THE Policia Nacional in Alicante have busted a massive ‘love scam’ in what they say has been one of the largest-ever operations against cybercrime in the European Union.

An investigation has discovered victims in nine European countries besides Spain and over €1 million was swindled.

25 cases of fraud have been confirmed and inquiries are still continuing.

The probe started after an Alicante woman was conned out of €835,000 over a number of years by a bogus US marine who claimed to work for the State Department.

The gang leader- a 27-year-old Nigerian man- has been arrested on Mallorca.

14 of his associates- of various nationalities- who acted as ‘mules’ were also detained on the island.

Bank transfers were laundered by the Mallorca mules into various accounts and then converted into bitcoin.

Police swooped on a leading gang member in the Malaga area back in May and seized computer equipment.

The other arrests were made in early October.

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A multitude of phones with pre-paid SIM cards were seized, along with bogus documents used by the gang leader to impersonate different people.

The fraudsters created an array of bogus social media profiles targeting women looking for love.

The Alicante victim built up a cyber relationship for years with the fake US Marine who said he was stationed overseas.

Countless video calls suggested that they would get together permanently once his deployment finished.

He then started to ask the woman for money to help him out and she made 75 transfers mainly to accounts in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Spain.

The love-struck victim cleared out all her savings and even got personal loans to pay the man.

It even reached the extent of stuffing notes into a package that was sent to the marine via a courier company.

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