2021 that he made a €2,100 order for a sofa, but got nothing for his money.
San Juan Guardia officers discovered their Madrid colleagues were investigating a sofa website that was ripping off clients.
They pooled resources to track down the fraudsters.
Victims were reeled in with low prices; a 100-day money-back trial; and a five-year guarantee on the sofas.
Clients even paid up to €89 per order to receive their sofas within six weeks.
Dozens of people started demanding refunds when orders were not fulfilled.
They were brushed off with excuses before the scammers stopped all forms of communication.
The Guardia visited the alleged base of the company- a warehouse in Gandia and discovered it had been abandoned.
It operated as a legitimate sofa business until it had to close in April 2021.
The owners then used their past reputation to set up the scam.
The gang also defrauded six sofa suppliers with Guardia officers recovering 120 sofas in two Valencia area towns- Almoines and Riola.
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