THREE Croatian-Italian brothers who used counterfeit euro notes to con sellers of high-value items have been arrested by the Policia Nacional.

The siblings led a gang operating out of Madrid and Valencia with officers discovering over €7 million in bogus notes at both locations with the inscription ‘facsimile’ on them.

Investigations started last December after police heard about a so-called ‘Rip Deal’ scam in Madrid involving €70,000 for the purchase of VTC licences required for taxi drivers and Uber workers.

The brothers asked for their €200 notes to be exchanged for lower value notes that they could allegedly deposit into the sellers bank accounts via an ATM.

The sellers complied and ended up with €70,000 of bogus money.

A higher-value con netted the criminals €250,000 over an investment in a Madrid real estate business, where a note exchange also took place.

The three men were identified as the same trio in both scams and they decamped to Valencia where they tried to negotiate the purchase of a crypto currency wallet worth 800,000 US dollars.

An intermediary acting for the seller went to a flat rented by the scammers for a meeting but rumbled the con and took a wad of fake money that they were trying to palm him off with.

The police were informed and the three brothers along with four others were caught ‘red-handed’ in Valencia along with a person at Lloret de Mar.

The siblings have extensive criminal records for identical deceptions in Spain and across Europe, with inquiries still continuing.

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